By LEVI WARNER
In the city of Summerville, Ga., the AM radio station has been the source of local news for years.
Five years ago, AM 1180 was bought by Jimmy Holbrook who has lived in Chattooga County his entire life. At the time, AM 1180 was a religious station that broadcast all pre-recorded satellite programming. The station began broadcasting in the 1980s as WSAF. It had never played any kind of local programming or news. Holbrook claims he never had a clue that it would turn into a legitimate career. He had thought that it would last a few months.
“The thing about radio is if you get involved in it, and you’re reasonably good at it, it’s going to get in your blood, and you’ll never get away from it,” said Jimmy Holbrook, the owner of AM 1180.
“Chattooga County has its own little culture. You have your rednecks, your church people and your really prestigious people,” said Holbrook. “But, they’ve all been brought up in an isolated place very far from the interstate so there’s not much variety.”
Cristy York is the voice behind many pieces of programming throughout the day. She does church news, local news, state news, obituary announcements and a few advertisements. She also is in charge of the incredibly popular show “The Trading Post”. In the show, York reads classifieds and describes random things people would like to sell or find, a valuable service in a small town. York said she loves the variety of callers the Trading Post brings.
“I feel like an announcer sometimes. I also feel like a journalist sometimes, said York. “ I’m a reporter, I’m an announcer, and I’m a DJ. I do it all.”
According to Holbrook, the biggest challenge is money.
“We get overlooked a lot,” Holbrook said. “You aren’t going to turn on the Atlanta news or the Chattanooga news and hear something about Chattooga County.”
“In our station, the problem we face is technology,” said York. “We could update the technology and face fewer problems, especially with programming, but that’s an issue we choose to face.”
As for now, the station is thriving and Holbrook hopes that he will soon be granted a low power FM frequency by the FCC.
You can listen to the station in metro Atlanta by tuning into 1180 on the AM radio dial or listen and find news online at chattoogainfo.com