|Broadcast area||Central Massachusetts|
Worcester's Christmas Station (Nov.-Dec.)
|Frequency||96.1 MHz (also on HD Radio)|
|First air date||June 17, 1940|
Christmas music (Nov.-Dec.)
HD2: 80's Hits
|HAAT||263 meters (863 ft)|
|Callsign meaning||Worcester's Stereo Radio Station|
|Former callsigns||W1XTG (1940–1944)
|Former frequencies||43.4 MHz (1940–1944)
46.1 MHz (1944–1946)
102.7 MHz (1946–1947)
(Capstar TX LLC)
|Webcast||Listen Live (via iHeartRadio)
Listen Live (via iHeartRadio) (HD2)
WSRS (96.1 FM; "96-1 SRS") is an American commercial radio station licensed to Worcester, Massachusetts, and is owned by iHeartMedia, Inc.. WSRS offers an adult contemporary music format focusing on the hits of the 1980s and 1990s. The station also mixes in occasional 1970s and 1960s big hits. The station also employs a moderate amount of current product.
WSRS began operation as W1XTG in 1940 from Mount Asnebumskit in Paxton, Massachusetts, later moving to 102.7 FM, then to its current frequency of 96.1 FM , as WTAG-FM. By the late 1950s, the station offered a Beautiful Music format, playing mostly instrumental easy listening renditions of popular songs. It also would play an occasional vocal selection (often sung by a chorus).
Knight Quality Stations purchased WTAG-FM from the Worcester Telegram & Gazette newspaper in 1963. As the newspaper retained ownership of sister station WTAG (580 AM), Knight was required to change WTAG-FM's call letters; with the concurrent advent of FM stereo broadcasting, the station took the call sign WSRS, meaning "Worcester's Stereo Radio Station". Knight later purchased WTAG from the Telegram & Gazette in 1987.
The station continued to offer an instrumental based easy listening format well into the 1980s. By then, though, WSRS began mixing in softer adult contemporary songs into the format. By 1982, WSRS was playing about one vocalist per quarter-hour. Half were adult contemporary/baby boomer oldies artists, and half were standards artists. By 1984, the station was about half vocal and half instrumental. By 1985, WSRS evolved into more of a vocal-based easy-listening format with the instrumentals eliminated, except for hits such as "Music Box Dancer," "Chariots of Fire," "Rise" and "Summer Place."
In 1986, WSRS cut back on standards artists and evolved into more of a soft adult contemporary format. By 1989, the station began mixing in a lot of soft songs by what were then Hot AC artists. It also added Motown 1960s hits and more uptempo songs by that time period. It still played almost no current product.
By 1994, WSRS would evolve into a mainstream adult contemporary station. In 1998, WSRS and WTAG were sold to Capstar Broadcasting. In 1999, as a result of a merger with Chancellor Media, WSRS' owner became AMFM Broadcasting. In a 2000 merger, Clear Channel Communications (now known as iHeartMedia) assumed ownership of the station.
After Christmas 2015, the station re-branded from "96.1 WSRS" to "96-1 SRS" (no longer saying the point between 96 and 1) with a new slogan of "Today's Variety". Although the old web site address of wsrs.com still works, 961srs.com was introduced along with a new logo. Musically, the same adult contemporary format continued.
In 2004, WSRS began broadcasting in HD Radio, adding in 2007 the Pride Radio dance music format on its HD2 subchannel. In 2009, Pride Radio was temporarily replaced by a classic hits type format for a couple of months, but has since returned for a while, until eventually being discontinued once more (for the Pride Radio website now only mentions four affiliates, which do not include WSRS). Currently, a commercial-free 80's Pop format airs over WSRS-HD2 (probably originating from the iHeart80s feed of iHeartMedia, Inc.), without any branding or slogan present. A similar commercial-free 80's Pop format airs over WHEB-HD2 in Portsmouth, New Hampshire (yet branded as "Cosmo Radio" retained from a now-defunct programming service that was probably formerly offered on WHEB-HD2).