Missing in Alabama: A Radio Tower, and ‘The Sound of Walker County’

The radio tower peeking out over dense woods and poultry farms had an AM signal just strong enough to serve WJLX’s intended audience: the people in and around Jasper, Ala., who wanted to hear the Jasper Vikings’ Friday night high school football broadcasts and news of the burger specials at Alabama Stackers on 19th Street.

Then, “The Sound of Walker County,” as the station has long billed itself, went silent.

The tower, all 190 feet of it, had vanished — its 3,500 pounds of spindly steel beams possibly sliced into pieces and dragged away earlier this month by thieves, the police said.

“Who in the world steals a radio tower?” said Brett Elmore, the station manager, recalling his bewildered reaction when a maintenance worker explained to him why the station he often calls “my life” had been knocked off the air.

The disappearance has made for one of the more puzzling cases taken on by the Jasper Police Department, which has had few leads so far.

The radio tower, in better days.Credit…Brett Elmore

Many in Jasper, a city of about 14,000 that lies 40 miles northwest of Birmingham, fear the culprits have taken more than a heap of steel.

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