|Broadcast area||Knoxville, Tennessee and surrounding areas|
|Frequency||103.5 MHz (HD Radio)|
|Owner||Duey Wright |
(Midwest Communications, Inc.)
|WJXB-FM, WDKW, WNFZ|
First air date
|1949 (as WBIR-FM)|
Former call signs
|ERP||100,000 watts (with Beam tilt)|
|HAAT||525 meters (1,722 ft)|
|Webcast||Listen Live or|
WIMZ-FM is a classic rock music radio station based in Knoxville, Tennessee at 103.5 FM. Its broadcast area includes southeastern Kentucky, southwestern Virginia, western North Carolina, north Georgia and far northwest South Carolina.
The WIMZ FM-Tower (also called the WBIR TV-mast) is a 534.01-meter-high guy-wired aerial mast for the transmission of FM radio and television programs in Knoxville, Tennessee (Geographical coordinates:). The tower was completed during 1963 September and at the time was the tallest structure in the world. It is currently owned by South Central Communications.
Originally, the tower was used for television broadcasts by WBIR-TV, but it was shielded by mountains from some audiences in the vicinity of Knoxville, especially those in the western towns of Farragut, Oak Ridge, and Lenoir City. WBIR relocated to Sharp's Ridge near downtown Knoxville during the 1970s, and the tower is now used by radio station WIMZ. Due to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations, the antenna itself is located 1,570 ft (479 m) AGL, about 180 ft (55 m) below the top of the tower.
Originally before the tall WBIR-TV mast was built during 1963, the owner of the television station had planned the tower to be built on nearby House Mountain, the tallest point in Knox County, Tennessee. But WBIR's main competitor WATE-TV ended that idea. See the article House Mountain for details.
Known originally as WBIR-FM, the station had a country music format, switching to album-oriented rock music during 1979. Not long after the format switch it changed its call letters to the current WIMZ, and used the slogan "Rock 104". At the start of 1983 it altered its format somewhat to add more current new wave and heavy metal music acts and curtail much of the 1970s classic rock music; at that time it also stopped using the name Rock 104 and began identifying as "103.5 WIMZ", with a new logo modeled on that of MTV. The last song played with WBIR's Country format was "Waltz Across Texas" by Ernest Tubb. In the middle of the song, the turntable was switched off until the song spun to a stop. There was brief moment of silence and then a voice was broadcast that said, "WBIR FM, Rock 104. We Believe In Rock." ...and Led Zeppelin's "Stairway To Heaven" began playing.
During 1982, WHEL on AM 1240 (formerly with a big band format) began simulcasting WIMZ-FM's programming, and became WIMZ. This simulcast on AM continued for much of the 1980s. WIMZ was later sports talk.
During the 1980s and 1990s, the station had a popular morning program hosted by Phil Williams, Billy Kidd, and Colvin Idol (later replaced by David Henley).
Currently, the morning time slot is used for the John Boy and Billy program (John Boy having been a popular local radio performer during the late 1970s on WRJZ), a syndicated program which is on many stations throughout the southeastern United States. During recent years, the station's format has consisted of late 1960s through early 1990s hard rock music, excluding punk and emphasizing 1970s metal and 1980s hair metal music. Their slogan remained "Classic rock that really rocks" for more than a decade. Presently the station's slogan is, "Knoxville's Classic Rock."
It was announced on May 28, 2014, that Midwest Communications will purchase 9 of the 10 Stations owned by South Central Communications. (This includes WIMZ-FM along with Sister Stations WJXB-FM & WVRX) With this purchase, Midwest Communications will expand its portfolio of stations to Evansville, Knoxville and Nashville. The sale was finalized on September 2, 2014, at a price of $72 million.
WIMZ has made a minor tweak to their playlist towards the mainstream rock direction, to broaden their playlist to have a harder edge for classic rock.
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