Break out the party hats for May 16: It’s RadioAlabama’s 75 Years of Broadcast Excellence Day in Alabama. Alabama Governor Kay Ivey signed a proclamation marking the 1948 launch of WMLS(AM) in Sylacauga, Ala.
WMLS, now WYEA(AM), is the flagship station in the RadioAlabama group, which is owned by Marble City Media LLC.
“By celebrating this anniversary of RadioAlabama’s flagship station, we are recognizing 75 years of important local news, sports and weather coverage,” according to the proclamation, adding that “RadioAlabama has provided Alabamians and nationwide listeners with not only critical, timely information but content that fosters family and community fellowship.”
The original investors in WMLS were four veterans, recently returned from World War II, including Curtis O. Liles Jr., who became majority owner of the station in 1953 and sole owner with the launch of WMLS-FM (now WSGN-FM) in 1959. Liles remained the stations’ owner until his retirement in 1980.
“I know my parents would be extremely proud that their legacy is living on through such a passionate commitment to public service,” Curtis O. Liles III stated.
Sylacuga native Lee Perryman, who worked at the stations as a teenager, purchased WYEA in 2012 and began expanding the RadioAlabama group. Today RadioAlabama includes 11 broadcast brands in East Central Alabama, along with several multimedia services.
In 2021, RadioAlabama relocated its studios and administrative offices to a new facility a block away from WMLS’s original broadcast home in Sylacauga’s business district.
Collectively, the RadioAlabama stations have won 67 awards for broadcast excellence. Perryman was named the Alabama Broadcasters Association’s Broadcaster of the Year in 2014, and WYEA was honored as Alabama’s Radio Station of the Year in 2017. WYEA’s vintage transmitter, in constant use from 1948 to 2012, is on permanent display at the Alabama Historical Radio Society museum in Birmingham.
The proclamation was signed May 4, 2023, at a ceremony in the former House of Representatives chamber of the state capitol building.
Owned by Marble City Media LLC, RadioAlabama stations include KiX 100.3 (WYEA), WSGN, MIX 106.5 (WSGN-HD2), 105.1 WRFS, KiX 96.3 (WFXO), AU100 (WAUE), and Tiger Country 104.5 (WAUE-HD2), as well as SylacaugaNews.com, and RadioAlabamaSports.net. Through co-owned Auburn Networks LLC, management operations pending FCC approval of assignment applications include NewsTalk WANI (WANI/WGZZ-HD2), Wings 94.3 (WGZZ), ESPN 106.7 (WGZZ-HD3), and 96.3 WLEE (WGZZ-HD4), along with East Alabama Living Magazine and East Alabama Weddings Magazine.