WJLX, a local radio station serving Jasper, Alabama, was knocked off the air in an utterly mind-boggling crime. “I have tried all weekend to figure it out, and I just can’t,” said the station’s owner Brett Elmore. We can’t blame Brett for being baffled. This whole case is just completely incomprehensible. The station has gone off the air a few times over the last few years due to its malfunctioning antenna tower. But on February 2, the WJLX fell silent for the foreseeable future for an absolutely bizarre reason. That morning, a landscaping crew had gone down to the tower, located in a remote, wooded area near Jasper. Soon after, Brett received a call from them. At first, he thought they were saying someone had vandalized the tower. However, the man on the phone insisted Elmore had misunderstood what he was saying. “He called me Friday and said, ‘The tower is gone.’ I said, ‘What do you mean the tower is gone?’” recalled Elmore. Well, he meant it’s gone. Someone had stolen the 200 foot tall tower, along with the AM transmitter from a building at the base of the tower.
WJLX was founded in 1957 as WARF, the station plays mostly oldies music. Elmore explained that the criminals had cut the guide wires to the tower, taken the structure down, and transported the whole shebang off the property. How they did it without anyone noticing or stopping them, no one knows. “I have been in the radio business, around it all my life, and then in it professionally for 26 years, and I can say I have never heard of anything like this,” Elmore said. “I can say I’ve seen it all now.”
Without the AM transmitter and antenna tower, the WJLX can’t broadcast on AM frequencies. Brett still has his FM transmitter and antenna, but he can’t operate it due to licensing issues. The Federal Communications Commission on February 8 served WJLX a notice informing the station that it can’t transmit solely over FM frequencies while the AM service is off the air. According to Elmore, replacing the stolen tower and transmitter could cost $60,000 — at minimum. It’s perfectly possible for the final bill to climb up to $150,000, and WJLX doesn’t have that kind of money. Still, he has opened a GoFundMe campaign to try and raise the money for a tower replacement. Elmore believes whoever is behind the theft plans to dismantle the tower and sell the metal for scrap. In fact, this isn’t the first crime in the Jasper area targeting radio equipment. According to Elmore, another nearby radio station lost an air conditioning unit and copper piping to thieves six months ago. You would think the scrap dealers would be looking for someone that shows up selling 200 feet of metal.
Can radio be an addiction?
Depends on the frequency.
This is Armenian Radio; our listeners asked us: “When the final phase of socialism, namely communism, is built, will there still be thefts and pilfering?”
We’re answering: “No, because everything will be already pilfered during socialism.”
My husband took our daughter out for her very first driving lesson. He began this important task by asking her, “What is the first thing you do when you get in the car?” Without a moment hesitation she replied, “Turn on the radio.”
What’s the difference between the Congress and my 30 year old transistor radio?
My radio still has a working speaker.
February 12th Birthdays
1994 – Jennifer Stone, 1968 – Chynna Phillips, 1991 – Park Bo Young, 1980 – Christina Ricci
1969 – Josh Brolin, 1970 – Jesse Spencer, 1807 – Abe Lincoln, 1809 – Charles Darwin