||This article may require cleanup to meet Wikipedia's quality standards. (September 2007)|
|City of license||East Providence, Rhode Island|
|Broadcast area||Providence metro|
|Slogan||"#1 for Country since 1966!"|
|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, CBS, CNN|
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 1110kc/s.. From 1958–1966, WHIM was a Top-40 station competing with WPRO/630 and WICE/1290. It also had a sister FM: WHIM-FM on 99.9Mc. (Channel 260) licensed to Cranston, Rhode Island (this according to issues of the Providence Journal Almanac from 1947–1960). The FM later became WLOV and went dark. A new WHIM-FM emerged on 94.1 MHz (Channel 231).
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 Providence and WYNG/1590 Warwick for Rhode Island's country music audience. Eventually WRIB and WYNG changed formats to religious programming (the former is now Shine 1220 WSTL, the latter changed to 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/Providence (later WHJJ) from Outlet Communications. Due to FCC regulations limiting the number of stations that could be owned by an entity in one market, WHIM was subsequently sold to East Providence Broadcasting. Some station personalities, such as Sherm Strickhouser and Ron St. Pierre, would stay and work for the new station, while others, like Jim O'Brien, would continue on WHIM. Although WGNG/550 Pawtucket, Rhode Island 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/1180 came on in 1985 but its signal didn't penetrate Providence well enough.). 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 rimshotter WCTK/98.1 (formerly WMYS) switched formats from adult contemporary. The now-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's Headline News Channel. The WHIM intellectual property moved to WICE/550. The callsign was warehoused on a Maine radio station. A year later, 1110 CNN was history and WHIM came home. The next blow came September 1, 1995 when the 1110 kHz frequency was taken over by a Spanish broadcaster known as "Poder 1110." The WHIM intellectual property and callsign moved to the former WKRI/1450-West Warwick where it limped along until December 19, 1997 when WHIM, unable to compete on a 1kW graveyard frequency succumbed to Radio Disney. Early in 1998, the callsign was changed and a religious station in Apopka, Florida picked it up to mean "W-HIM" (HIM meaning Jesus Christ). The record library was sold off, Radio Disney moved to the former WICE/550 and to add insult to injury, the owners of WCTK picked up WHIM's last home: 1450 kHz.
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 1180/WJJF-Hope Valley, R.I. a daytimer which aired country from 1985–2004. Eddie Zack died on January 9, 2002 & Cousin Richie died in 2005. WJJF became all-news WCNX (ironically airing CNN Headline News) and Rhode Island has no country music station (WCTK is licensed to New Bedford, Mass. and WCTY/97.7 (Channel 249) is licensed to Norwich, Connecticut).
In a final bit of irony, WHIM's ghost has left surprises. WPMZ/1110-East Providence which took over WHIM's first frequency, operated with WHIM's night authorization of 250 watts. The thing was: only WHIM/1110 was allowed 250 watts at night, not WPMZ/1110. So long as the callsign WHIM was on 1110, night authorization was legal. When 1110 changed to WPMZ, it unknowingly lost that authorization, a point that would come painfully clear in the next few years. Facing legal challenges from Carter Broadcasting, owner of Spanish competitor WRIB/1220 Providence, as well as Jefferson-Pilot Communications, owner of clear-channel WBT/1110 Charlotte, North Carolina, WPMZ fought for night authorization but could never receive it. It did, however, receive an FCC fine for operating when they weren't supposed to be (nighttime). The letter authorizing WHIM/1110's night power did exist in 1997, but its current whereabouts (as of August 2013) are in the hands of former WHIM president Bob Harrison and station gm Richard Muserlian. Both have copies of this authorization.
Three former WHIM D.J.s hosted talk shows on low-power T.V. station WRIW-LP in 1998: Danny Williams, Charlie Huddle, and Jeff Davis. At the time WRIW-LP was affiliated with the America One network.
- 1992 Broadcasting Yearbook, page A-306
- 440 International