Radio station switches format

Published 12:03 am Sunday, March 22, 2009

Selma will experience its first significant radio station format change in two decades Monday.

Lazer 101 WALX-FM 100.9 will become ALEX-FM, a station that plays hits from the 1970s, 1980s and early 1990s. The station will continue to broadcast The Rick & Bubba Show each morning, in addition to broadcasting The Paul Finebaum show each afternoon. The station will play songs by bands such as The Eagles, The Allman Brothers and ZZ Top, along with many more.

WJAM-FM 107.9 will also switch to 1340 AM. The station will broadcast urban adult contemporary music instead of the current oldies and sports talk format. Scott Communications and Alexander Broadcasting president Scott Alexander said the change resulted from the demands of listeners. Alexander said listeners wanted to hear more music from the mid to late 1970s.

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“For Selma, we decided we’re going back to its roots,” he said. “It has been requested over and over again.”

In addition to format changes in Selma, a new radio station, WMRK-FM 107.9, will open in Montgomery next week under Scott’s new company, Alexander Broadcasting. The station, dubbed “The Voice of Montgomery,” will feature news and talk radio programming, and Selma residents should be able to tune into the station.

“We don’t do one thing at a time,” Alexander said. “We’re expanding our markets.”

Scott Communications and Alexander Broadcasting are family businesses. Scott’s son, Paul Alexander Jr., is the vice president. Scott’s wife, Lorraine, serves as treasurer. Paul, who graduated from Auburn University, said he always knew he wanted to work in radio. He just wanted to get a little education before he returned to Selma to work with his father.

“It’s just been one of those things I wanted to do,” Paul said.

Scott said he was thrilled to learn his son wanted to join the family business. Radio is an industry that requires a large commitment, he said.

“It’s more than a job. It’s kind of a lifestyle,” Scott said.

It is a lifestyle Scott has lived for 35 years. With the format change and new station, the Alexanders have had their hands too full to consider the anniversary, Scott said.

“We haven’t had time to celebrate,” he said.

Scott Communications’ gray block building on Persimmon Tree Road is unassuming from the outside. The interior is a different story. The station features equipment that many large stations do not have, including a touch screen song catalog system.

“They don’t even have this deal in a lot of bigger markets,” Paul said.

Scott said the process has taken about five years, but he is ready for the completion. All the hard work will be worthwhile when listeners respond to the change, he said.

“I hope our phones are ringing off the hook,” Scott said. “This has been a long road and a lot of time.”