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Letter: Alabama Radio Station Featured in Parade 90 Years After Premiere

WNRA shares some radio history in wake of Labor Day

In this letter to the editor, the author shares news about a special Labor Day celebration for historic WNRA(FM) in Alabama. “Anytime there’s a win for radio I think we all like to hear about it,” says Evan Tidwell, the general manager of WNRA 94.5 FM in Muscle Shoals, Ala. He can be reached at [email protected].

WNRA 94.5 FM in Muscle Shoals, Ala. led the local Labor Day parade on Sept. 4, 2023, 90 years to the day after the above photo was made. In this shot, WNRA staff members are shown announcing the station’s coming ahead of its sign-on in November.  

The WNRA call letters paid tribute to the new National Recovery Administration; one of President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal programs intended to bring the country out of the Great Depression. It adopted the administration’s Blue Eagle emblem, which was displayed by businesses participating in the program. In the following decades the station went through a frequency change and two more sets of call letters before signing off the air in 2010.

I began my radio career at the station as an engineer and announcer, helping put on an FM translator in 2007. When the owners lost the FM license, my historical foundation applied to bring it back as an LPFM. We signed the station back on in 2015 and have ran it for the past eight years. Luckily we were able to bring back the original call letters last year after another WNRA went dark.

It was a beautiful sight to see the call letters and Blue Eagle emblem back where they belong in the Shoals area 90 years later. We are currently building new museum studios featuring all of the original 1930’s WNRA equipment including its transmitter and microphones, and plan to hold an open house later this year.  I’ll make sure to send photos to Radio World!

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