|Branding||WSTA Radio 1340AM|
First air date
|July 26, 1950|
|Power||1,000 watts (unlimited)|
WSTA (1340 AM, "The People's Station") is a radio station licensed to serve Charlotte Amalie, United States Virgin Islands. The station is owned by Ottley Communications Corporation, and the station's broadcast license is held by OCC Acquisitions, Inc.
WSTA was the first station to broadcast in the Virgin Islands. Airing a full-service variety format, the station has long been recognized for its community orientation and public service, remaining on the air through major hurricanes.
WSTA is the Virgin Islands' Primary Entry Point station in the Emergency Alert System.
On September 7, 1949, the Federal Communications Commission authorized William N. Greer to build and operate a new 250-watt radio station on 1340 kHz in Charlotte Amalie. Greer had not intended to build a 250-watt station; he had filed for just 50 watts, and the FCC at first blush appeared to allow such a service in the U.S. Virgin Islands, but two other applications for higher-power stations were received, along with objections from the National Association of Broadcasters and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, and the FCC vacated its original order. In advance, the Virgin Islands Daily News praised the arrival of radio to the island of St. Thomas as "a significant advancement in the life of community" that would "influence the future to an extent not now dreamt of even by its founder". WSTA began broadcasting on the afternoon of July 26, 1950.
Greer lost money in his first two years of running WSTA, but it was warmly welcomed and provided a valuable and eclectic broadcasting service. The studios were open-air, and wild animals including goats and chickens sometimes wandered in during broadcasts. A 1951 article in The New York Times described it as the "pride of St. Thomas", a station with "probably the greatest public acceptance" of any in the United States. It described one of the station's foremost personalities in its early years: "Mango Jones", whose real name was Ron de Lugo, who would later enter politics and serve as the U.S. Virgin Islands delegate to Congress. WSTA was a "secret affiliate" of NBC and the Mutual Broadcasting System, receiving network newscasts two days late by air from Miami.
In 1958, Greer sold WSTA to Island Broadcasting Company, Inc.; Island also owned KUAM in Guam. Len Stein, one of KUAM's employees, moved to St. Thomas to run the newly purchased Virgin Islands station. In the aftermath of the Island sale, WSTA was sold to William M. O'Neil in 1960. O'Neil applied for an increase in power to 1,000 watts in 1961; the station was permitted to relocate its transmitter in 1975, when the studios were moved from the Frenchtown area to their present site, but a power increase was denied on account of potential interference to a co-channel station in the Dominican Republic.
After 24 years, O'Neil sold WSTA for $450,000 to Ottley Communications Corporation in 1984; the lead owner was Athniel C. "Addie" Ottley. Ottley had already been associated with the station; he was its manager in 1970. Also in 1984, the station went to 1,000 watts, and Addie Ottley took over the morning shift. He remained heavily active with the station until his last show on January 28, 2022, less than two weeks before his death; his last shows were done from his daughter's house in Indiana, where he was recovering from a fall. Under Ottley's stewardship, the station remained on the air while hurricanes Hugo and Irma lashed the Virgin Islands; it was out of service for less than 24 hours at the height of Hurricane Marilyn in 1995. After Hugo, the station's transmissions provided a vital source of information, as telephone lines were inoperable and WBNB-TV, the television station on St. Thomas, was permanently put out of commission by the storm. After Marilyn, the station began airing regular "good news" segments.
WSTA also previously operated on FM as WSTA-FM 102.7 in the 1980s and 1990s. Due to more than a year of silence, the FM station's license was automatically canceled by the FCC in 1998. Dianne Quander worked at WSTA-FM as well as at radio stations in Washington, D.C.
- FCC History Cards for WSTA
- "Virgin Islands: Low Power Plan Out" (PDF). Broadcasting. June 27, 1949. p. 61.
- "Faith in the Future". Virgin Islands Daily News. June 20, 1950. p. 3.
- "WSTA Authorized To Begin Broadcasting". Virgin Islands Daily News. July 26, 1950. p. 1.
- McQuarrie, Douglas (July 18, 1952). "One-Man Virgin Islands Delegation Enthused Over Nomination Of Gen. Eisenhower By GOP". Fort Lauderdale Daily News. Fort Lauderdale, Florida. p. 1-B. Retrieved February 13, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
- Wilcox, Kalo (May 29, 1953). "Catalogues and Pumpkin Soup: Enthusiastic Couple To Settle Here, Lived Three Years In Virgin Islands". Fort Lauderdale Daily News. Fort Lauderdale, Florida. p. 7-A. Retrieved February 13, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
- Knode, Tom (1951-06-24). "Pride of St. Thomas; WSTA Provided a Unique Radio Service". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2022-02-13.
- Page, Don (June 4, 1967). "Disc Jockey Via One-Horse Towns". The Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles, California. p. Calendar 46. Retrieved February 13, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Ownership Changes" (PDF). Broadcasting. September 22, 1958. p. 98.
- "WSTA Counts More Than 62 Years of a 'Good Ting'". VI Source. August 6, 2012.
- "WSTA History". Focus VI. Retrieved February 2, 2022.
- "Facilities changes" (PDF). Broadcasting. p. 55.
- "Changing Hands" (PDF). Broadcasting. September 10, 1984. p. 96.
- "Virgin Islands' Capital Rocked By Gas Blasts". The Miami Herald. Miami, Florida. November 24, 1970. p. 1A, 2A. Retrieved February 13, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
- Carlson, Suzanne (February 11, 2022). "Addie Ottley leaves legacy of love and service". Virgin Islands Daily News. Retrieved February 12, 2022.
- Shimel, Judi (February 12, 2022). "Virgin Islands Broadcast Icon Athniel "Addie" Ottley, Dead at 80". St. Croix Source.
- Ferré-Sadurní, Luis (2017-09-15). "Paradise Lost: Devastation on the U.S. Virgin Islands". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2022-02-13.
- "Hurricane Marilyn left behind devastation". St. Thomas Source. September 14, 2015.
- "A week later, Caribbean isles wait for water, food, power". Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Fort Worth, Texas. September 26, 1989. p. 8. Retrieved February 13, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Hugo in Virgin Islands: 'I thought I was going to die'". Public Opinion. Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. Gannett News Service. September 20, 1989. p. 8A. Retrieved February 13, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
- "FCC revokes WSTA-FM's license". St. Thomas Source. December 16, 1998.
- Hayne, Judie (February 14, 1987). "B/C Profiles" (PDF). Cash Box. p. 36 – via World Radio History.
- WSTA in the FCC AM station database
- WSTA on Radio-Locator
- WSTA in Nielsen Audio's AM station database