|Broadcast area||Atlanta metropolitan area|
|Affiliations||CBS Radio Network|
First air date
Former call signs
Call sign meaning
|Call letters originally established in Cumming, Georgia|
|Power||10,000 watts day|
1,000 watts night
WMLB (1690 kHz "Freedom 1690") is an AM expanded band radio station licensed to Avondale Estates, Georgia, and serving the Metro Atlanta radio market. The station broadcasts with 10,000 watts daytime and 1,000 watts at night.
WMLB originated as the expanded band "twin" of an existing station on the standard AM band. On March 17, 1997 the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced that eighty-eight stations had been given permission to move to newly available "Expanded Band" transmitting frequencies, ranging from 1610 to 1700 kHz, with WBIT in Adel, Georgia authorized to move from 1470 to 1690 kHz.
A construction permit for the expanded band station was assigned the call WAXD on January 9, 1998. The call letters were changed to WSWK on November 1, 2000, and in 2003 the station originally signed on from Adel in south Georgia with a tourist information format, identifying as "Wild Adventures Radio" and simulcasting FM 92.1 WDDQ with the same format.
The station moved to the Atlanta radio market in 2004, when the community-of-license changed to Avondale Estates. When the station was moved to the Atlanta area, its transmitter was co-located with station WATB's, and WSWK's signal was diplexed onto one of WATB's antennas. Later in 2004, the station's transmitter was moved to a new dedicated facility off of Cheshire Bridge Road in Atlanta with a new single-tower antenna.
The station debuted in the Atlanta market with a country music format. But by September 2004 it had joined the Air America Radio progressive talk radio network and changed formats to become a talk radio station. The format change came with a change to the WWAA callsign.
An FCC policy stated that both an original station and its expanded band counterpart could operate simultaneously for up to five years, after which owners would have to turn in one of the two licenses, depending on whether they preferred the new assignment or elected to remain on the original frequency. It was ultimately decided to transfer full operations to the expanded band station, and on February 18, 2005 the license for original station, WBIT on 1470 kHz in Adel, was cancelled.
In June 2006, JW Broadcasting, owners of station WMLB on 1160 AM, purchased WWAA, and transferred the WMLB call sign and its eclectic format to 1690 kHz. The new format included classical and folk music, jazz, show tunes, comedy bits, classic country music and some rock and roll. Several original programs included "Reflections on Flash Fiction", hosted by Professors Marshall Duke and Walter Reed of Emory University, and Sidewalk Radio, hosted by local entrepreneur and real estate agent Gene Kansas. One Air America program, The Al Franken Show, remained until Franken's last show in February 2007. (The original WMLB on 1160 AM became talk radio WCFO, "News Talk 1160", which was bought by a Catholic radio organization in 2018.)
In early February 2013, WMLB moved its transmitter location a few hundred feet away across Cheshire Bridge in Atlanta. This transmitter is co-located with WNIV and WAFS, with all three stations sharing the same single vertical broadcast antenna tower. The single broadcasting antenna tower, which WMLB used exclusively from 2006 until 2013, was dismantled.
WMLB went silent in the early morning of May 14, 2018 (sometime between 12:10 a.m. and 1:10 a.m. EDT), after the studio lease ended. However, JW Broadcasting continued to own the broadcast tower, and the online streaming continued to play music, hourly updates from CBS Radio News and station identifications until May 15.
By mid-2020 WMLB resumed broadcasting, playing oldies music and old interviews. On March 1, 2021 the station changed formats from oldies to conservative talk, branded as "Freedom 1690".
- "FCC Public Notice: Mass Media Bureau Announces Revised AM Expanded Band Allotment Plan and Filing Window for Eligible Stations" (FCC DA 97-537), March 17, 1997.
- FCC Call Sign History (Facility ID: 87118)
- Hauser, Glenn (2003-09-12). "DX Listening Digest 3163". Glenn Hauser (publisher). Retrieved 2007-12-11.
- Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Applications Search for Facility 87118
- Hauser, Glenn (2004-02-05). "DX Listening Digest 4022". Glenn Hauser (Publisher). Retrieved 2007-12-11.
- Abkowitz, Alyssa (2006-05-10). "Future uncertain for Air America's Atlanta affiliate". Creative Loafing (Atlanta, Georgia). Retrieved 2007-12-11.
- FCC Station Search Details: DWBIT (Facility ID: 72785)
- AJC.com "WCFO Sold to Atlanta Catholic Radio" April 5, 2018
- "1690/WMLB-AM 'Voice of the Arts' shutting down after 21 years | Radio and TV Talk". Retrieved 2018-05-14.
- WMLB Flips To Conservative Talk Under LMA Radioinsight - March 1, 2021
- WMLB in the FCC AM station database
- WMLB on Radio-Locator
- WMLB in Nielsen Audio's AM station database