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WLWI (1440 AM, "News Radio 1440") is a radio station licensed to serve Montgomery, Alabamamarker, USA. The station is owned by Cumulus Media and the license is held by Cumulus Licensing, LLC.

It broadcasts a news/talk radio format to the Montgomery metropolitan areamarker. Notable syndicated programming includes "First Call" with retired Army Sergeant Kevin Elkins, The Money Game with Dave Ramsey, Rush Limbaugh, The Sean Hannity Show, Clark Howard, Michael Savage, and Coast to Coast AM with George Noory.

History

The beginning

This station, the oldest radio station in Montgomery and the fourth oldest in Alabama, began broadcasting as WSFA on April 30, 1930. Montgomery's next oldest, WCOV (now WACVmarker), wouldn't begin broadcasting until February 1939. The radio station's callsign, intended to promote Montgomery's city air field, stood for "With the South's Finest Airport". A formerly-affiliated Montgomery television station (then WSFA-TV, now simply WSFAmarker) still holds this historic callsign.

WSFA was originally operated under the ownership of the Montgomery Broadcasting Company, Inc., a partnership between local businessmen Howard Pill and Gordon Persons. Persons, who stepped down as president of the company in 1939, would go on to serve as the forty-third governor of Alabama from 1951 to 1955.

Country music legend Hank Williams got his start as a professional musician in 1936 with regular appearances on WSFA. It was during this period that he formed his longtime backing band, the Drifting Cowboys. Southern Gospel family group the Speer Family joined the station in 1941 until they moved on to Nashville, Tennesseemarker, in 1946.

The WHYY era

The station was acquired by Broadcast Service of Montgomery, Inc., under the ownership of Charles W. Holt, Connie I. Holt, and Robert N. Robinson, as part of the Holt Broadcasting Service, on January 9, 1957. The station was renamed WHHY to match the other stations owned by Holt Broadcasting at the time: WHSY in Hattiesburg, Mississippimarker, WHNY in McComb, Mississippimarker, WHXY in Bogalusa, Louisianamarker, and KOME in Tulsa, Oklahomamarker.

The Holt and Robinson families maintained ownership of the WHHY until Holt-Robinson Communications encountered financial difficulties and, in May 1993, the license for WHHY was involuntarily transferred from Holt-Robinson Communications Corporation to receiver Thomas M. Duddy. The transfer was approved by the FCC on June 21, 1993.

In May 1995, receiver Thomas M. Duddy reached an agreement to sell this station to McDonald Investment Company, Inc. The deal was approved by the FCC on July 3, 1995, and the transaction was consummated on August 30, 1995. In October 1996, McDonald Investment Company, Inc., applied to the FCC to transfer the license for this station to McDonald Media Group, Inc. The deal was approved by the FCC on November 7, 1996, and the transaction was consummated on December 2, 1996.

The WLWI era

Known as WHHY since 1957, the station changed call letters to the current WLWI on October 19, 1999. In December 1999, McDonald Media Group, Inc., made a deal to sell this station to Citation Limited Partnership, owned by Citation Cablevision, Inc. The deal was approved by the FCC on December 17, 1999, and the transaction was consummated on January 20, 2000.

In September 2000, Citation Limited Partnership reached an agreement to sell this station to Cumulus Media subsidiary Cumulus Licensing Corp. as part of a three station deal valued at a reported $10 million. The deal was approved by the FCC on March 12, 2001, and the transaction was consummated on May 15, 2001.

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