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Arnold Hornbuckle’s “Mended Heart” for Music and Huntsville Hospital 

For the generations of teenagers who grew up in Huntsville during the 50s, 60s, 70s & 80s, the name Hornbuckle is synonymous with their insatiable consumption of music. 

Arnold Hornbuckle’s record shops fed all genres of popular recordings to eager music lovers. Along with his retail stores, Hornbuckle’s principal concern later became the management of WAHR-FM, which he founded in 1959Did you know the call letters actually stand for Arnold Hornbuckle Radio? (Today you likely know it as Star 99.1.)

WAHR was Alabama’s first stand-alone FM radio station without an AM companion.  For 40 years, it was among the highest-rated stations in North Alabama. Hornbuckle sold the station in 1999 and was inducted into the Alabama Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame in 2009. 

Even outside of his work, Hornbuckle was devoted to helping his community. His connection to North Alabama is easy to understand and his roots run deep … The first Hornbuckles moved into the Tennessee Valley in the early 1800s. Arnold served on the boards of several civic organizations including the Chamber of Commerce, United Way, the Boys and Girls Club, Burritt Museum, and others. He was a founding member of the Space City Lions Club. 

After suffering a coronary event, Arnold became passionate about helping Huntsville Hospital and others facing heart conditions. He volunteered several hours every week with Mended Heart, an organization serving the hospital by inspiring hope and improving quality of life for heart patients and their families through support, education, and advocacy.

Today, that passion and legacy lives on. In keeping with his devotion to the community and his local hospital, Hornbuckle set up a charitable unitrust naming Huntsville Hospital Foundation as a beneficiary.  His bequest helped heart patients by purchasing innovative equipment and providing continuing education for nurses. Arnold paired his passion with savvy financial planning to truly change lives and mend hearts. Huntsville Hospital Foundation is appreciative of him and is honored to recognize him as a Heritage Society member.    

Arnold spent his childhood in the Owens Cross Roads area where his ancestors had lived for generations. Early in life he farmed with his father and brothers. As a teenager, he developed an interest in music that led to the opening of his first retail business, Hornbuckle Record Shop, in downtown Huntsville in 1952. Arnold's retail businesses continued to expand over the years – record shops, music stores, Magnavox Home Entertainment Centers.  There were locations in downtown Huntsville, Parkway City, The Mall, and South Parkway.  Over the years he also owned stores in Decatur and Gadsden.