In this week’s issue… WNPR fills in its statewide signal – New host in Rochester – Ho-ho-ho time, especially in Albany – Remembering Richard Lorenzo
By SCOTT FYBUSH
*When the public radio system developed more than half a century ago, it was deliberately designed with local and regional ownership instead of national control. A handful of existing community- and university-run stations such as Boston’s WGBH and WFCR in western Massachusetts became part of the system to serve their regions, but it took longer for other areas to develop service. A few states, such as Maine, built out statewide networks with government support, while others, such as Vermont and New Hampshire, took decades to go statewide as community nonprofit groups struggled to find funding for new transmitters. (And in Rhode Island, it took well into the 1990s before a local public radio voice emerged at all.)
And then there’s CONNECTICUT, where the Connecticut Public Television network covered most of the Nutmeg State with signals by the end of the 1960s, but public radio emerged much more slowly. Starting with what was then WPBH (90.5 Meriden, now WNPR) in the late 1970s, Connecticut Public Radio expanded to include full-power signals in Norwich, Stamford and across Long Island Sound in Southampton, NY. But for listeners in western Connecticut, there’s been no broadcast signal for the “WNPR” stations – until now.
For $500,000, Connecticut Public is buying translator W279CI (103.7) in Danbury from Irv Goldstein’s Berkshire Broadcasting, bringing its local shows such as Colin McEnroe and “Where We Live” to listeners in northern Fairfield County who haven’t been able to hear the Stamford or Meriden signals.
The deal also includes a $1000 monthly lease of the HD4 channel on Berkshire’s WDAQ (98.3 Danbury) to feed the translator.
Like most of western Connecticut, Danbury will now be served by multiple public radio services – there’s an existing translator for Fairfield-based WSHU, as well as a nearby transmitter for the Albany-based WAMC network. The new 103.7 signal, though, will bring more Hartford-based coverage to a part of the state that often feels distant from the state capital. (It’s mostly New York City TV stations on cable, for instance.)
The sale of the translator will lead to some shuffling of Berkshire’s programming: the “94.5 the Hawk” classic rock format heard on another translator via WDAQ’s HD4 will move to the HD2, replacing the alternative rock “103.7 Rock” format that’s been on the translator and WDAQ-HD2. Country “The Bull 107.3” will continue on WDAQ’s HD3, along with the main channel’s hot AC programming.
BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND….
It’s the annual Tower Site Calendar!
This is the 23rd edition of our popular wall calendar, featuring gorgeous full-color photos of tower and transmitter sites from around the country, and sometimes the world. Our photos capture the sites throughout the day and throughout the year.
This makes a great gift for the tower enthusiast in your life — or a special treat for yourself!
Because it’s not yet off the press, we’re offering a pre-production price of $20. Once the calendar is printed, the price will go up to our regular price of $21.
Don’t wait – order yours today!
We have the Radio Historian’s Calendar again this year, too. There are only 25 in stock and they sell fast, so don’t wait to order.