WPRO
WPRO Providence New Logo.jpg
Broadcast areaRhode Island
Frequency630 kHz
BrandingNews/Talk 99.7 FM & AM 630 WPRO
Programming
FormatNews/talk
NetworkABC News Radio
Affiliations
Ownership
Owner
History
First air date
June 15, 1924; 98 years ago (1924-06-15) (as WKBF)
Former call signs
  • WKBF (1924–1925)
  • WDWF (1925–1931)
  • WLSI (1925–1931, shared with WDWF)
  • WPAW (1932–1933; in tandem with WPRO)
Call sign meaning
Providence
Technical information
Licensing authority
FCC
Facility ID64843
ClassB
Power5,000 watts
Transmitter coordinates
41°46′28.00″N 71°19′23.00″W / 41.7744444°N 71.3230556°W / 41.7744444; -71.3230556 (WPRO)
Repeater(s)99.7 WEAN-FM (Wakefield-Peacedale)
Links
Public license information
WebcastListen live
Websitewww.997wpro.com

WPRO (630 AM) is a commercial radio station in Providence, Rhode Island. It is owned by Cumulus Media, broadcasting a talk radio format, simulcast on co-owned 99.7 WEAN-FM. The studios for WPRO and other Cumulus Providence stations are on Wampanoag Road in East Providence, at the Salty Brine Broadcast Center, named after WPRO's longtime morning host.

WPRO is powered at 5,000 watts, non-directional by day. But to protect other stations on 630 AM from interference, at night it uses a directional antenna with a two-tower array. The transmitter is co-located with the studios in East Providence.[1]

Programming

Much of WPRO's weekday lineup is made up of local hosts. At night, nationally syndicated programs are heard: The Ben Shapiro Show, CBS Eye on the World with John Batchelor and Red Eye Radio. Weekends mostly focus on specialty shows about money, health, pets, home repair, real estate and the law, some of which are paid brokered programming. The Ramsey Show with Dave Ramsey is heard on Sunday evenings. Some hours begin with an update from ABC News Radio.

WPRO is an affiliate of the New England Patriots Radio Network. It carried Boston Red Sox baseball from 1986 to 2005.[2] In 2006, Red Sox games moved to WEEI-FM (now WVEI-FM).[3]

History

Early years

The earliest ancestor to WPRO, WKBF, began broadcasting from Cranston, Rhode Island, on June 15, 1924.[4] It was owned by Dutee Wilcox Flint and operating at 1050 kilocycles.[5] In January 1925, the call sign was changed to WDWF, reflecting the owner's initials, and the station moved to 680 kHz.[6]

That December, Lincoln Studios began to share ownership of the station with Flint. Lincoln broadcast its programming under the call sign WLSI.[7] WDWF and WLSI moved to 800 kHz by June 30, 1927.[8] It shifted to 1090 kHz in October,[9] to 1150 kHz in November,[10] and to 1210 kHz in February 1928.[11] By 1930, the studios for WDWF and WLSI were located in Providence.[12]

The Cherry & Webb era (September 1931–April 1959)

Providence department store Cherry & Webb acquired WDWF and WLSI in September 1931, and merged the two stations under a single license with the call letters WPRO.[13] The merged station formally relaunched on October 16.[14] The purchase made Cherry & Webb the third department store in Providence to get into radio broadcasting, after the 1922 launches of Shepard Stores' WEAN (now WPRV, a sister station to WPRO) and The Outlet Company's WJAR (now WHJJ).[15] The following February, Cherry & Webb purchased another station at 1210 kHz, WPAW in nearby Pawtucket,[16] which had been granted a license in August 1926 as WFCI, owned by Frank Cook Inc.[4] and operating at 1160 kHz,[17] moved to 1330 kHz by June 30, 1927,[8] to 1240 that August,[18] and to 1210 kHz in November 1928, concurrent with the change to WPAW.[19] Following the acquisition, the station used WPAW in tandem with WPRO until 1933.[20][21] The station moved to its current frequency, 630 kHz, in 1934.[22] WPRO was an affiliate of the short-lived American Broadcasting System in 1935;[23] in 1937, the station joined the CBS Radio Network, replacing charter affiliate WEAN.[24]

Although WPRO's city of license was changed from Cranston to Providence soon after Cherry & Webb took over,[16] the station's transmitter remained in Cranston[20] until its destruction in the 1938 New England hurricane;[25] it then constructed a new transmission facility in East Providence.[26] FM service was added on April 17, 1948, with the debut of WPRO-FM (92.3 MHz),[14] and a television sister station, WPRO-TV (channel 12), went on the air March 27, 1955.[27]

The CapCities era (April 1959–1993)

Cherry & Webb exited broadcasting in April 1959, selling the WPRO stations to Capital Cities Television Corporation, which eventually became Capital Cities Communications.[14] Soon afterward, WPRO ended its CBS Radio affiliation[28] and became Providence's top-rated top 40 station, competing against WICE (now WPVD) and, later, WGNG (now WSJW).[2] The station's studios were moved to the transmitter location in East Providence in 1974; WPRO's previous studio location, which until then had also continued to house what had become WPRI-TV even after that station was sold by Capital Cities in 1967, was then donated to public television station WSBE-TV.[26] That same year, WPRO-FM adopted its own top 40 format, and the AM side began a gradual evolution to adult contemporary that would continue through the remainder of the decade.[2] During the 1980s, the station again began to shift its format by gradually adding talk shows to its schedule;[2] it also became an affiliate of ABC Radio by 1984,[29] two years before ABC was purchased by Capital Cities. WPRO discontinued its remaining music programming on March 20, 1989, moving to an all-talk format.[2]

Tele-Media takes over (1993–present)

Capital Cities/ABC sold WPRO to Tele-Media in 1993;[2] this put the station under common ownership with WLKW (the former WEAN) and WWLI. Tele-Media, in turn, sold its stations to Citadel Broadcasting (which would eventually purchase the radio assets of former station owner ABC [by then part of Disney] in 2007) in 1997.[30] WPRO added its simulcast on WEAN-FM on March 11, 2008.[31] Citadel merged with Cumulus Media on September 16, 2011.[32]

Former on-air staff

WPRO's longest-serving on-air staff member was Salty Brine, who served as the station's morning host from 1943 until April 28, 1993.[2] Other former WPRO voices include sportscaster Bryan Fustukian (as Vik Armen). New York media personalities who previously worked at WPRO include WABC host Mark Simone, WMCA "Good Guy" Jack Spector, WCBS-TV correspondent Magee Hickey, CBS staff announcer Hal Simms, WCBS-FM personality Dave Stewart (as David Spencer on WPRO), and former Providence mayor Buddy Cianci until his death on January 27, 2016.

References

  1. ^ Radio-Locator.com/WPRO-AM
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Ricitelli, Dino. "A History of 630 WPRO". 630WPRO.com. Archived from the original on 2010-10-25. Retrieved December 11, 2010.
  3. ^ Fybush, Scott (May 16, 2005). "Preston & Steve Back on Philly Airwaves". NorthEast Radio Watch. Retrieved December 12, 2010.
  4. ^ a b "A Chronology of AM Radio Broadcasting 1900-1960". History of American Broadcasting. Retrieved December 5, 2010.
  5. ^ "U. S. Radio Stations as of June 30, 1924". History of American Broadcasting. Retrieved December 5, 2010.
  6. ^ "Radio Service Bulletin". United States Department of Commerce Bureau of Navigation. February 1, 1925. p. 9. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved December 5, 2010.
  7. ^ "Radio Service Bulletin". United States Department of Commerce Bureau of Navigation. December 31, 1925. p. 6. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved December 5, 2010.
  8. ^ a b "U. S. Radio Stations as of June 30, 1927". History of American Broadcasting. Retrieved December 6, 2010.
  9. ^ "Radio Service Bulletin". United States Department of Commerce Radio Division. October 31, 1927. p. 9. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved December 6, 2010.
  10. ^ "Radio Service Bulletin". United States Department of Commerce Radio Division. November 30, 1927. pp. 8–9. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved December 6, 2010.
  11. ^ "Radio Service Bulletin" (PDF). United States Department of Commerce Radio Division. February 29, 1928. p. 6. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 4, 2016. Retrieved December 6, 2010.
  12. ^ "U. S. Radio Stations as of June 30, 1930". History of American Broadcasting. Retrieved December 7, 2010.
  13. ^ "Radio Service Bulletin" (PDF). U. S. Department of Commerce Radio Division. September 30, 1931. p. 11. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 4, 2016. Retrieved December 7, 2010.
  14. ^ a b c Broadcasting & Cable Market Place (PDF). 1992. p. A-306. Retrieved December 7, 2010.[permanent dead link]
  15. ^ Colletto, John. "Our Rhode Island Radio Heritage". Rhode Island Hall of Fame. Retrieved December 7, 2010.
  16. ^ a b "Radio Service Bulletin" (PDF). U. S. Department of Commerce Radio Division. February 29, 1932. p. 24. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 4, 2016. Retrieved December 7, 2010.
  17. ^ "Radio Service Bulletin". United States Department of Commerce Bureau of Navigation. December 31, 1926. p. 16. Archived from the original on 2006-11-25. Retrieved December 8, 2010.
  18. ^ "Radio Service Bulletin". United States Department of Commerce Radio Division. August 31, 1927. p. 6. Archived from the original on November 25, 2006. Retrieved December 8, 2010.
  19. ^ "Radio Service Bulletin" (PDF). United States Department of Commerce Radio Division. November 30, 1928. p. 10. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 4, 2016. Retrieved December 8, 2010.
  20. ^ a b Pierre-Key's Radio Annual (PDF). 1933. Retrieved 28 Dec 2015.
  21. ^ Butler, Fred Clayton, ed. (September 1933). "index by Frequencies and Sundays's Time on the Air" (PDF). Radex. Cleveland, Ohio: The Radex Press: 54. Retrieved 28 Dec 2015.
  22. ^ Butler, Fred Clayton, ed. (September 1934). "Radio Index Magazine September, 1934" (PDF). Radex. Cleveland, Ohio: The Radex Press. Retrieved 28 Dec 2015.
  23. ^ Butler, Fred Clayton, ed. (February 1935). "Index by Frequency and Dial Numbers" (PDF). Radex. Cleveland, Ohio: The Radex Press: 64. Retrieved 28 Dec 2015.
  24. ^ Taylor, Page, ed. (May 1937). "North American B.C. Stations by Frequency" (PDF). Radex. Cleveland, Ohio: The Radex Press: 72. Retrieved 28 Dec 2015.
  25. ^ Scotti, R.A. (2003). Sudden Sea: The Great Hurricane of 1938. ISBN 0-316-73911-1. Retrieved December 10, 2010.
  26. ^ a b Fybush, Scott (August 7, 2009). "WPRO and its sisters, Providence, RI". Tower Site of the Week. fybush.com. Retrieved December 10, 2010.
  27. ^ Telecasting Yearbook-Marketbook 1955-56 (PDF). 1955. p. 234. Retrieved December 11, 2010.[permanent dead link]
  28. ^ Broadcasting Yearbook 1961-62 (PDF). 1961. p. B-148. Retrieved December 11, 2010.[permanent dead link]
  29. ^ Broadcasting/Cablecasting Yearbook 1985 (PDF). 1985. p. B-278. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 8, 2010. Retrieved December 11, 2010.
  30. ^ Fybush, Scott (April 3, 1997). "Snow, Snow, and More Snow". North East RadioWatch. Retrieved December 11, 2010.
  31. ^ Fybush, Scott (March 17, 2008). "Signal Shuffle in Rhode Island". NorthEast Radio Watch. Retrieved December 11, 2010.
  32. ^ "Cumulus now owns Citadel Broadcasting". Atlanta Business Journal. September 16, 2011. Retrieved September 16, 2011.