WHIM (defunct)

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WHIM
City of license East Providence, Rhode Island
Broadcast area Providence metro
Branding WHIM Country
Slogan "#1 for Country since 1966!"
Frequency 1110 kHz
First air date April 15, 1947
Format Country (1966–91, 1992–1995, then moved to 1450kc.)
Power 1110: 1 kW originally, later 5 kW-daytime, 250 watts-night.
1450: 1kW fulltime.
Class 1110: D
1450: C
Former callsigns WWRX (1991–92), now WPMZ
Former frequencies 550 kHz (the format moved here from 1991–1992 but the call stayed legally WICE)
1450 kHz (1995–1997)
Affiliations ABC Radio
CBS Radio Network
CNN Radio
Sister stations WHIM-FM 94.1

WHIM (1110 AM, "WHIM Country") was a radio station licensed to serve the community of East Providence, Rhode Island, USA.

History[edit]

While the callsign WHIM is now on a religious station in Coral Gables, Florida, residents of Southern New England remember another WHIM, a country music station. WHIM was first heard on April 15, 1947 when the new daytimer signed on for the first time on 1110 AM. From 1958–1966, WHIM was a top 40 station competing with WPRO (630 AM) and WICE (1290 AM). The station's owners also operated WHIM-FM (99.9 FM) licensed to Cranston, Rhode Island (this according to issues of the Providence Journal Almanac from 1947–1960), which later became WLOV and went dark. A new WHIM-FM emerged on 94.1 FM.

In 1966, WHIM began broadcasting the format it would keep in one form or another for 31 years: country music. WHIM competed against fellow daytimers WRIB (1220 AM) in Providence and WYNG (1590 AM) in Warwick for Rhode Island's country music audience. Eventually WRIB and WYNG changed formats to religious programming (1220 is now WSTL, and 1590 is now WARV) and WHIM-AM-FM became "The Country Giant."

As time progressed, the FM would change callsigns (to WHJY) and format and become easy listening "Joy 94." (In October 1981, WHJY would change formats again to album-oriented rock.) In 1980, WHIM/WHJY's owners purchased WJAR (920 AM) in Providence from Outlet Communications and renamed it WHJJ. Due to FCC regulations limiting the number of stations that could be owned by an entity in one market, WHIM was sold to East Providence Broadcasting. Some station personalities, such as Sherm Strickhouser and Ron St. Pierre, would stay with the previous ownership and work for the new WHJJ, while others, like Jim O'Brien, would continue on WHIM. Although WGNG (550 AM, now WSJW) would briefly experiment with the format at one point in the early 1980s, from 1981–1988 WHIM didn't face much competition (a daytimer in Hope Valley, Rhode Island, WJJF at 1180 AM, came on in 1985, but its signal provided minimal coverage of Providence). In January 1986, based on authorization given to its attorneys from the FCC, WHIM began broadcasting at night with 250 watts of power.

On July 28, 1989, New Bedford, Massachusetts-based WMYS (98.1 FM) switched formats from adult contemporary. The newly-renamed WCTK, armed with 50,000 watts of FM stereo, stole many country fans from WHIM. The first sign of real trouble came in 1991 when the then-owner Urso Broadcasting changed WHIM to WWRX "1110 CNN," rebroadcasting the audio of CNN Headline News. The WHIM intellectual property moved to 550 AM (by then WICE), while the callsign was warehoused on 105.3 FM in Kittery, Maine.[1][2] A year later, the "1110 CNN" format was dropped and the WHIM call sign and country music format returned to 1110 AM. The next blow came September 1, 1995 when the 1110 kHz frequency began broadcasting its present Spanish-language format "Poder 1110," eventually changing its call letters to WPMZ. The WHIM intellectual property and callsign moved to the former WKRI (1450 AM) where it continued until December 19, 1997, when WHIM, unable to compete on a 1-kilowatt graveyard frequency, gave way to Radio Disney. Early in 1998, the callsign was changed to WHRC, and a religious station in Apopka, Florida picked up the WHIM call sign to mean "W-HIM" (HIM meaning Jesus Christ). The record library was sold off, Radio Disney moved to 550 AM (as WDDZ), and WCTK's owner, Hall Communications, eventually purchased the 1450 frequency and renamed it first WWRI, then WLKW.

In its 50-year run, WHIM was the home to many outstanding talents including Dan Williams, Charlie Huddle, Jeff Davis, Bill Friday, Jack Shannon and others. The crown jewel was The Hayloft Jamboree which even had a show on NBC at one point. After WHIM, the show aired on WJJF. Eddie Zack died on January 9, 2002 and Cousin Richie died in 2005. WJJF became all-news WCNX, itself affiliated CNN Headline News, in 2004 (that station now broadcasts an oldies format as WSKP), leaving Rhode Island with no country music station (WCTK, although serving the Providence market, remains licensed to New Bedford, Massachusetts; the format can also be received in the state through WCTY, 97.7 FM, from Norwich, Connecticut and WKLB-FM, 102.5 FM, from Waltham, Massachusetts).

WHIM's successor on 1110 AM, WPMZ, initially operated using WHIM's night authorization of 250 watts. However, the authorization did not carry over to WPMZ, a point that would become clear in the next few years. Facing legal challenges from Carter Broadcasting, owner of fellow Spanish-language station WRIB, as well as Jefferson-Pilot Communications, owner of WBT in Charlotte, North Carolina (a clear-channel station on the 1110 frequency), WPMZ fought for night authorization but could never receive it.[3] It did, however, receive an FCC fine for unauthorized nighttime operation. As of August 2013, copies of the letter authorizing WHIM's night power are in the hands of former WHIM president Bob Harrison and station general manager Richard Muserlian.

Association with WRIW-LP[edit]

Three former WHIM D.J.s hosted talk shows on low-power T.V. station WRIW-LP (channel 23) in 1998:[4] Danny Williams, Charlie Huddle, and Jeff Davis. At the time WRIW-LP was affiliated with the America One network (the station is now a Telemundo affiliate).

References[edit]

  • 1992 Broadcasting Yearbook, page A-306
  • 440 International

External links[edit]