|City||Fall River, Massachusetts|
|Broadcast area||Southcoast Massachusetts|
|First air date||September 21, 1921 (claimed by station)
licensed June 1923  & signed on July 3, 1923.
|Format||News / Talk / Sports|
|Power||5,000 watts fulltime|
|Affiliations||ABC, TRN, Boston Red Sox, New England Patriots, Boston Celtics, Pawtucket Red Sox|
|Owner||Jim & Bob Karam
(Bristol County Broadcasting, Inc.)
WSAR is an AM radio station licensed to Fall River, Massachusetts. Its studios and transmitter are located in Somerset, Massachusetts broadcasting on 1480 kHz. Its transmitter power output is 5,000 watts unlimited hours using two towers at the Somerset site. In September 2011 WSAR was granted a U.S. Federal Communications Commission construction permit to increase day power to 25,000 watts by adding a third tower that is about one half the height of the current two towers.
WSAR's format is news/talk and sports. It used to be a full service music station playing top 40 music. Its flagship programs are The Bristol County Breakfast Club with Hector "Happy Hec" Gauthier, Underreported with Ric Oliveira, The WSAR Newsroom with Alan Zarek, and Dr. Mike Boudria during afternoon drive, "Sense & Nonsense" . WSAR also carries live game coverage for the Boston Red Sox, New England Patriots and the Boston Celtics.
WSAR was licensed in June 1923 (although in one 1940s' station publication, the station claimed September 21, 1921) with the sequentially-issued callsign of WSAR. WSAR's original owner was the Doughty & Welch Electric Company. WSAR's first air date was July 3, 1923. WSAR first operated on 1180kc with 10 watts. It would stay on 1180 through 1926. Power in 1926 was 100 watts. WSAR then moved to Portsmouth, Rhode Island and changed frequency to 1190kc, still with 100 watts, by June 30, 1927. WSAR moved back to Fall River and changed frequency again, to 1410kc, in 1928. During the late 1920s the power was increased to 1,000 watts. An early slogan used by WSAR (sometime between 1926 and 1932) was "Fall River Looms Up."
WSAR was on 1450kc with 250 watts of power by June 30, 1930. The owner was still the Doughty & Welch Electric Company.
With the adaptation of the North American Radio Broadcasting Agreement, WSAR's frequency shifted from 1450 to 1480kc, effective at 03:00 Eastern Time on March 29, 1941. In 1941-42 WSAR was an affiliate of the Boston Red Sox and Boston Braves networks. This has been noted by a history book on-site at WSAR detailing weekly programming schedules. In 1945 the Doughty & Welch Electric Company finally sold WSAR to K&M Publishing. In 1948, WSAR was a Mutual affiliate with 5,000 watts of power & had a license for WSAR-FM/103.7 (Channel 279); however by 1950 WSAR-FM had been deleted. It is unknown if WSAR-FM ever made it to air.
WSAR was sold by Knight Quality Stations to the current owners in 1989.
Paul Giammarco took over as program director and afternoon host in 2003. In 2005 he left for WPRO with Keri Rodrigues taking his position until her tenure ended in controversy in August 2008. Rodrigues' afternoon drive seat was filled by then Production Director "Fast" Eddie Garcia and sports-talk personality "The Hurricane" Mike Herren. Meanwhile, the role of Program Director was handled by several people, including Patrick Stone, who exited for a marketing post with Bristol Community College in Fall River.
Jennifer Lorenzo would assume News Director and Production Director duties when Barry Richard was let go in 2016; Lorenzo arrived from WHBC in Canton, Ohio in 2013.
After several contentious, on-air confrontations, Fast Eddie and the Hurricane was disbanded, with Herren remaining as the afternoon drive host, and Garcia returning full-time to producing. The new program was dubbed The Hurricane's Highway Home, with Herren adding new co-host Ryan Phelan into the studio.
Phelan left the station in the spring of 2010 after accepting a position with Bristol Eighth District Mike Rodrigues' State Senate campaign to replace the retiring Joan Menard. Herren's program was cancelled soon after.
Late in the summer of 2008, WSAR remodeled its webpage, adding streaming audio, mobile streaming, and podcasts of interviews, newscasts and special programming
In Summer 2012, Giammarco returned to WSAR, this time as General Manager and Program Director, the first PD since Rodrigues, who had moved on to be a union organizer with the SEIU in Boston. Giammarco left in October 2012. Long-time on-air host and newspaper refugee, Ric Oliveira, left his post at Gatehouse Media where he was Publisher of Ojornal and became General Manager on April 1, 2013. The station added a Braga Bridge Cam in August 2013 and studio cameras to the webpage.
WSAR also began using Facebook in 2013, using Facebook Live in 2016 as a means towards enhancing coverage of Fall River City Council and School Committee Sessions.
Long Time Talk Show Host and News Director Barry Richard was released on March 28, 2016 as a cost cutting measure; he would then accept a slot with New Bedford Station WBSM, where Richards returned to the air in the Spring of 2016.
The management group that owns WSAR indicated to the Fall River Herald News that a long time employee of the owners of the station had embezzled well over 2 Million Dollars from the firm, which has real estate investments throughout New England.
On July 5, 2016, WSAR management launched a rebranding of the station, moving a local College Professor, using the on air name Dr Mike to a 9am show, moving Fall River City Council Member Ray Mitchell and Conservative Political Activist Frank Wing to 11am weekdays; local Attorney and Swansea Board of Selectman Member Chris Carreiro took over the 3pm Slot, while Ric Oliveria returned to the air in a two hour capacity.
The new lineup marked a shift of WSAR to the political Left, while WBSM in New Bedford tended to lean to the political Right.
- Doug Brown, former sports anchor now at ESPN Radio
- Leslie Marshall: former intern, nationally syndicated talk-show host
- Mark Williams: former overnight air personality, Sacramento-based talk show host and author
- Slogans page. Scroll down to WSAR.
- List of F.M. stations in 1948. WSAR-FM is listed with WCFR-FM.
- List of F.M. stations in 1950. WSAR-FM is missing as is WCFR-FM.
- WSAR Website
- Query the FCC's AM station database for WSAR
- Radio-Locator Information on WSAR
- Query Nielsen Audio's AM station database for WSAR
- FCC construction permit