This past Friday I found myself en route to Birmingham, AL, where my sister Mary Beth graduated on Saturday from Birmingham-Southern College (and she did so summa cum laude with a 3.9+ GPA). It was a joyous trip to celebrate her graduation, though for me it was also my first look at the devastation caused by the tornadoes that tore through Alabama last month.
I saw only a sliver of the damage: the trees on either side of I-65 in Cullman that had been uprooted or had most of their bark torn from them, the power poles that were bent in half like they were made of straw instead of metal, and the house near the Comfort Inn Suites in Gardendale (just north of Birmingham) with a giant tree still jutting out from the middle of its roof. My purpose for the trip was not to gawk at the damage caused by the storm, yet it was impossible to see the area and not take in the visual impact caused by the multiple tornadoes. When people say that Alabama still needs plenty of help cleaning up from the storm, they aren’t kidding.
Alabama is where I was born, and more recently I lived in the Birmingham area from 2006-2007 after I left the radio business and moved there from Tampa. From a radio standpoint, Birmingham is an interesting market, with multiple AM stations using translators (and/or working with the HD2 or HD3 channels of sister FM stations) to reach those who might not be inclined to listen to radio on the AM dial in the year 2011.
In today’s update for the site I have some legal IDs recorded during the aforementioned trip to Birmingham, many of which I actually recorded from the HD2 or HD3 feed of a given station. The IDs also include stations which once had a “real” FM home in the market and exist on the FM dial via a translator approach, such as Cox Radio’s “neo-soul” WENN and Clear Channel’s “Vulcan” rock brand.