Thieves toppled and stole the 200-foot tower of classic hits WJLX-AM (1240) in Jasper, AL. The theft was discovered late last week and also included the transmitter and other equipment.
Station owner and GM Brett Elmore broke the news on the station’s Facebook page on Friday, Feb. 2.
“This is going to get out eventually, so I might as well make it public before it does. I have heard of thieves in this area stealing anything, but this one takes the cake,” Station owner and GM Brett Elmore wrote in a posting. “This morning, my bush hog crew went down to a tower site we have behind MarJac to do an early cleanup of the property before we did some more work down there. When he arrived, he called and notified me that not only was my building vandalized, but my TWO HUNDRED FOOT TOWER WAS GONE! They stole every piece of equipment out of the building, cut the guy wires to the tower and SOMEHOW managed to down a 200′ tower and take it from the property. Jasper Police is investigating and hopefully they will find who did it. It is a FEDERAL crime to tamper with a federally licensed facility. If you have any information, please call the Jasper Police Department at 205-221-2121.”
WJLX is a Class C AM station that operates at 1,000 watts. The station continues to broadcast via its FM translator, the Jasper-licensed W268BM at 101.5.
“I don’t see some guy off the street doing this,” Elmore told Inside Radio. “This looks like a professional hit.” He said that station engineers filed for an STA with the FCC now that the AM signal has been knocked off the air. Local broadcasting colleagues are offering help to possibly find a temporary transmitter location.
WJLX is a special place for Elmore, a second-generation broadcaster. “That’s where I first went on the air,” he shares. After the tower theft, Elmore says “Honestly, I can say that I’ve seen it all.”
This may be the first theft of a full radio tower. Thieves have been known to target radio towers for their copper. Last month, copper thieves toppled the tower of Payne Media Group country “K95.5” KITX in Hugo, OK, knocking the station off the air and causing nearly half a million dollars in damage. Also in January, WAYN Rockingham, NC (900) was knocked off the air when copper wires were stolen and damage was done to the tower electronics.
In May 2023, Agape Communications’ adult standards KSGL Wichita, KS (900), saw their tower go dark when vandals stole hundreds of feet of copper wiring from its transmitter site.