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WAMC

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WAMC-FM
Broadcast areaCapital District
Frequency90.3 MHz (HD Radio)
BrandingWAMC, Northeast Public Radio
Programming
FormatPublic radio
SubchannelsHD2: Public radio
Affiliations
Ownership
OwnerWAMC
History
First air date
October 1958
(65 years ago)
 (1958-10)
Call sign meaning
Albany Medical College (original owner)
Technical information[1]
Licensing authority
FCC
Facility ID70849
ClassB
ERP10,000 watts
HAAT600 meters (2,000 ft)
Transmitter coordinates
42°38′14.3″N 73°10′5.4″W / 42.637306°N 73.168167°W / 42.637306; -73.168167 (WAMC-FM)
Translator(s)See § Translators
Repeater(s)See § Repeaters
Links
Public license information
WebcastListen live
Websitewww.wamc.org

WAMC-FM (90.3 FM) is a non-commercial educational radio station licensed to Albany, New York, United States, featuring a public radio format. Owned by "WAMC Northeast Public Radio" with a legal name of "WAMC", WAMC-FM's primary signal encompasses the Capital District, along with parts of eastern New York, southern Vermont, Western Massachusetts and the Litchfield Hills region as the regional affiliate for National Public Radio (NPR), American Public Media, Public Radio Exchange and the BBC World Service. The station's reach is extended into west-central Connecticut, northeastern Pennsylvania and the Monadnock Region, Champlain Valley, Skylands Region and North Country areas, along with portions of Quebec, via a network of twelve full-power repeaters and sixteen low-power translators.[2][3] One of these satellite stations operates on the AM band, WAMC (1400 AM) in Albany.[4]

Unlike many NPR stations around the U.S. which use mostly outside programming, much of WAMC's schedule is produced in-house. WAMC is a charitable, educational, non-commercial broadcaster meeting the requirements of Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code (26 U.S.C. §501(c)(3))[5] It had total annual revenues for the fiscal year 2010 of $6.36 million. The station operates The Linda, WAMC's Performing Arts Studio, near its Central Avenue studios in Albany. WAMC-FM's corporate officers include Dottie Reyonolds, chair of the board of trustees, and Alan S. Chartock, past president and chief executive officer.

History[edit]

Albany Medical Center[edit]

WAMC signed on the air in October 1958.[6] Albert P. Fredette served as the first general manager. WAMC was put on the air by the local hospital and medical school, Albany Medical Center and Albany Medical College. Albany Medical Center is a large tertiary-care hospital serving the upper Hudson Valley, and the medical school is one of the country's ACGME-accredited medical schools. The affiliation with Albany Medical College was the source of the call sign WAMC. In 1981, the station became an independent institution, no longer associated with the medical school.

In its early days, WAMC had a mostly classical music radio format. The earliest years also included broadcasts of health information and lectures from visiting medical professors. Early on, part of WAMC's regular programming was the broadcast of live concerts by the Boston Symphony Orchestra from Tanglewood and Boston. When the NPR network was founded in 1970, WAMC signed on as one of NPR's original 90 "charter" members.

Separating from the medical school[edit]

Around 1980, financial pressures caused the hospital and medical school to begin divesting the station. In 1981, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) license on 90.3 FM was transferred to a 501c3 tax-exempt entity, WAMC, Inc., which had been set up by a group of five corporators, including the current CEO and president, Alan S. Chartock. WAMC was initially affiliated with the State University of New York and New York State government.

In the years since the transfer, the station has eliminated classical music, except for live BSO concerts. It has become a producer of information-based, non-music programming, providing a variety of interview-format programs to radio stations across the country via the station's in-house subsidiary, National Productions. (WMHT-FM in nearby Schenectady and its network of repeater stations continues to program classical music in the region.)

Expanding the network[edit]

Listener contributions (often obtained during periodic pledge drives) and corporate contributions have helped the original single station grow over the years into a network of 22 facilities with large primary service contours covering the Capital District, the Adirondacks section of New York State, Western Massachusetts, Southern Vermont, and parts of New Hampshire, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

It has been a custom on WAMC to play two songs to mark the end of every fund drive: Kate Smith's "God Bless America" and Ray Charles' rendition of "America the Beautiful". The station's February 2017 fund drive raised over $1,000,000 in less than one day.[7]

The main 90.3 MHz signal has an effective radiated power (ERP) of 10,000 watts, which on paper is somewhat modest for a full NPR member on the FM band. However, its height above average terrain (HAAT) of 600 meters (2,000 ft) gives it one of the largest coverage areas of any NPR station in the Northeast. It provides at least grade B coverage to most of east-central New York (including the Capital District), southwestern Vermont, western Massachusetts, southwestern New Hampshire, and northwestern Connecticut.

Mount Greylock[edit]

While WAMC-FM is based in Albany, its transmitter is actually in Massachusetts. WAMC-FM's antenna tower is atop Mount Greylock in Adams, in the Mount Greylock State Reservation. It is the tallest mountain in Massachusetts. The transmitter had formerly been a tenant on the tower, which was built and maintained by the Albany ABC-TV affiliate WTEN (channel 10) for its satellite station for the Berkshire region and Pittsfield, WCDC. WCDC had broadcast on channel 19 but that signal was shut down in 2017. The tower also features a radio facility for the Massachusetts State Police and a translator station for the Albany NBC affiliate, WNYT (channel 13).

On December 22, 2017, WAMC entered into an agreement to purchase the Mount Greylock WCDC transmitter and tower from the owner of WTEN/WCDC, Nexstar Media Group, for just above $1 million. WCDC-TV had gone permanently silent on November 19, 2017, two weeks ahead of a planned December 1 shutdown amid declining over-the-air viewership, following damage to the station's transmission line in a storm. The TV station license was surrendered for cancellation on February 12, 2018, as a result of the FCC's 2016 spectrum auction for $34.5 million in compensation. Due to the tower sitting on Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation land, as well as WTEN's lease on the land having expired two years prior, WAMC-FM could have been taken off the air if it had not purchased the facility. WAMC now owns the tower itself, but not the land beneath, which is under lease with the MDCR until 2025.[8]

Accusations of bias[edit]

NPR's official news policy says its affiliate stations should be "fair, unbiased, accurate, honest, and respectful of the people that are covered".[9] A Washington-based NPR news producer, who requested anonymity, stated that Chartock, the station's president and a frequently heard voice on the station, presents politically-biased commentary.[10]

Chartock responded that WAMC's editorial neutrality is maintained by "including as many conservative commentators on the air as liberal ones".[10]

First Amendment Fund[edit]

In 2005, WAMC's board of trustees established a "First Amendment Fund" to promote and preserve the First Amendment and the right of free speech by providing a source of funding "to support WAMC if special situations or needs should arise". The contributions in this "unrestricted, board designated" fund reported on WAMC's 2006 IRS tax forms was $482,577.[11]

Other stations[edit]

WAMC-FM extends its signal throughout much of New York and portions of Pennsylvania, Connecticut, New Jersey, Vermont and Massachusetts, along with portions of Quebec, via the following network of full-power satellite stations and low-power analog translators:

Repeaters[edit]

Call sign Frequency City of license FID Power
(W)
ERP
(W)
HAAT Class Transmitter coordinates FCC info
WAMC 1400 AM Albany, NY 4683 1,000 C 42°41′21.28″N 73°47′35.44″W / 42.6892444°N 73.7931778°W / 42.6892444; -73.7931778 (WAMC) LMS
WAMK 90.9 FM Kingston, NY 70502 940 453 m (1,486 ft) B1 42°4′35.3″N 74°6′24.5″W / 42.076472°N 74.106806°W / 42.076472; -74.106806 (WAMK) LMS
WAMQ 105.1 FM Great Barrington, MA 70847 730 280 m (920 ft) A 42°9′36.3″N 73°28′46.4″W / 42.160083°N 73.479556°W / 42.160083; -73.479556 (WAMQ) LMS
WANC 103.9 FM Ticonderoga, NY 70842 1,550 116 m (381 ft) A 43°49′55.2″N 73°24′26.4″W / 43.832000°N 73.407333°W / 43.832000; -73.407333 (WANC) LMS
WANR 88.5 FM Brewster, NY 174780 235 44 m (144 ft) A 41°23′4.3″N 73°31′55.4″W / 41.384528°N 73.532056°W / 41.384528; -73.532056 (WANR) LMS
WANZ 90.1 FM Stamford, NY 176616 230 −103 m (−338 ft) A 42°22′10.2″N 74°39′52.5″W / 42.369500°N 74.664583°W / 42.369500; -74.664583 (WANZ) LMS
WCAN 93.3 FM Canajoharie, NY 70503 6,000 82 m (269 ft) A 42°53′46.2″N 74°35′43.5″W / 42.896167°N 74.595417°W / 42.896167; -74.595417 (WCAN) LMS
WCEL 91.9 FM Plattsburgh, NY 44032 380 260 m (850 ft) A 44°46′27.1″N 73°36′46.5″W / 44.774194°N 73.612917°W / 44.774194; -73.612917 (WCEL) LMS
WOSR 91.7 FM Middletown, NY 70848 1,800 192 m (630 ft) B1 41°36′4.3″N 74°33′15.5″W / 41.601194°N 74.554306°W / 41.601194; -74.554306 (WOSR) LMS
WQQQ 103.3 FM Sharon, CT 54785 1,500 186 m (610 ft) A 41°55′8.3″N 73°34′20.4″W / 41.918972°N 73.572333°W / 41.918972; -73.572333 (WQQQ) LMS
WRUN 90.3 FM Remsen, NY 87836 1,200 204 m (669 ft) B 43°20′48″N 75°13′57.4″W / 43.34667°N 75.232611°W / 43.34667; -75.232611 (WRUN) LMS
WWES 88.9 FM Mount Kisco, NY 176621 400 19 m (62 ft) A 41°14′46″N 73°40′31″W / 41.24611°N 73.67528°W / 41.24611; -73.67528 (WWES) LMS

Translators[edit]

Call sign Frequency City of license FID ERP (W) HAAT Transmitter coordinates FCC info Relays
W204CJ 88.7 FM Lake Placid, NY 66421 13 −20 m (−66 ft) 44°17′31.9″N 73°59′23″W / 44.292194°N 73.98972°W / 44.292194; -73.98972 (W204CJ) LMS WAMC-FM
W211CE 90.1 FM Oneonta, NY 70845 250 4.5 m (15 ft) 42°27′23.2″N 75°4′35.5″W / 42.456444°N 75.076528°W / 42.456444; -75.076528 (W211CE) LMS WAMC-FM
W215BG 90.9 FM Milford, PA 92758 10 76.37 m (250.6 ft) 41°22′23″N 74°43′47.9″W / 41.37306°N 74.729972°W / 41.37306; -74.729972 (W215BG) LMS WOSR
W225BM 92.9 FM Scotia, NY 147781 10 203.7 m (668 ft) 42°51′0.2″N 74°3′55.4″W / 42.850056°N 74.065389°W / 42.850056; -74.065389 (W225BM) LMS WAMC-FM
W226AC 93.1 FM Troy, NY 70843 250 165.05 m (541.5 ft) 42°47′9.2″N 73°37′41.4″W / 42.785889°N 73.628167°W / 42.785889; -73.628167 (W226AC) LMS WAMC-FM
W240CR 95.9 FM Peekskill, NY 147798 10 80.2 m (263 ft) 41°20′18.3″N 73°53′39.5″W / 41.338417°N 73.894306°W / 41.338417; -73.894306 (W240CR) LMS WOSR
W243BZ 96.5 FM Ellenville, NY 141863 6.5 470 m (1,540 ft) 41°41′1.3″N 74°21′22.6″W / 41.683694°N 74.356278°W / 41.683694; -74.356278 (W243BZ) LMS WOSR
W246BJ 97.1 FM Hudson, NY 147822 200 −77.44 m (−254.1 ft) 42°15′17.3″N 73°46′34.4″W / 42.254806°N 73.776222°W / 42.254806; -73.776222 (W246BJ) LMS WAMC-FM
W247BM 97.3 FM Cooperstown, NY 140147 10 −478.51 m (−1,569.9 ft) 42°40′44.3″N 74°53′57.6″W / 42.678972°N 74.899333°W / 42.678972; -74.899333 (W247BM) LMS WCAN
W257BL 99.3 FM Oneonta, NY 157957 250 22.1 m (73 ft) 42°27′23.2″N 75°4′35.5″W / 42.456444°N 75.076528°W / 42.456444; -75.076528 (W257BL) LMS WCAN
W271BF 102.1 FM Highland, NY 147233 10 256.42 m (841.3 ft) 41°43′10.3″N 73°59′43.5″W / 41.719528°N 73.995417°W / 41.719528; -73.995417 (W271BF) LMS WAMK
W280DJ 103.9 FM Beacon, NY 147411 10 321.79 m (1,055.7 ft) 41°29′20.2″N 73°56′51.2″W / 41.488944°N 73.947556°W / 41.488944; -73.947556 (W280DJ) LMS WAMK
W292DX 106.3 FM Middletown, NY 46502 99 28.2 m (93 ft) 41°27′16.3″N 74°25′4.5″W / 41.454528°N 74.417917°W / 41.454528; -74.417917 (W292DX) LMS WOSR
W292ES 106.3 FM Dover Plains, NY 147759 10 188.68 m (619.0 ft) 41°42′50.3″N 73°32′5.4″W / 41.713972°N 73.534833°W / 41.713972; -73.534833 (W292ES) LMS WAMK
W296BD 107.1 FM Warwick, NY 156156 10 115.9 m (380 ft) 41°16′51.3″N 74°21′44.6″W / 41.280917°N 74.362389°W / 41.280917; -74.362389 (W296BD) LMS WOSR
W299AG 107.7 FM Newburgh, NY 70850 10 113.65 m (372.9 ft) 41°25′21.3″N 74°0′40.5″W / 41.422583°N 74.011250°W / 41.422583; -74.011250 (W299AG) LMS WAMK

Programs[edit]

WAMC syndicates many of its shows to other public radio stations.[12] These programs include

  • Legislative Gazette
  • Women's news show 51% with Jesse King
  • Environmental news show Earth Wise
  • Person Place Thing with Randy Cohen
  • The Academic Minute with Lynn Pasquerella
  • Ideas show The Best of Our Knowledge with Bob Barrett
  • Author interview program The Book Show with Joe Donahue
  • The Capitol Connection
  • Media criticism show The Media Project

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Facility Technical Data for WAMC-FM". Licensing and Management System. Federal Communications Commission.
  2. ^ "Coverage Map | WAMC". Retrieved 6 May 2012.
  3. ^ "Frequencies". Retrieved 2016-09-22.
  4. ^ "Coverage Map | WAMC". Retrieved 2 May 2014.
  5. ^ "GuideStar Exchange Reports for WAMC". GuideStar. Retrieved 6 May 2012.
  6. ^ Information from Broadcasting Yearbook 1961-1962 page B-108
  7. ^ "Thanks to anti-Trump sentiment, WAMC meets goal in 12 hours". Times Union. Retrieved 2017-04-08.
  8. ^ Fanto, Clarence (22 December 2017). "WAMC purchases radio tower atop Mount Greylock". Berkshire Eagle. Retrieved 25 December 2017.
  9. ^ "NPR Ethics Handbook | How to apply our standards to our journalism". NPR. Retrieved 6 May 2012.
  10. ^ a b Dechter, Gadi (July 13, 2005). "Locally Grown". Baltimore City Paper. Archived from the original on December 25, 2005. Retrieved May 7, 2012.
  11. ^ "WAMC's IRS Form 990 for Fiscal 2006 (page 35)" (PDF).
  12. ^ "WAMC Distribution –". Retrieved 2019-08-24.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]