Albany's first radio tower wrecked by storm winds

Published: Jan. 11, 2017 at 3:05 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 11, 2017 at 3:24 PM EST
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(Source: David Miller)
(Source: David Miller)
(Source: David Miller)
(Source: David Miller)
WGPC studios on North Jackson Street in the 1950s (Source: Bill Phillips)
WGPC studios on North Jackson Street in the 1950s (Source: Bill Phillips)

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Albany's first radio station is not on the air. WGPC 1450AM, was struck dead center by the storm that hit January 2, 2017.

About a dozen old trees went down, at least three on the studio building.

The 175 foot tall antenna tower was folded in half. It was erected on this spot after the tornado of 1940, which devastated downtown.

The first studio was beside the Haley Ford building on Pine Avenue, now the Library Central building, downtown.  On February. 10, 1940, the adjacent tower was knocked off its foundation. It was relocated to its current Gillionville Road location, which at the time was quite rural.

Years later, the studio moved across the intersection of Pine Avenue and North Jackson Street, to the the New Albany Hotel, then to a new building on Gillionville in the early 1970s.

The original license was for Americus, issued in 1933. One source with a connection to previous ownership believes the original owner sold it to the Woodruffs of Columbus, who were the first Albany operators.

Walter Flint and Milt George came to Albany some time after WW II, and Milt bought the station. He owned it about four decades before he sold the station, but not the real estate or tower to Cumulus, which owns it now.

Milt George applied for an FM license in the 1960s, put on the first or one of the first FM signals in all South GA.

From the beginning of Georgia Bulldog radio broadcasts, WGPC carried the Dawgs in the Albany market.

The FM station was a charter affiliate for the new Atlanta Braves. Even at 43,000 Watts on a short stick, WGPC FM could be heard in Waycross at night. This antenna was moved to a 1,000 foot tower at Acree in the 1990's, and the power increased to 100,000 Watts.

WGPC-FM for most of its life played "beautiful music," and also carried "Stereo Concert" with Jim Savelle of Albany Junior College on Sunday nights. Cumulus changed its format to country music.

Copyright 2017 WALB.  All rights reserved.