WKXM under new management

Robbie McAlpine

By Luke Brantley
Staff writer
WINFIELD — WKXM, also known as Gold 97.7 FM, is under new management.
Our Town Radio, Inc. purchased the radio station earlier this year, and is bringing some new changes to reach a broader audience.
Robbie McAlpine, the president and CEO of Alpine Advertising Agency and owner of Our Town Radio, said it won’t be too drastic of a change from what listeners are familiar with.
“We plan on keeping the same call letters, WKXM, and keeping the same format for now,” McAlpine said. “I was kidding around with some people in the community the other day and said, ‘We’re changing it to rap!’ But we’re going to keep the same format for now, maybe tweak it a little bit along the way, and we’re keeping Doug and everybody.”
McAlpine also owns WCRL Radio 95.3 in Oneonta, Ala. Aside from radio, McAlpine’s company has also spent years working in advertising and cable.
McAlpine said he plans on widening the scope of where, when and how people listen to local radio.
“I’m a small-town guy, and I understand the importance of local coverage, so our slogan for WKXM is ‘local coverage with world-wide reach,’ with all the streaming and things of that nature that we do,” he said.
One of the first things he did was upgrade the station’s existing equipment, including installing a new transmitter.
“The transmitter that was in the station when we bought it was the original transmitter, which was probably from the 60s or 70s when the station opened,” he said. “We installed a new one, and it should be covering 13 counties now that it was originally intended to cover. That was our first act of business.”
McAlpine said he is also excited to launch a streaming app that will allow anyone to listen to the radio station on their phones or other smart devices.
The app will also allow all six schools in the county to broadcast sporting events at the same time, and people can choose which game to listen to instead of having to wait for their school’s turn each week, or flip between games to keep up with all the scores.
“We’re just going to modernize the station in terms of technology and put more broadcast crews on the ground so we have the ability to cover more,” McAlpine said. “This is also a way to bring more attention to kids at smaller schools who might get very little coverage. We’re going to change that. We have the ability to cover all six schools at the same time. Now it’s like flipping channels. You can go back and forth between games and keep up with all of them. All of that will be coming for this upcoming football season.”
In terms of music, McAlpine said that once the current music agreements are up, the station will likely move its music forward from 60s and 70s to somewhat more recent hits.
“We’re probably going to bring that forward a little bit to the 90s and 2000s whenever we’re able to do that,” he said. “But there’s a contract in place that won’t allow that to happen yet, so it’s a few months down the road.
“Our job as radio, or any other media outlet, is to reach an audience that has expendable income. Something that played in the 90s is 30 years old now. That sweet spot is that 25-54 demographic, and that’s what we’re going for.”
McAlpine said that the various companies he owns will bring in new advertising opportunities from around the region, as well as opportunities to do more giveaways for concert tickets and other prizes.

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