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|Live 95 is a low-power radio station
licensed to serve the Community of Cullman, Alabama. Live 95 is
owned and operated by a non-profit company, Cullman Community Radio, out
of offices and studios also located in the community of license, Cullman,
Cullman Community Radio applied for an FM-Broadcast license with the Federal Communications Commission in November of 2013. Low power FM broadcast licenses were first issued in the year 2000, but a low adoption rate and a high level of resistance from full power broadcasters kept low power FM broadcast licenses off the table for over a decade. The National Association of Broadcasters fought low power FM broadcast licenses and thus, bills in congress to restore the availability of low power broadcast licenses failed in 2005 and 2007. The National Association of Broadcasters argued that additional low power broadcasters on the air reduced the coverage of Full Power FM radio stations and thus caused additional problems and loss of revenue. Continued research into these arguments by the FCC found little merit of these claims. However, when the law was proposed, new, stronger rules were put into effect to prevent potential interference to full service broadcast stations.
Cullman, Alabama used to have a full service FM on 95.5. WXXR-FM signed on in 1996 and aired an oldies format. At some point, the owners of WFMH, who broadcasted on 101.1 FM, sub-leased that station to a group formed in Birmingham who wanted to play contemporary christian music on that frequency. At that time, WFMH-FM purchased 95.5 from WXXR-FM, and moved their classic country format from 101.1 to 95.5. Several years later, "95.7 Jamz" out of Birmingham wanted to increase their broadcast signal, so several agreements were made. First, "WFMH", then on 95.5 FM, had to agree to move their transmitter and city of license to Hackleburg, Alabama, some 60 miles to the west (thus freeing up room for 95.7 to "boost power"). Second, WRSA-FM (96.9) had to agree to change their City of License to Holly Pond, Alabama, to thus "plug the hole" left by the movement of WFMH to Hackleburg. The 96.9 transmitter did not move nor did the studio - this was basically a formality. Additionally, stations located to the east and west of 95.7 Jamz also had to move, in order for 95.7 to increase their power. All of this took place in the middle of the 2000's (2006-2007 time frame), and thus Cullman no longer had a 95.5 frequency.
The FCC is very picky about whom it allows to broadcast on what channel - if at all. Had we located on a tower south of our current location, 95.5 FM would no longer be an available frequency - it would be too close to 95.7 FM. Oneonta has an "FM translator" on 95.3 FM which is also very close to us. 101.7 was also an available frequency if we were to move south of our current transmitter location, but studies showed that frequency and location would not provide as good a signal as where we located 95.5 - so that is how we settled on 95.5 FM.
Those of us who started Live 95 had a very spirited discussion over what kind of music to play. We knew we did not want to air music currently available on any other part of the dial. There was a strong push to air music residents of our town are not familiar with - music matching the popular "AAA" format (available in cities like Birmingham (Birmingham Mountain Radio), Mobile (92 Zew), and Nashville (Lightning 100). But we also wanted to mix in a number of other selections - strong female vocalists, rare tracks from the past, new music from artists based right here in Cullman, and other featured tracks. Additionally, we wanted a strong mix of "Live" music - part of the Live 95 name - live tracks from concerts released, live album cuts, and whatever else we could find. We began collecting music years ago.
Finally, we want to focus on the community. We want to empower small businesses who do not have large budgets to get their name on the air. We want to feature and promote our community - from public service announcements to spontaneous public appearances and broadcasts, to live severe-weather coverage during a weather emergency.
WRJM-LP is a service of Cullman