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City of license New Bedford, Massachusetts
Branding 1340 AM ESPN New Bedford
Slogan You know us. We know Sports.
Frequency 1340 kHz
Repeaters WLKW/1450-West Warwick, Rhode Island (simulcast partner)
First air date 1921 (can be disputed but was on by November 1925)
Format Sports radio
Power 1,000 watts (unlimited)
Class C
Facility ID 25866
Transmitter coordinates 41°37′21″N 70°55′07″W / 41.62250°N 70.91861°W / 41.62250; -70.91861
Callsign meaning New Bedford Hotel (former studio location)
Former callsigns WBBG (until November 1925)
Affiliations ESPN Radio
Pawsox Radio Network
Owner Hall Communications, Inc.
Sister stations WCTK, WLKW
Website wnbhradio.com

WNBH has often claimed to be one of the oldest broadcast radio stations in America; it has asserted that it was the 11th oldest in the USA, going back to May 21, 1921;[1] but there is no evidence to support that assertion. According to the Department of Commerce records, WNBH received its license in November 1925.[2] When WNBH went on the air, it had its studios at the New Bedford Hotel, from 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 using helium-filled balloons. When the rig was in the right spot, the balloons were deflated by shotgun blasts. The operation took place at 5AM with the gunshots prompting neighbors to call the police.[3]

On July 1, 1932, The Federal Radio Commission authorized WNBH to increase its daytime power from 100 W to 250 W. Output remained at 100 W for night transmissions.[4]

WNBH's original station manager was a pioneer in amateur radio, Irving Vermilya.[5] Vermilya had put an earlier station on the air in New Bedford in May 1922, WDAU.[6] When WDAU's owners got out of the broadcasting business, Vermilya was asked to manage WNBH. In 1948 WNBH added FM service with WNBH-FM on 98.1 Megacycles (as the term was known at the time and later became Megahertz)/Channel 251 (now WCTK). The two stations are still co-owned to the present.

WNBH is under ownership of Hall Communications and is currently an affiliate of ESPN Radio. The station is also an affiliate of the Pawsox Radio Network.

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 is currently broadcast Sundays from 8AM to 9AM. It is also believed to be one of the longest-running religious radio programs in the United States.[7][8]

WNBH broadcasts local high school football and boys basketball games for New Bedford High School, Greater New Bedford Voc-Tech, Fairhaven High School, Dartmouth High School, and Bishop Stang High School. Operations manager Ed Perreira and Mark Enwright announce these games. WNBH also broadcasts girls basketball state tournament games for these schools. Perreira also hosts the public affairs program Up Front on Sunday mornings.

From 2012-2015, the station streamed its local sports broadcasts live online at "wnbhsports.com" and archived them for on-demand playback. Pawtucket Red Sox games, The Happy Bible Hour and Up Front were also streamed live.

Notable alumni[edit]

  • Gil Santos[9] - DJ, play-by-play announcer for high school sports (1950s); play-by-play announcer for New England Patriots radio broadcasts (1966–2013) (retired)
  • Mike Gorman - play-by-play announcer for high school sports (1960s); sports director at WPRI-TV (1970s); play-by-play announcer for Boston Celtics broadcasts on Comcast SportsNet New England (1982–present)
  • Russ Baldwin - news and sports director (1977-1993) (deceased)[10]
  • Phil Paleologos - morning talk show host (1970s); syndicated talk show host (1997-2004); talk show host on WBSM (2009-present)
  • Jack Peterson - morning talk show host, play-by-play announcer for high school sports (1980-1997); news anchor, play-by-play announcer for local sports on WBSM (1998-2014) (deceased)[11]
  • Bernie Picinisco - sports talk show host, color commentator for high school sports (retired)


  • [1] WNBH's switch in format from classic R&B to Middle of the Road
  • [2] Information on Irving Vermilya, founder of WBBG/WNBH.
  • [3] The Crow Island Radio Tower (WNBH)
  1. ^ "Radio Pioneer Vermilya, 73, Knew Marconi." Boston Record American, January 31, 1964, p. 7.
  2. ^ "Three Long Pending Licenses Approved." Seattle Daily Times, November 15, 1925, p. 24.
  3. ^ 1922-Year Radio's Population Soared (PDF). Broadcasting. May 14, 1962. p. 116. Retrieved March 6, 2014. (PDF)
  4. ^ "(untitled brief)" (PDF). Broadcasting. July 15, 1932. Retrieved 3 October 2014. 
  5. ^ Cape Cod Man First Amateur in Wireless." Boston Globe, November 13, 1921, p. 45.
  6. ^ "Broadcast Stations Now Number 300." Boston Herald, June 4, 1922, p. E7.
  7. ^ Ryan, Debra (1 March 2014). "Religion: Radio program keeps sharing Good News". Standard-Times (New Bedford). Retrieved 16 July 2015. 
  8. ^ "PCC Over The Years". People's Christian Church. Retrieved 16 July 2015. 
  9. ^ Rick Stewart. "Gil Santos is Home Again." Boston Herald, November 15, 1981, p. TV22.
  10. ^ "'Russ' Baldwin Jr., 65, area sports broadcaster". The Standard-Times (New Bedford). 10 July 1996. Retrieved 17 April 2014. 
  11. ^ Cormier, Taylor (30 July 2014). "WBSM’s Jack Peterson Passes Away". WBSM.com. Retrieved 30 July 2014. 

External links[edit]