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City Amherst, Massachusetts
Broadcast area Pioneer Valley including Springfield, Massachusetts
Branding New England Public Radio
Slogan Good thinking.[1]
Frequency 88.5 MHz (also on HD Radio)
First air date May 6, 1961
Format Public radio
ERP 13,000 watts
HAAT 295 meters
Class B
Facility ID 69304
Callsign meaning W Five College Radio
Owner University of Massachusetts Amherst
Webcast Listen Live

WFCR (88.5 MHz) is a non-commercial FM radio station licensed to Amherst, Massachusetts. It serves as the National Public Radio (NPR) network affiliate for Western Massachusetts, including Springfield. The station operates at 13,000 watts ERP from a transmitter on Mount Lincoln in Pelham, Massachusetts 968 feet (295 meters) above average terrain. The University of Massachusetts Amherst holds the license. The station airs NPR news programs during the morning and afternoon drive times and in the early evening. Middays and overnights are devoted to Classical music and Jazz is heard during the later evening hours.

WFCR's broadcasting range extends to Western and Central Massachusetts, Northern Connecticut (including Hartford) as well as parts of Southern Vermont and Southern New Hampshire. WFCR's studios for most of its history were located at Hampshire House on the campus of the University of Massachusetts Amherst. However, in 2013, the station moved most of its operations to the Fuller Building in downtown Springfield.[2]

The station signed on May 6, 1961 as a simulcast of WGBH-FM in Boston. However, by 1964, it had expanded its local programming to 17 hours per day. The call letters originally represented "Four College Radio," becoming "Five College Radio" in 1966. It is a charter member of NPR, and was one of the stations that carried the initial broadcast of NPR's All Things Considered.

The station's license is held by UMass, but it receives funding from the Five Colleges (UMass, Smith College, Mount Holyoke College, Amherst College and Hampshire College) as well as from fund drives conducted periodically over the air. WFCR and sister station 640 AM WNNZ call themselves New England Public Radio.[3]

WFCR claims the distinction of being the first radio station in Western Massachusetts to transmit a signal using iBiquity's HD Radio system.[4] It airs two digital streams. The first is a simulcast of the analog signal, the second is a 24-hour classical music station.[5]


In addition to the main FM station, WFCR is relayed by five translators (FM), to increase its broadcast area.

Call sign Frequency
City of license ERP
Class FCC info
W291CH 106.1 Pittsfield, Massachusetts 10 D FCC
W242AT 96.3 Williamstown, Massachusetts 250 D FCC
W252BG 98.3 Lee, Massachusetts 13 D FCC
W254AU 98.7 Great Barrington, Massachusetts 250 D FCC
W266AW 101.1 North Adams, Massachusetts 10 D FCC


WFCR provides a full-time NPR news and information service on WNNZ, 640 kHz AM, licensed to Westfield, Massachusetts, which was once owned by Clear Channel Communications (now iHeartMedia Inc.). WNNZ's power output is 50,000 watts in the daytime, the maximum permitted for AM stations by the Federal Communications Commission. But because 640 kHz is a clear channel frequency for CBN in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, WNNZ must reduce power to 1,000 watts at night. The antenna is a three-tower array, using differing directional patterns day and night.

WNNZ is the flagship station of the NEPR News Network. It carries programming from NPR, Public Radio International, the BBC and CBC Radio. Programs include Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Fresh Air, The Takeaway, Here and Now, Q and BBC World Service. WNNZ is simulcast on four FM stations in Western Massachusetts: 89.5 WNNU Great Barrington serving Southern Berkshire County, 91.7 WNNZ-FM Deerfield, Massachusetts serving Franklin County, 98.9 WNNI Adams serving Northern Berkshire County and 89.3 WAMH Amhurst, serving Hampshire County. WAMH simulcasts WNNZ from 2 a.m. to 4 p.m. with student free form programming the other hours of the day.

Until 2010, WFCR provided WNNZ's programming, while Clear Channel sold underwriting advertisements.[6][7] However in July 2010, WFCR purchased WNNZ from Clear Channel for $525,000. The sale does not include the transmission towers, but rather has a lease clause in the sale agreement in which Clear Channel will own them and lease them to WFCR.[8] WFCR purchased the license from Clear Channel under the name of "WFCR Foundation Inc." The FCC approved the sale August 25, 2010.[9][10] Prior to 2007, the programming heard on WNNZ was heard on WPNI, 1430 kHz, in Amherst, which was owned by Pamal Broadcasting.

Call sign Frequency
City of license ERP
Class FCC info
WNNZ 640 Westfield, Massachusetts 50,000 day
1,000 night

WNNZ-FM (formerly WGAJ)[edit]

WFCR, again, under the licensee name of "WFCR Foundation Inc.", acquired the license of WGAJ 91.7 MHz in Deerfield, Massachusetts from Deerfield Academy. The license transfer was granted on August 19, 2010.[11] WFCR paid Deerfield Academy $10,000 for the signal.[12][13] The call letters of the station were changed to WNNZ-FM as of September 1, 2010.[14]

Call sign Frequency
City of license ERP
m (ft)
Class FCC info
WNNZ-FM 91.7 Deerfield, Massachusetts 100 95 m (312 ft) A FCC


WFCR won the allocation of 98.9 in Adams, MA, in FCC Auction #91 (under the applicant name, WFCR Foundation Inc.).[15] WFCR won it for $189,750. WFCR has filed the application for new station with the FCC, to transmit the new signal from the top of West Summit, in North Adams, MA. (Where the current WUPE-FM transmitter site is located. WFCR already has a translator, W266AW, located there.[16])

Call sign Frequency
City of license ERP
m (ft)
Class FCC info
WNNI 98.9 Adams, Massachusetts 630 116.6 m (383 ft) A FCC


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Public radio station WFCR-FM plans move from Amherst to Springfield". Retrieved 2013-09-02. 
  3. ^ Clarence Fanto (2011-05-19). "Public radio station aims to transmit by fall". Bennington Banner. Retrieved 2013-09-02. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ HD Radio Guide for Amherst, MA
  6. ^ Blomberg, Marcia (2007-03-09). "Public radio station widens coverage". The Springfield Republican. Retrieved 2008-08-31. 
  7. ^ "". Retrieved 2013-09-03. 
  8. ^ [1] Archived October 21, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
  9. ^ "Application Search Details". Retrieved 2013-09-02. 
  10. ^ "CDBS Print". Retrieved 2013-09-02. 
  11. ^ "Application Search Details". Retrieved 2013-09-02. 
  12. ^ [2] Archived October 21, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
  13. ^ "CDBS Print". Retrieved 2013-09-02. 
  14. ^ "Call Sign History". Retrieved 2013-09-02. 
  15. ^ "FCC FM Broadcast Auction : Auction ID:91 - Winning Bids" (PDF). Retrieved 2013-09-03. 
  16. ^ "FM Query Results - Audio Division (FCC) USA". Retrieved 2013-09-02. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 42°21′50″N 72°25′23″W / 42.364°N 72.423°W / 42.364; -72.423