Local FM Returns to Laurens County

With a filing before the Federal Communications Commission yesterday, WLBG Radio expanded operations to the FM band. As a result, WLBG programming may now be heard 24-hours-a-day at 860 on the heritage AM band and on FM at 104.1.

WLBG was among the early South Carolina radio stations to add an FM signal. In the 1950’s, many of the first FM stations were signed off, their owners returning the license to the FCC, due to lack of listeners.

Over half a century ago, WLBG-AM ownership had the FCC reassign an abandoned Spartanburg frequency to Laurens and began using FM to provide live coverage of local sports. At that time, WLBG-AM was only authorized to broadcast from sunrise to sunset. Adding FM allowed live coverage of evening sports events. Bill Hogan of the Laurens Clinton Broadcasting Company has told us of promotions WLBG conducted to encourage people to listen to FM, even giving FM radios away.

While WLBG-AM now operates 24-hours a day, we must lower our power at night. AM radio signals travel much further at night due to changes in the atmosphere, and we reduce power to protect a station in Toronto. Having the FM signal will make it possible to hear a clear signal during nighttime sports coverage when we’re not using our full power. This will also make hearing the Morning News programming easier, through the winter and even here in March, when sunrise comes after peak morning listening begins.

Emil Finley of Southeastern Broadcast Associates said, “I thank the thousands of listeners who have dealt with interference issues over the years to stay informed through their local radio station. We have a great audience that many radio station operators dream of.  Hopefully, this makes it easier to enjoy good local radio.”

The first WLBG-FM was sold forty years ago and new owners took advantage of its 100,000 watt signal to program a regional station from Greenville. The new FM signal focuses on Laurens County.

In addition to 24-hour coverage on AM and FM, live local news and sports coverage may also be heard on the world wide web at WLBG.com and on smart phones via a Tune-In App.