Piece of Mobile’s radio history to be torn down

Mobile County

MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) – One piece of Mobile history is expected to be torn down, the old WABB building on Springhill and Catherine was supposed to be bulldozed last Friday, but it is still standing.

It was one of the first stations in the nation to carry Casey Kasem’s American Top 40.

It is a piece of Mobile’s history, with a legacy the size of some of the stars that came through their doors.

“Such an iconic call letter in the business, really,” said Matt McCoy. 

Matt McCoy was one of the morning radio hosts at WABB in the early 2000’s.

“I think a lot of people that grew up, grew up listening to WABB,” said McCoy.

He and his former co-workers all recently found out the building they called home for so many years is set to be torn down.

“It was definitely heartbreaking,” said McCoy.

It wasn’t just the DJ’s spinning records, some famous names came through the doors at the height of their fame, speaking directly to the Mobile audience.

“The number of artists, and talent that came through the doors at WABB, it literally shaped, not just radio, it shaped music too in a large part of it. A lot of people looked to WABB to see what they were doing,” said McCoy.

The building is slated for demolition, and one of the last people to enter the building, Nick Piechowski with Mobile Records.

“I own every Star Wars record ever made in the US, except for this one. And I found it, today, and it came from WABB,” said Piechowski.

He went into the building with his boss to recover some of the records. They found treasures inside, for those who love the station.

“Things like historical documents on the wall,” said Piechowski. He continued, “we recovered the microphone that was from the original building. We think Elvis might have spoken into it.”

One of the finds, the building’s history in pictures.

“That’s in the hallway! That’s in the hallway going up the stairs. Oh my God! That’s still in there? That needs to come out,” said McCoy. He explained the pictures show the story of the radio station when it first began, “this is when WABB first started, they was at the Quonset hut, which was this little silver hut at the very beginning, this is when they first signed the station on for what it was but it was AM at the time.”

Of course, they also found some valuable records.   

“This is one of the rarest Star Wars 45’s ever. This picture sleeve is not even known to exist, and we found two of them. It’s a promotional copy of Meco’s Star Wars Christmas Album, Christmas in the Stars. It’s historic because it’s Jon Bon Jovi’s first recording,” said Piechowski.

McCoy says there’s a lot of nostalgia associated with the old building.

“The essence of what was WABB will still live on at Springhill and Catherine,” said McCoy.

It’s legacy will continue.

Mobile Records says they plan on donating the microphone that was found in the original building to a local historical society.

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