From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
WNBH Big 101.3 logo.png
CityNew Bedford, Massachusetts
Broadcast areaSouth Coast
Frequency1340 kHz
Branding"Big 101.3"
FormatClassic hits
OwnerHall Communications, Inc.
First air date
1924 (as WBBG)
Former call signs
WBBG (1924–1925)
Call sign meaning
Welcome to the New Bedford Hotel (former studio location)
Technical information
Facility ID25866
Power1,000 watts (unlimited)
Transmitter coordinates
41°38′29″N 70°57′34″W / 41.64139°N 70.95944°W / 41.64139; -70.95944Coordinates: 41°38′29″N 70°57′34″W / 41.64139°N 70.95944°W / 41.64139; -70.95944
Translator(s)101.3 W267CY (New Bedford)
Repeater(s)98.1 WCTK-HD2 (New Bedford)
WebcastListen live

WNBH (1340 AM) is a New Bedford, Massachusetts radio station, owned by Hall Communications and currently broadcasting a classic hits format. The station's branding refers to its FM translator station, W267CY.[1] The station is also carried on the HD2 sub-channel of sister station WCTK.[2]

Federal Communications Commission (FCC) records list WNBH's first license date as January 9, 1924.[3] However, the station has generally traced its founding to May 1921, when one of WNBH's original owners, Irving Vermilya, began making broadcasts over an amateur radio station.


The longest-running program on WNBH is The Happy Bible Hour, presented by "People's Christian Church" of New Bedford. It began in the fall of 1927 with the Rev. Russell W. Baldwin. Pastor Baldwin hosted the program until his death in 1978. The Rev. Ellsworth B. McAfee continued the program until his death in 2008. Since that time, Pastor Ardyth Bednarz has hosted the program, which has also been broadcast on New Bedford station WBSM (1420 AM). It is also believed to be one of the longest-running religious radio programs in the United States.[4][5]

WNBH broadcasts local high school football and boys basketball games for New Bedford High School, Greater New Bedford Regional Vocational-Technical High School, Fairhaven High School, Dartmouth High School, Bishop Stang High School and Old Rochester Regional High School. The station also broadcasts girls basketball state tournament games for these schools. Operations manager Ed Perreira and Mark Enwright announce the games. Perreira also hosts the public affairs program Up Front on Sunday mornings.[6]


Call sign Frequency
City of license Facility
Class Transmitter coordinates FCC info
W267CY 101.3 New Bedford, Massachusetts 202740 250 D 41°37′20″N 70°55′9″W / 41.62222°N 70.91917°W / 41.62222; -70.91917 (W267CY) FCC



WNBH's founder was Irving Vermilya, a Marconi company employee who called himself "Amateur Number One" and was one of the earliest and best known amateur radio operators. Following World War One, he was issued a standard amateur radio license for a station located at his home at 24 Allen Street in Marion, Massachusetts, with the call sign 1HAA.[7] In the spring of 1921, Vermilya's station was upgraded to a Special Amateur license, with the new call sign of 1ZE.[8]

In May 1922 the Slocum & Kilburn company of New Bedford, where Vermilya managed the radio department, was issued a license for a new broadcasting station with the sequentially assigned call letters WDAU.[9] The station's transmitter was constructed by Vermilya and Fred Stock.[10] WDAU eventually went silent and was deleted on November 18, 1924.[11]

WNBH publicity has commonly traced the station's history to broadcasts conducted by Vermilya beginning in May 1921,[12] and Vermilya's 1964 obituary stated that, based on this date, WNBH was "the third radio station in New England and the 11th in the United States".[13] However, contemporary Department of Commerce records treated Vermilya's amateur stations, and Slocum & Kilburn's WDAU, as separate stations that were not directly tied to WNBH's history.


In January 1924 Vermilya was issued his own broadcasting station license, with the sequentially assigned callsign WBBG, located at his home at 24 Vermilya Street in Mattapoisett, Massachusetts, transmitting on 1250 kHz.[14] In the spring of 1924 the station moved to 1210 kHz.[15] The new station's slogan was "The Voice from Cape Cod".[16] WBBG was deleted in the fall of 1925, as Vermilya made plans to move his broadcasting activities to New Bedford.[17]


Promotional ad for WNBH as ESPN 1340 New Bedford, used from 2009 to 2019.

In October 1925 Vermilya, along with A. J. Lopez, was issued a license for station WNBH in New Bedford, operating on 1210 kHz.[18] Initially the Department of Commerce reported WNBH as a new station, however, based on the fact that WBBG and WNBH had a common owner in Vermilya, and both transmitted on 1210 kHz, the department ultimately concluded that WBBG and WNBH were functionally the same station,[3] and a contemporary report stated that "This month brings a change of call to WBBG, Mattapoisett. This station will hereafter be known by the letters WNBH."[19]

WNBH's studios were located at the New Bedford Hotel, whence it derived its call letters. An early transmitting antenna for the station was lifted onto the chimney of Atlas Tack Company in Fairhaven by helium-filled balloons. When the rig was in the right spot, the balloons were deflated by shotgun blasts. The operation took place at 5 a.m., and the gunshots prompted a neighbor to call the police.[20]

Before March 1932, WNBH had joined the Yankee Network.[21] On June 18, 1932, the Federal Radio Commission authorized the station to increase its daytime power from 100 to 250 watts; output remained at 100 watts at night.[22] In March 1941, under the provisions of the North American Regional Broadcasting Agreement, WNBH was assigned to transmit on 1340 kHz, which has been its assignment ever since.[23] In 1948 WNBH added FM service with WFMR (now WCTK) on 98.1 MHz, which had signed on two years earlier. These two stations are still co-owned. In 1997, WCTK moved its studios from New Bedford to Providence, Rhode Island to concentrate on fully serving the Providence Arbitron metro. In 2014, the station's tower was moved from the South Terminal area to behind St. Mary’s Cemetery and near Route 140 in New Bedford.[24]

Some of the most recent formats broadcast by WNBH include talk,[25] classic country, urban oldies,[26] middle of the road from the former Unforgettable Favorites satellite service,[6][27] adult standards from the former Timeless satellite service, and sports from ESPN Radio.[28][29] After 10 years as a full-time ESPN Radio affiliate, WNBH switched to a classic hits format on February 1, 2019.[2] Also at that time, sister station WPVD 1450 in West Warwick, Rhode Island, which had simulcasted WNBH programming since Hall acquired the station in 2001, switched to a simulcast of WCTK's "Cat Country 98.1" programming. WNBH officially debuted its new format on February 11, 2019 with the launch of FM translator station W267CY.[30][31] The station took on the branding of "Big 101.3," referring to the frequency of the translator.[32]

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ "FM Query Results: W267CY". FCC.gov. Retrieved 7 February 2019.
  2. ^ a b Fybush, Scott (4 February 2019). "NorthEast Radio Watch 2/4/2019: Controversy Swirls Around Silent AM". Fybush.com. Retrieved 6 February 2019.(subscription required)
  3. ^ a b AM Query Results: WNBH "WNBH's first license was granted 1-09-1924". This date is when predecessor station WBBG received its first license, and comes from the "First License Date" entry on WNBH's FCC History Cards, which were created in the late 1920s and based on earlier Department of Commerce records. (FCC.gov)
  4. ^ Ryan, Debra (1 March 2014). "Religion: Radio program keeps sharing Good News". The Standard-Times (New Bedford). Retrieved 16 July 2015.
  5. ^ "PCC Over The Years". People's Christian Church. Retrieved 16 July 2015.
  6. ^ a b "Listeners left in the lurch". The Standard-Times (New Bedford. 4 August 2002. Retrieved 6 February 2019.
  7. ^ "First District", Amateur Radio Stations of the United States (Edition June 30, 1920), page 20. The 1 in 1HAA's call sign meant that the station was located in the first Radio Inspection district. The fact that H fell in the range A-W indicated that the station was operating under a standard amateur station license.
  8. ^ "New Stations", Radio Service Bulletin, June 1, 1921, page 3. The Z in 1ZE's call sign indicated that the station was operating with a Special Amateur license.
  9. ^ "New Stations", Radio Service Bulletin, June 1, 1922, page 3. Limited Commercial license, serial #412, issued May 22, 1922 for a three month period to Slocum & Kilburn, 23 North Water Street, New Bedford, Massachusetts, for operation 360 meters (833 kHz)
  10. ^ "60 Years of Broadcasting", Mattapoisett Presto Press, June 3, 1981, pages 38-41.
  11. ^ "Strike out all particulars", Radio Service Bulletin, December 1, 1924, page 7.
  12. ^ "WNBH, New Bedford", Variety Radio Directory, 1937-1938 edition, page 495. (americanradiohistory.com) This source incorrectly states that WDAU was first licensed in May 1921. It actually wasn't licensed until May 1922, however May 1921 is month Irving Vermilya reportedly began making broadcasts over his amateur radio station.
  13. ^ "Radio Pioneer Vermilya, 73, Knew Marconi" (obituary), Boston Record American, January 31, 1964, p. 7. The call letters of what were considered to be older stations were not stated.
  14. ^ "New Stations", Radio Service Bulletin, February 1, 1924, page 3.
  15. ^ "Alterations and Corrections", June 2, 1924, Radio Service Bulletin, page 7.
  16. ^ "Queries and Answers", Boston Globe, March 6, 1924, page 21.
  17. ^ "Strike out all particulars", Radio Service Bulletin, November 2, 1925, page 9.
  18. ^ "New Stations", Radio Service Bulletin, November 2, 1925, page 3.
  19. ^ "New Stations", Iola (Kansas) Daily Register, November 21, 1925, page 6.
  20. ^ "1922—Year Radio's Population Soared". Broadcasting. May 14, 1962. p. 116. Retrieved August 7, 2018.
  21. ^ "WFEA Joins Net". Broadcasting. March 15, 1932. p. 6. Retrieved August 7, 2018.
  22. ^ "Actions of the Federal Radio Commission: June 18". Broadcasting. July 15, 1932. p. 28. Retrieved 7 August 2018.
  23. ^ Radio Broadcast Stations as of March 29, 1941, page 86.
  24. ^ Wittenberg, Ariel (3 July 2014). "Radio tower move from South Terminal makes waves in New Bedford". The Standard-Times (New Bedford). Retrieved 6 February 2019.
  25. ^ Regan, Keith (30 August 1995). "Talk of the town -- twice". The Standard-Times (New Bedford). Retrieved 6 February 2019.
  26. ^ Estrella, John (24 September 1998). "WNBH cuts Shawmut Diner show". The Standard-Times (New Bedford). Retrieved 6 February 2019.
  27. ^ Fybush, Scott (August 12, 2002). "CING Goes Country". North East RadioWatch. Retrieved September 6, 2017.
  28. ^ Comey, Jonathan. "Public Service Announcement: WNBH in New Bedford is all sports now". SouthCoastToday. Retrieved 6 February 2019.
  29. ^ Fybush, Scott (February 9, 2009). "Cumulus' Turn for Job Cuts". NorthEast Radio Watch. Retrieved September 6, 2017.
  30. ^ Venta, Lance (11 February 2019). "Big 101.3 Brings Classic Hits To New Bedford". RadioInsight. Retrieved 11 February 2019.
  31. ^ "Video: WNBH / New Bedford Becomes Big 101.3". YouTube. Big Cat Productions. Retrieved 11 February 2019.
  32. ^ Fybush, Scott (11 February 2019). "NorthEast Radio Watch 2/11/2019: Goodbye, Gary". Fybush.com. Retrieved 11 February 2019.(subscription required)
  33. ^ Rick Stewart. "Gil Santos is Home Again." Boston Herald, November 15, 1981, p. TV22.
  34. ^ "Gil Santos, Legendary Voice Of The New England Patriots, Dies At 80". WBZ-TV. April 19, 2018.
  35. ^ "'Russ' Baldwin Jr., 65, area sports broadcaster". The (New Bedford) Standard-Times. 10 July 1996. Retrieved 17 April 2014.

External links[edit]