WSMR (FM)

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WSMR
Wsmr2010.jpg
City of license Sarasota, Florida
Broadcast area Sarasota, Florida
Frequency 89.1 MHz
Repeaters W280DW 103.9 MHz, Brandon
89.7-2 WUSF-HD2 (Tampa)
First air date May 1991 (initial license)
Format Classical music
ERP 54,000 watts
HAAT 135 meters
Class C1
Facility ID 64255
Transmitter coordinates 27°6′1.00″N 82°22′18.00″W / 27.1002778°N 82.3716667°W / 27.1002778; -82.3716667
Former callsigns WAYG (1991-1996)
Owner University of South Florida
(University of South Florida Board of Trustees)
Sister stations WUSF
Webcast Listen Live
Website WSMR Online

WSMR (89.1 FM) is a radio station licensed to Sarasota, Florida, USA. It is currently owned by the University of South Florida and programs a classical music format. WSMR broadcasts from ma transmitter located near the intersection of US 41 and SR 681 in Laurel. Its programming is repeated on W280DW 103.9 FM in Brandon, which serves listeners in Pasco and northern Hillsborough counties. This translator is on the USF main campus in Tampa. Programming also covers the entire Tampa Bay market on WUSF-HD2

The station was initially licensed in 1991 by Northwestern College of Roseville, Minnesota as WAYG; in 1996, it would adopt its current calls, WSMR. During most of its existence under Northwestern College, the station carried a Christian Adult Contemporary format, with the moniker "Life 89.1".

On July 30, 2010, Northwestern College announced that the station would cease broadcasting on August 4 at 5PM.[1] Northwestern College held a STA to dismantle its current tower and broadcast on another station's auxiliary tower at a lower wattage.[2] A loss of donations from listeners and businesses during the recession has led Northwestern College to close WSMR, even though the STA filed with the FCC said that the station would continue broadcasting.

On the day of WSMR's closure, the University of South Florida announced its intention to acquire WSMR, with plans to change that station's format to classical music, while reimaging Tampa's WUSF FM as a station carrying National Public Radio-based talk programming by day and jazz at night. USF has moved the station slightly closer to the Tampa Bay area; WSMR's reception area is focused on the Sarasota-Bradenton area; however, the station's programming will be available online and on WUSF-HD2. WUSF's main frequency began broadcasting an NPR News and talk schedule on September 15, 2010;[3] however, WSMR failed to launch on that date as previously announced. Various explanations were offered by WUSF, including delays due to FCC approval, and an undefined technical issue relating to another frequency assigned to "first responders" at the same tower site.[4]

The station's sale to USF also included W280DW, to carry WSMR's new classical signal.[5]

Two weeks after the failed launch of classical replacement WSMR, station management came under public scrutiny [6] for neglecting to perform due diligence regarding the purchase of the WSMR transmitter. According to a Bradenton Herald article:

Arthur Doak, an engineer for the FCC, said there was no record of WUSF or Northwestern College conducting an inspection on the tower but said stations are entitled to a review of tower sites.
“If the buyer wanted it done to protect themselves, certainly they could,” Doak said. “That’s between the buyer and the seller.”

On October 25, 2010, WSMR resumed broadcasting, but temporarily at 5000 watts on a Sarasota-area tower rented from Clear Channel Communications; it would be several weeks until full-power service resumed.[7][8]

WSMR's main studios will remain in Sarasota—its construction has been completed in early 2011. The studio will be used for broadcasting, as well as live and recorded local performances.[9]

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