From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
City New Bedford, Massachusetts
Branding "1340 AM ESPN New Bedford"
Slogan "You know us. We know sports."
Frequency 1340 kHz
Repeater(s) WPVD/1450-West Warwick, Rhode Island (simulcast partner)
First air date 1924 (as WBBG)
Format Sports radio
Power 1,000 watts (unlimited)
Class C
Facility ID 25866
Transmitter coordinates 41°38′29″N 70°57′34″W / 41.64139°N 70.95944°W / 41.64139; -70.95944
Callsign meaning W New Bedford Hotel (former studio location)
Former callsigns WBBG (1924-1925)
Affiliations ESPN Radio
Pawsox Radio Network
Owner Hall Communications, Inc.
Sister stations WCTK, WPVD
Website espn1450providence.com

WNBH (1340 AM) is a New Bedford, Massachusetts radio station, owned by Hall Communications and is currently affiliated with ESPN Radio.

Federal Communications Commission (FCC) records list WNBH's first license date as January 9, 1924.[1] However, the station has generally traced its founding to May 1921, when one of WNBH's original owners, Irving Vermilya, began making broadcasts over his amateur radio station.


The longest-running program on WNBH is The Happy Bible Hour, presented by "People's Christian Church" of New Bedford. It began in the fall of 1927 with the Rev. Russell W. Baldwin. Pastor Baldwin hosted the program until his death in 1978. The Rev. Ellsworth B. McAfee continued the program until his death in 2008. Since that time, Pastor Ardyth Bednarz has hosted the program. It is also believed to be one of the longest-running religious radio programs in the United States.[2][3]

WNBH broadcasts local high school football and boys basketball games for New Bedford High School, Greater New Bedford Regional Vocational-Technical High School, Fairhaven High School, Dartmouth High School, Bishop Stang High School and Old Rochester Regional High School. The station also broadcasts girls basketball state tournament games for these schools. Operations manager Ed Perreira and Mark Enwright announce the games. Perreira also hosts the public affairs program Up Front on Sunday mornings.[citation needed]



WNBH's founder, Irving Vermilya, was a Marconi company employee, who in the 1920s was also one on the best known amateur radio operators, and who claimed the title of "Amateur Number One". Following World War One, he was issued a standard amateur radio station license with the call sign 1HAA, located at his home at 24 Allen Street in Marion, Massachusetts.[4] In the spring of 1921, Vermilya's station was upgraded to a Special Amateur license, with the new call sign 1ZE.[5]

In May 1922 the Slocum & Kilburn company of New Bedford was issued a license for a new broadcasting station, WDAU,[6] which used a transmitter that had been constructed by Vermilya and Fred Stock. Vermilya managed the company's radio department.[7] WDAU eventually ceased operating and was deleted on November 18, 1924.[8]

WNBH publicity has commonly traced the station's history to May 1921,[9] making it one of the oldest radio stations in the United States, and in Vermilya's 1964 obituary it was stated that WNBH's origin dated back to May 21, 1921, and it was "the third radio station in New England and the 11th in the United States".[10] However, contemporary Department of Commerce records treated Vermilya's amateur stations, and Slocum & Kilburn's WDAU, as separate from WNBH's later history.


In January 1924 Irving Vermilya was issued his own broadcasting station license, with the randomly assigned call letters of WBBG, at his home at 24 Vermilya Street in Mattapoisett, Massachusetts, transmitting on 1250 kHz.[11] In the spring of 1924 the station moved to 1210 kHz.[12] The new station's slogan was "The Voice from Cape Cod".[13] WBBG was deleted in the fall of 1925, as Vermilya made plans to move his broadcasting activities to New Bedford.[14]


In October 1925 Vermilya, along with A. J. Lopez, was issued a license for station WNBH in New Bedford, operating on 1210 kHz.[15] Initially the Department of Commerce reported WNBH as a new station, however, based on the fact that WBBG and WNBH had a common owner in Vermilya, and both transmitted on 1210 kHz, the department ultimately concluded that WBBG and WNBH were functionally the same station,[1] and a contemporary report stated that "This month brings a change of call to WBBG, Mattapoisett. This station will hereafter be known by the letters WNBH."[16]

WNBH's studios were located at the New Bedford Hotel, whence it derived its call letters. An early transmitting antenna for the station was lifted onto the chimney of Atlas Tack Company in Fairhaven by helium-filled balloons. When the rig was in the right spot, the balloons were deflated by shotgun blasts. The operation took place at 5 a.m., and the gunshots prompted a neighbor to call the police.[17]

Before March 1932, WNBH had joined the Yankee Network.[18] On June 18, 1932, the Federal Radio Commission authorized the station to increase its daytime power from 100 to 250 watts; output remained at 100 watts at night.[19] In March 1941, under the provisions of the North American Regional Broadcasting Agreement, WNBH was assigned to transmit on 1340 kHz, which has been its assignment ever since.[20] In 1948 WNBH added FM service with WFMR (now WCTK) on 98.1 MHz, which had signed on two years earlier. These two stations are still co-owned.

Notable alumni


  1. ^ a b "AM Query Results: WNBH" (FCC.gov) January 9, 1924 is the date that WBBG received its first license. This date is the one listed as the "First License Date" on WNBH's FCC History Cards, which were created in the late 1920s and based on earlier Department of Commerce records.
  2. ^ Ryan, Debra (1 March 2014). "Religion: Radio program keeps sharing Good News". Standard-Times (New Bedford). Retrieved 16 July 2015.
  3. ^ "PCC Over The Years". People's Christian Church. Retrieved 16 July 2015.
  4. ^ "First District", Amateur Radio Stations of the United States (Edition June 30, 1920), page 20. The 1 in 1HAA's call sign meant that the station was located in the first Radio Inspection district. The fact that H fell in the range A-W indicated that the station was operating under a standard amateur station license.
  5. ^ "New Stations", Radio Service Bulletin, June 1, 1921, page 3. The Z in 1ZE's call sign indicated that the station was operating with a Special Amateur license.
  6. ^ "New Stations", Radio Service Bulletin, June 1, 1922, page 3. Limited Commercial license, serial #412, issued May 22, 1922 for a three month period to Slocum & Kilburn, 23 North Water Street, New Bedford, Massachusetts, for operation 360 meters (833 kHz)
  7. ^ "60 Years of Broadcasting", Mattapoisett Presto Press, June 3, 1981, pages 38-41.
  8. ^ "Strike out all particulars", Radio Service Bulletin, December 1, 1924, page 7.
  9. ^ "WNBH, New Bedford", Variety Radio Directory, 1937-1938 edition, page 495. (americanradiohistory.com) This source incorrectly states that WDAU was first licensed in May 1921. It actually wasn't licensed until May 1922, however May 1921 is month Irving Vermilya reportedly began making broadcasts over an amateur radio station.
  10. ^ "Radio Pioneer Vermilya, 73, Knew Marconi" (obituary), Boston Record American, January 31, 1964, p. 7. The call letters of the other stations were not stated.
  11. ^ "New Stations", Radio Service Bulletin, February 1, 1924, page 3.
  12. ^ "Alterations and Corrections", June 2, 1924, Radio Service Bulletin, page 7.
  13. ^ "Queries and Answers", Boston Globe, March 6, 1924, page 21.
  14. ^ "Strike out all particulars", Radio Service Bulletin, November 2, 1925, page 9.
  15. ^ "New Stations", Radio Service Bulletin, November 2, 1925, page 3.
  16. ^ "New Stations", Iola (Kansas) Daily Register, November 21, 1925, page 6.
  17. ^ "1922—Year Radio's Population Soared". Broadcasting. May 14, 1962. p. 116. Retrieved August 7, 2018.
  18. ^ "WFEA Joins Net". Broadcasting. March 15, 1932. p. 6. Retrieved August 7, 2018.
  19. ^ "Actions of the Federal Radio Commission: June 18". Broadcasting. July 15, 1932. p. 28. Retrieved 7 August 2018.
  20. ^ Radio Broadcast Stations as of March 29, 1941, page 86.
  21. ^ Rick Stewart. "Gil Santos is Home Again." Boston Herald, November 15, 1981, p. TV22.
  22. ^ "'Russ' Baldwin Jr., 65, area sports broadcaster". The (New Bedford) Standard-Times. 10 July 1996. Retrieved 17 April 2014.

External links

  • WNBH Website
  • Query the FCC's AM station database for WNBH
  • Radio-Locator Information on WNBH
  • Query Nielsen Audio's AM station database for WNBH
  • FCC History Cards for WNBH (covering 1929-1981)
  • "Irving Vermilya: America's #1 Amateur" by Donna L. Halper (bostonradio.org)
  • "The WNBH Tower on Crow Island" by M. L. Baron, 1992 (westislandwearther.com)
Retrieved from "https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=WNBH&oldid=854246186"
This content was retrieved from Wikipedia : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WNBH
This page is based on the copyrighted Wikipedia article "WNBH"; it is used under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License (CC-BY-SA). You may redistribute it, verbatim or modified, providing that you comply with the terms of the CC-BY-SA