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City Providence, Rhode Island
Branding Rhode Island Public Radio
Slogan Are You Listening?
Frequency 88.1 MHz
First air date January 17th 1995
Format Public radio
ERP 4,000 watts
HAAT 41 meters
Class A
Facility ID 66656
Callsign meaning WhEeLer ScHool
Former callsigns WUFG (7/30/1992-6/1/1993)[1]
Affiliations Rhode Island Public Radio
Owner The Wheeler School
(programmed by Rhode Island Public Radio
Webcast Listen Live
Website www.ripr.org

WELH (88.1 FM) is a radio station owned by The Wheeler School of Providence, Rhode Island. Originally signing on in January 1995 with a pop alternative format and a line up of student DJs, WWKX veterans including Kickin Al Snape, a young Robby Bridges and others as "WELH: Taking Music to New Heights". In 1996 the station moved to a modern rock format programmed by student DJs as "Extreme 88", and later jazz and oldies, eventually offering programming from various groups (including Brown University, Rhode Island College, the Wheeler School itself, and community groups). Since October 8, 2011, WELH has broadcast programming from Rhode Island Public Radio.[2] Its main studio is located on school grounds, at 216 Hope St. in Providence; however, as the flagship station of Rhode Island Public Radio, virtually all programming originates at the network's studios at Union Station in downtown Providence.

Former programming[edit]

Brown Student and Community Radio[edit]

Brown Student and Community Radio (BSR) is a freeform, student- and community-radio station in Providence, Rhode Island which had broadcast on WELH and streaming on http://www.bsrlive.com. It grew out of "WBRU-AM" (a carrier current station on the Brown University campus) in 1997 as a noncommercial and educational alternative to WBRU's primary commercially operated station for students at Brown University, and in 2003 it became a joint student-community radio station. In 2008, mtvU nominated BSR as one of the top radio stations in the country. BSR's involvement with WELH was discontinued on July 31, 2011 as part of its transition to being the flagship of Rhode Island Public Radio; its programming continues as an Internet radio station.[3][4]

Rhode Island College Radio[edit]

Rhode Island College Radio, "WXIN" was an original partner of WELH, formerly sending a signal from the college's studios to WELH on weekday nights and weekends. Much of WELH's broadcast studio was purchased by "WXIN" as part of a mutual broadcast agreement. Only veteran "WXIN" DJs were permitted to have a show on WELH. The agreement began shortly after WELH beat "WXIN" in the acquisition of a broadcast license (both had applied for the license from the FCC to broadcast on 88.1 in the late 1980s). In the late 1990s, "WXIN" members shared airtime with WELH on Tuesday, Thursday, and Sundays, and by the early 2000s "WXIN" only broadcast on the weekends (and occasionally weekdays during the summer).

Over time, Brown University's student radio bought out WXIN's airtime, limiting Rhode Island College's use of the station to Sundays. By 2007, Brown bought the remainder of the airtime, effectively removing WXIN's involvement from WELH. This air time was later filled by a Latino block until Noon and an Italian block from Noon-9 p.m.

Latino Public Radio[edit]

WELH was the original home for Latino Public Radio, a Spanish-language public radio service, airing its programming from 3 a.m.–3 p.m. on weekdays and from 3 a.m.–noon on weekends. When the station became the flagship station of Rhode Island Public Radio, LPR's programming moved to a 24-hour clearance on WRNI (1290 AM), RIPR's original Providence station; this move allowed LPR to qualify for Corporation for Public Broadcasting funding.[2]

Power increase[edit]

In early 2009, WLNE-TV (channel 6) permanently moved to UHF channel 49 for digital broadcasts. The move has removed a roadblock for increasing the power of WELH on the 88.1 frequency. According to the FCC database, WELH has applied for and received a construction permit to upgrade their transmitting facilities from 150 watts to 4,000 watts. The upgraded power and antenna will double the current coverage area and improve reception in metropolitan Providence.


  1. ^ Callsign history for WELH.
  2. ^ a b Ziner, Karen Lee (October 7, 2011). "R.I. Latino radio station going 24/7 in new place". The Providence Journal. Retrieved October 10, 2011. 
  3. ^ "Brown student radio loses FM home". Providence Business News. July 27, 2011. Retrieved October 10, 2011. 
  4. ^ Harrison, Elisabeth (October 10, 2011). "Changes ahead for radio in Rhode Island". WRNI.org. Retrieved October 10, 2011. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 41°51′29″N 71°19′05″W / 41.858°N 71.318°W / 41.858; -71.318