April 24, 1922
Alabama’s first licensed radio station was launched April 24,1922. Alabama Power launched WSY-AM from a studio near its Powell Avenue Steam Plant in Birmingham. The radio station was used to communicate with isolated steam plants and rural work crews, and the company soon started receiving letters from residents thanking them for broadcasting things like weather reports and making programming suggestions. The utility responded by adding interviews, stock quotes, an orchestra composed of Alabama Power employees, five Birmingham church services and more to their programming. As one of the country’s oldest radio stations, WSY had the ability to reach people as far away as Canada and Cuba. Instead of hiring employees dedicated solely to running the station, the company opted to get out of the radio business and sold the station, producing its final broadcast on Nov. 6, 1923.
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For more on Alabama’s Bicentennial, visit Alabama 200.