|Broadcast area||Bridgeport, Connecticut|
|Slogan||"Connecticut's Best Music Variety!"|
|Frequency||107.9 MHz (also on HD Radio)|
|First air date||September 1, 1962 (as WMMM-FM)|
|Callsign meaning||Wee Bee !|
|Former callsigns||WMMM-FM (1962-1970)
(Cumulus Licensing LLC)
WEBE (107.9 FM, advertised on air as "WEBE108"), owned by Cumulus Media, is an Adult Contemporary-formatted station. Located on 107.9 FM, the station is licensed to serve the community of Westport, Connecticut. The station is usually ranked number one in the Stamford-Norwalk, Bridgeport and Fairfield County ratings, and is in the top 5 of the New Haven market rating. One of the main elements behind the station's success is its traffic coverage reports that cover the entire route from interior Connecticut to lower Fairfield County. WEBE is one of the most powerful radio stations in Southern Connecticut with an effective radiated power of 50,000 watts, reaching most of Westchester County, New York into the Bronx, parts of Manhattan, most of Long Island, as well as southern parts of the Hartford area. Its studios and antenna, along with the studios of sister station WICC, are located in Bridgeport, Connecticut.
This section has multiple issues. Please help improve it or discuss these issues on the talk page. (Learn how and when to remove these template messages)(Learn how and when to remove this template message)
- The frequency of 107.9 MHz was originally assigned by the Federal Communications Commission to Westport, Connecticut under its Table of Allocations, and in 1962 the signal which was later to become WEBE signed on the air as WMMM-FM.
- From 1970 through 1984 the station, then known as WDJF, was owned by Donald J. Flamm and affiliated with Westport radio station WMMM (1260 AM, now WSHU). The stations broadcast out of offices and studios located above a deli at 163 Main Street in Westport, Connecticut. The broadcasting antenna for 107.9 was located in a residential zone in Wilton, Connecticut to the chagrin of neighbors, and the height of the antenna was only 135 feet, so the broadcasting radius of the station was quite small.
- In 1984 N.Y. City entrepreneur Franz Allina, who also owned WBAB and WGBB, purchased WDJF for $2 million and hired Vincent Cremona, General Manager of Bridgeport station WICC to run it for him. Another co founder was Curtis Hansen son of Neal Cassady.
- A call letter change was needed, so various lists of unused call letters were studied by station management, yet none seemed to work, that is until Cremona's 14-year-old son, Vinny, found "WEBE" on the list, and ran around saying "Wee Bee Wee Bee Wee Bee". Based on this example of powerful appeal and figuring these to be memorable call letters, the call sign WEBE was applied for to the FCC and granted in February 1984. "WEBE108 FM" signed on the air at midnight on March 1, 1984. Curtis W. Hansen, former Program Director of WAVZ and WKCI in New Haven, Connecticut was hired to program the new station.
- WEBE moved to 50 Washington Street 10th floor in Norwalk, Connecticut and in the fall of 1984 moved to 50 Washington Street 11th floor in Norwalk, Connecticut. The station's target was female baby boomers, the idea being to latch on to the 'baby boom' generation, the population bulge, supersatisfy them, and grow older as they did. The station 1st slogan was "Hits Of A Whole Generation", playing the most popular hits from 1963 (the Beatles invasion) to the present day.
- In 1985, after months of hard work and technical exploration by owner Franz Allina and consulting engineers, WEBE moved its transmitting antenna to the top of the United Illuminating red and white smokestack in Bridgeport harbor, putting out a full 50,000 watts from a height of 386 feet above average terrain.
- In 1987 the station was sold to ML Media Partners, led by N.Y. City television executive Marty Pompadur and partners, for the sum of $11 million.
- In 1989 ML Media partners also purchased WICC in Bridgeport, Connecticut for $6 million.
- In 1990 Cremona moved both WEBE and WICC together under one roof at 350 Fairfield Avenue (2 Lafayette Square) in Bridgeport, Connecticut.
- In 1999 the stations were sold for $66 million to New Canaan radio operator Frank Osborn and partners (including Cremona), who in turn sold the stations, along with additionally acquired clusters in Danbury, Connecticut, Westchester, New York, and Poughkeepsie, New York to Cumulus Media in 2002 for just under $300 million in cash and stock. Under Market Manager Ann McManus, the stations continue to be popular and profitable.
Cumulus Broadcasting began upgrading its stations to HD Radio broadcasting in 2005. One of the first ten stations to be upgraded was WEBE.
- DeFelice, Bill (1997-12-15). "Birth of WMMM-FM". History of Westport Connecticut Radio.
- Harnett, Mary Beth (2006-04-24). "Harris Corporation Announces Multi-Deal Agreement as Exclusive HD Radio(TM) Supplier to Cumulus Broadcasting". EE Times.