|Broadcast area||Montachusett-North County|
|First air date||December 23, 1946|
|Former callsigns||WHOB (1946–1953)|
|Affiliations||ABC News Radio
The station signed on December 23, 1946 as WHOB. It debuted at 1490 kHz on the AM dial, and the call letters referred to one of the station's founders, District Attorney Owen A. Hoban. WHOB was originally owned by David M. Richman, a Connecticut businessman; studios were in the Colonial Hotel in Gardner. The station's format was a variety of local news, music, and sports. One of the early stars on WHOB was a local country (then called "hillbilly") music performer named Doc Snow (real name: Edgar Arsenault). He performed live with his band, the Bar X Cowboys, and later became one of the station's announcers.
The station was sold to Emilien R. Robillard, a pharmacist, in 1954; the call letters were changed to WGAW (Gardner, Athol, Winchendon) on October 14, 1953. Subsequently, in 1957, the station was sold again, to Charles and James Asher, who also owned WJDA in Quincy. In 1959, new owners again took over, with Judge C. Edward Rowe purchasing the station.
By the early 1990s, WGAW was experiencing financial problems, as much of the AM audience had moved over to FM. The station was being run by Judge Rowe's son Douglas, who also owned WSRO, a station in Marlboro, Massachusetts. To save money, WGAW was no longer doing local broadcasting. Rather, it was simulcasting the programming of WSRO. Subsequent owners of WGAW have included Anastos Media Group of Malta, New York (an ownership group headed by New York City television news anchor Ernie Anastos), and Northeast Broadcasting of Bedford, New Hampshire.
- Halper, Donna; Wollman, Garrett. "The Eastern Massachusetts Radio Timeline: the 1940s". The Archives @ BostonRadio.org. Retrieved October 28, 2012.
- "Gardner's First Radio Station, WHOB, In Operation." Gardner (MA) News, December 24, 1946, p. 1.
- "Gardner Hotel Sold." Springfield Union, September 13, 1950, p. 7.
- Mike Richard. "The Golden Age of Gardner Radio." Gardner News, October 23, 2003, n.p.
- "Ownership Changes," Broadcasting Magazine, April 26, 1954,p. 104.
- Halper, Donna; Wollman, Garrett. "The Eastern Massachusetts Radio Timeline: the 1950s". The Archives @ BostonRadio.org. Retrieved October 28, 2012.
- "Gardner Radio Station Sold." Boston Herald, January 11, 1957, n.p.
- "Rowe Succeeds Asher." Springfield (MA) Union, November 2, 1959, p. 9.
- Mike Effland. "Gardner's WGAW Hopes for New Juice With Boost From WEIM." Worcester Telegram and Gazette, April 6, 1997, p. B1.
- Official website
- Query the FCC's AM station database for WGAW
- Radio-Locator Information on WGAW
- Query Nielsen Audio's AM station database for WGAW
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