WALG (1590 AM, „News/Talk 1590“) is a radio station serving Albany, Georgia, and surrounding cities with a News/Talk format. This station is under ownership of Cumulus Media.
As of July 2014, notable weekday syndicated programming includes shows by John Batchelor, Herman Cain, Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin, and Michael Savage plus Red Eye Radio and America’s Morning News. Notable weekend programming includes the syndicated The Kim Komando Show hosted by Kim Komando, Smoke This! hosted by Cigar Dave, and Sporting News Radio, and talk shows hosted by Clark Howard, Larry Kudlow, and Gary Sullivan.
Notable local programming included news and interview program „Wake Up Albany“ hosted by Matt Patrick from June 2007 until February 2009.
On air disc-jockeys included Brother Dave Miller, Bill Young, Steve Preston, Ron Mani, Lil‘ Country Joe, Ranger Rick Stewart a.k.a. Ricky Horror, Ken Ayers, Tim Rainey, Lisa Lee, and Skip Elliott.
This station was launched as WALB in May 1941 by the Albany Herald. In 1954, the Herald signed on a TV station with the callsign WALB-TV. The AM radio station has been assigned the „WALG“ call letters by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) since it was sold by the Herald to Allen Woodall, Sr., in 1960.
From 1959 till about 1970 the station was known as „Johnny Reb Radio“. A loud rebel yell was the station brand and a Confederate soldier was the logo. The rock and roll station was a reporting station for the Gavin Report during those years and had great influence in the southeast US. Known for its hard rock and obnoxious announcers this station was a legend in the southwest Georgia area.
The studios were located in an area north of the city of Albany near a swamp. The area surrounding the station was low country and covered with water most of the time. A raised walkway led you from the small parking lot to the studio. Many deejays were delayed in their air shifts because a fat cottonmouth snake would be sunning themselves on the walkway.
David Miller, AKA Brother Dave Miller, worked at WALG from 1976 until 1985, with a gap in 1977 and 1978.
WALG was the ‚white‘ pop/rock station in Albany for decades, and was on the cutting edge of the ever-changing pop music scene for most of that period. There were radio alternatives in Albany such as WGPC, Albany’s first station which signed on in 1933. It played beautiful music, and was a charter station for the Atlanta Braves when they moved to Georgia in 1966. For country fans, there was WJAZ at 960 AM, and WLYB went on the air in the 1960s, at 1250AM. Its studio was off Old Leesburg Road, near WALG’s transmitter. The ‚black‘ station was WJIZ-FM. Its 100,000 watt transmitter and big stick could put a listenable signal into Panama City, Florida.
Ownership invested in the highest quality jingles, a feature which separates the classy from the palookas in the radio biz. It also paid good wages for good air talent, though few DJs stayed long; Most of the ones who wanted to make a career in radio moved on to bigger markets from WALG. The station also had a local news department, with notable newsmen like Sam Pruitt, Tom Bryant, Rick Williams, Steve Robinson, Rick Segers, and others.
At one time, WALG even featured traffic reports from an airplane flying over the city, broadcast via 2-way radio piped through the radio console. WALG was also a social innovator. At a time when black voices were only heard on black radio stations, WALG News featured Eddie Grissom, the first black news voice on a ‚white‘ Albany station. It began as a 1,000-watt station, omnidirectional, and then went to 5 kW day, and 1 kW night, with a southerly directional signal that protected WTGA, also at 1590, in Thomaston, Georgia. A „First Phone“ license was required to operate the station until more modern equipment was installed in the 1970s, because at power change, the ‚Phase Angle‘ of the signal had to be changed as part of the FCC requirements. The studios were located in an area north of the city of Albany near a swamp.
The area surrounding the station was low country and covered with water most of the time. A raised walkway led you from the small parking lot to the studio. Many deejays were delayed in their air shifts because a fat cottonmouth snake would be sunning themselves on the walkway. The transmitter was and is located off Old Leesburg Road, at the end of Dunbar Lane, but the studio was for many years located in the Holiday Inn, downtown. This was set to music in some WALG jingles that sang: „We’re in a Holiday Inn!“ Cumulus moved the WALG studio to the old First State Bank building on the corner of South Slappey Blvd. and Broad Avenue in the 1990s, and the old studio building on Dunbar is boarded up today. For a time that building was leased to a small FM station licensed to Camilla.
On-air personalities from the 1970s included Ron Mani, „Buzz One“ (Ron Brown), J.J. Stone (Billy Thorman) Christopher Hayes, Rick Ledbetter, Jim King, Sonny Lofton, „Jane“, Bill Young, Skip Elliott, Kris Van Dyke, Dave Miller, Jack O’Brien, Mike Speers, Carol Ward, ‚Spanky‘, Rick Stewart, Hal Edwards, Otis Ulm, and Steve Preston.
WALG was managed by many different people through the years, but perhaps its most memorable GM was Mark Shor. Mark was a New York Jew who sold radio ads in deepest South Georgia. Under Shor, WALG, and later with WKAK-FM in the mix, the station saw it highest billing. At its apogee, WALG-WKAK employed thirty people, was live 24/7. Shor mostly worked for the Woodalls, first Whitfield, then Alan. There was a period when Shor parted way with the Woodalls, circa 1973 – 1975.