WPRO (AM)

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WPRO
WPRO logo
City of license Providence, Rhode Island
Broadcast area Providence metropolitan area
Branding News/Talk 630 WPRO and 99.7 FM
Slogan Rhode Island's Station of Record
Frequency 630 kHz
First air date June 15, 1924 (WKBF)
December 1925 (WLSI)
October 16, 1931 (as WPRO)
Format News/talk
Power 5,000 watts
Class B
Facility ID 64843
Transmitter coordinates 41°46′28.00″N 71°19′23.00″W / 41.7744444°N 71.3230556°W / 41.7744444; -71.3230556 (WPRO)
Callsign meaning PROvidence
Former callsigns WKBF (1924-1925)
WDWF (1925-1931)
WLSI (1925-1931, shared with WDWF)
WPAW (1932-1933; in tandem with WPRO)
Affiliations ABC News Radio
Owner Cumulus Media
(Radio License Holding CBC, LLC)
Sister stations WEAN-FM, WPRO-FM, WPRV, WWKX, WWLI
Webcast Listen Live
Website 630wpro.com

WPRO (630 AM) is a radio station located in Providence, Rhode Island. The station is owned by Cumulus Media, and airs a talk format. WPRO's studio and transmitter (along with the studios for Cumulus' other Providence stations) are located in East Providence, at the Salty Brine Broadcast Center, named after WPRO's longtime morning host. WPRO programming is also heard on WEAN-FM (99.7 FM).

History[edit]

The earliest ancestor to WPRO, WKBF, began broadcasting from Cranston, Rhode Island on June 15, 1924,[1] owned by Dutee W. Flint and operating at 1050 kHz;[2] in January 1925, the call letters were changed to WDWF, reflecting the owner's initials, and the station moved to 680 kHz.[3] That December, Lincoln Studios began to share ownership of the station with Flint; Lincoln broadcast its programming under the call sign WLSI.[4] WDWF and WLSI moved to 800 kHz by June 30, 1927,[5] to 1090 kHz in October,[6] to 1150 kHz in November,[7] and to 1210 kHz in February 1928.[8] By 1930, the studios for WDWF and WLSI were located in Providence.[9]

Providence department store Cherry & Webb acquired the station in September 1931, and merged the two stations under a single license with the call letters WPRO.[10] The merged station formally relaunched on October 16.[11] 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).[12] The following February, Cherry & Webb purchased another station at 1210 kHz, WPAW in nearby Pawtucket,[13] which had been granted a license in August 1926 as WFCI, owned by Frank Cook Inc.[1] and operating at 1160 kHz,[14] moved to 1330 by June 30, 1927,[5] to 1240 that August,[15] and to 1210 in November 1928, concurrent with the change to WPAW.[16] Following the acquisition, the station used WPAW in tandem with WPRO until 1933.[17][18] The station moved to its current frequency, 630 kHz, in 1934.[19] WPRO was an affiliate of the short-lived American Broadcasting System in 1935;[20] in 1937, the station joined the CBS Radio Network, replacing charter affiliate WEAN.[21]

Although WPRO's city of license was changed from Cranston to Providence soon after Cherry & Webb took over,[13] the station's transmitter remained in Cranston[17] until its destruction in the 1938 New England hurricane;[22] it then constructed a new transmission facility in East Providence.[23] FM service was added in April 1949 with the debut of WPRO-FM (92.3 MHz),[11] and a television sister station, WPRO-TV (channel 12), went on the air March 27, 1955.[24]

Cherry & Webb exited broadcasting in April 1959, selling the WPRO stations to Capital Cities Television Corporation, which eventually became Capital Cities Communications.[11] Soon afterward, WPRO ended its CBS Radio affiliation[25] and became Providence's top-rated top 40 station, competing against WICE (now WRNI) and, later, WGNG (now WSJW).[26] 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.[23] 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.[26] During the 1980s, the station again began to shift its format by gradually adding talk shows to its schedule;[26] it also became an affiliate of ABC Radio by 1984,[27] 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.[26]

Capital Cities/ABC sold WPRO to Tele-Media in 1993;[26] this put the station under common ownership with WLKW (the former WEAN) and WWLI. Tele-Media, in turn, sold its stations to Citadel Broadcasting in 1997.[28] WPRO added its simulcast on WEAN-FM on March 11, 2008.[29] Citadel merged with Cumulus Media on September 16, 2011.[30]

Programming[edit]

Much of WPRO's weekday lineup is locally-produced, programming includes News Director Bill Haberman with "The WPRO First News", Gene Valicenti and "The WPRO Morning News", John DePetro late mornings, Dan Yorke afternoons, former Providence mayor Buddy Cianci afternoon drive, and Matt Allen evenings. The addition of Cianci's program on September 20, 2007 came after a bidding war with WHJJ. Syndicated programming includes John Batcehlor and Red Eye Radio.

Weekend programming includes live and local shows... Steve Klamkin and "The WPRO Saturday Morning News", former State Representative and Congressional Candidate John Loughlin with The John Loughlin Show, and veteran broadcast journalist Tara Granahan with The Tara Granahan Show. As well as syndicated shows such as The Mutual Fund Show with Adam Bold, Leo Laporte: The Tech Guy, Dr. Dean Edell, Meet the Press, and Bill Cunningham, .

WPRO is an affiliate of the New England Patriots Radio Network. It also carried Boston Red Sox baseball from 1986[26] to 2005; in 2006, the affiliation moved to WEEI-FM (now WVEI-FM).[31]

Substitutes[edit]

Frequent fill-ins on WPRO include former WLNE-TV investigative reporter Jim Hummel, State Representative Joe Trillo, former State Representative and one-time Congressional Candidate John Loughlin, Former State Representative Jon Brien, Ken Pittman, and longtime fill-in Freddie Mertz.

Former on-air staff[edit]

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.[26] Other former WPRO voices include Jimmy Gray, Holland Cooke, Gary Berkowitz, Larry Kruger, Ed Cherubino, Joe Thomas, Gary DeGraide, Davy Jones, Andy "Big Ange" Jackson, Charlie Jefferds, Jack Casey and Brother Bill Goodman. New York media personalities who previously worked at WPRO include WABC host Mark Simone, WCBS-TV correspondent Magee Hickey, CBS staff announcer Hal Simms, and WCBS-FM personality Dave Stewart (as David Spencer on WPRO).

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "A Chronology of AM Radio Broadcasting 1900-1960". History of American Broadcasting. Retrieved December 5, 2010. 
  2. ^ "U. S. Radio Stations as of June 30, 1924". History of American Broadcasting. Retrieved December 5, 2010. 
  3. ^ "Radio Service Bulletin". United States Department of Commerce Bureau of Navigation. February 1, 1925. p. 9. Retrieved December 5, 2010. 
  4. ^ "Radio Service Bulletin". United States Department of Commerce Bureau of Navigation. December 31, 1925. p. 6. Retrieved December 5, 2010. 
  5. ^ a b "U. S. Radio Stations as of June 30, 1927". History of American Broadcasting. Retrieved December 6, 2010. 
  6. ^ "Radio Service Bulletin". United States Department of Commerce Radio Division. October 31, 1927. p. 9. Retrieved December 6, 2010. 
  7. ^ "Radio Service Bulletin". United States Department of Commerce Radio Division. November 30, 1927. pp. 8–9. Retrieved December 6, 2010. 
  8. ^ "Radio Service Bulletin" (PDF). United States Department of Commerce Radio Division. February 29, 1928. p. 6. Retrieved December 6, 2010. 
  9. ^ "U. S. Radio Stations as of June 30, 1930". History of American Broadcasting. Retrieved December 7, 2010. 
  10. ^ "Radio Service Bulletin" (PDF). U. S. Department of Commerce Radio Division. September 30, 1931. p. 11. Retrieved December 7, 2010. 
  11. ^ a b c Broadcasting & Cable Market Place (PDF). 1992. p. A-306. Retrieved December 7, 2010. 
  12. ^ Colletto, John. "Our Rhode Island Radio Heritage". Rhode Island Hall of Fame. Retrieved December 7, 2010. 
  13. ^ a b "Radio Service Bulletin" (PDF). U. S. Department of Commerce Radio Division. February 29, 1932. p. 24. Retrieved December 7, 2010. 
  14. ^ "Radio Service Bulletin". United States Department of Commerce Bureau of Navigation. December 31, 1926. p. 16. Retrieved December 8, 2010. 
  15. ^ "Radio Service Bulletin". United States Department of Commerce Radio Division. August 31, 1927. p. 6. Retrieved December 8, 2010. 
  16. ^ "Radio Service Bulletin" (PDF). United States Department of Commerce Radio Division. November 30, 1928. p. 10. Retrieved December 8, 2010. 
  17. ^ a b Pierre-Key's Radio Annual. 1933. Retrieved December 8, 2010. 
  18. ^ Butler, Fred Clayton, ed. (September 1933). Radex (Cleveland, Ohio: The Radex Press): 54 http://www.davidgleason.com/Archive%20Radex/Radex%2071%2033%2009.pdf |url= missing title (help). Retrieved December 8, 2010. 
  19. ^ Butler, Fred Clayton, ed. (September 1934). Radex (Cleveland, Ohio: The Radex Press) http://www.davidgleason.com/Archive%20Radex/Radex%2081%2034%2009.pdf |url= missing title (help). Retrieved December 9, 2010. 
  20. ^ Butler, Fred Clayton, ed. (February 1935). Radex (Cleveland, Ohio: The Radex Press): 64 http://www.davidgleason.com/Archive%20Radex/Radex%2086%2035%2002.pdf |url= missing title (help). Retrieved December 9, 2010. 
  21. ^ Page, Taylor, ed. (May 1937). Radex (Cleveland, Ohio: The Radex Press): 72 http://www.davidgleason.com/Archive%20Radex/Radex%20109%2037%2005.pdf |url= missing title (help). Retrieved December 10, 2010. 
  22. ^ Scotti, R.A. (2003). Sudden Sea: The Great Hurricane of 1938. ISBN 0-316-73911-1. Retrieved December 10, 2010. 
  23. ^ a b Fybush, Scott (August 7, 2009). "WPRO and its sisters, Providence, RI". Tower Site of the Week. fybush.com. Retrieved December 10, 2010. 
  24. ^ Telecasting Yearbook-Marketbook 1955-56 (PDF). 1955. p. 234. Retrieved December 11, 2010. 
  25. ^ Broadcasting Yearbook 1961-62 (PDF). 1961. p. B-148. Retrieved December 11, 2010. 
  26. ^ a b c d e f g Ricitelli, Dino. "A History of 630 WPRO". 630WPRO.com. Retrieved December 11, 2010. 
  27. ^ Broadcasting/Cablecasting Yearbook 1985 (PDF). 1985. p. B-278. Retrieved December 11, 2010. 
  28. ^ Fybush, Scott (April 3, 1997). "Snow, Snow, and More Snow". North East RadioWatch. Retrieved December 11, 2010. 
  29. ^ Fybush, Scott (March 17, 2008). "Signal Shuffle in Rhode Island". NorthEast Radio Watch. Retrieved December 11, 2010. 
  30. ^ "Cumulus now owns Citadel Broadcasting". Atlanta Business Journal. September 16, 2011. Retrieved September 16, 2011. 
  31. ^ Fybush, Scott (May 16, 2005). "Preston & Steve Back on Philly Airwaves". NorthEast Radio Watch. Retrieved December 12, 2010. 

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