Tuscaloosa responds to 100.5 switch

CW Staff

On Sunday night, Birmingham-based radio station Live 100.5 officially swapped from live DJs to automated programming, beginning a process to switch its format to an exclusively talk radio format. The switch occured after a year and a half on the airwaves even amid Facebook groups and petitions hoping to keep the station on the air.

“I heard about 100.5 from a friend, and I immediately fell in love with it,” said Andrea Passwater, a senior majoring in quantitative economics.

Passwater said despite the current age of technology, she has had a bond with the radio station.

“I do have an iPod, but it’s only a 4 gig, and honestly I tend to get tired of the music on it if I listen too often, so I mostly just use it when I’m walking in-between classes. I’m the type of person who hates repetition and I get bored with things easily.”

Passwater is not alone in being a fan of the station. UA graduate Andrea Mabry also expressed support and sentiment.

“For a while, I never listened to the radio — all the radio stations sucked,” Mabry says. “Then a couple years ago, I heard about this new station on 100.5. I’ve been listening ever since. I like most of the music they play, and the DJs play a lot of bands that I love, but haven’t heard on any other radio station.”

At press time, a Facebook group called “Save Live 100.5” had nearly 19,000 members and created a petition with more than 4,000 signatures. The group’s page described Live 100.5 as “the best radio station that Birmingham has ever known.”

The process of changing formats is not without precedent in the area. Tuscaloosa experienced this situation with the switch of WRTR-FM from its classic rock format to a talk radio format last year.

Economic troubles have also befallen Citadel Broadcasting, the parent company of Live 100.5, which declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy last year. Citadel Broadcasting and 100.5 FM could not be reached by deadline.

It appears that for most listeners, all that is left is the memories of a number of shows, such as the long-running “Reg’s Coffee House,” the final DJ run telecast of the Live 100.5 station.

In the midst of change, Mabry and Passwater point to listening habits that are away from 100.5 FM.

“I will be listening almost exclusively to NPR,” Mabry said.

“I heard that they’re planning on turning 100.5 into a talk radio station, but I honestly just don’t think I’ll listen that much,” Passwater said. “Not to sound closed to new things; I’ll probably listen and just see what the new feel is all about. But I’ve already got what I consider to be a great talk station, and I listen to it frequently. Sometimes you want music, too. Since there aren’t any other stations around here that I like to listen to, I guess it’s back to the iPod full time.”