History of WHAW and
WHAW-FM/WSSN/WFBY, Weston

This article was last revised on Dec. 31, 2013. It was contributed by Clarke Ingram.

May 12, 1947. Broadcasting reports that Lewis Service Corp. seeks CP for new AM on 1450 kc, 250 w. unlimited at Weston.

July 14, 1947. Broadcasting reports that the application of Lewis Service Corp. for new station on 1450 kc at Weston has been designated for hearing.

August 11, 1947. Broadcasting reports Lewis Service Corp. is granted petition for leave to amend its application so as to add to application a supplementary engineering exhibit containing field intensity measurements.

November 10, 1947. Broadcasting reports that Lewis Service Corp. is granted 1450 kc, 250 w, unlimited. Principals: Harold McWhorter. former news and music director WTBO Cumberland, Md., president (45.9%); H. G. Raiguel. funeral director, treasurer (45.9%); Mabel Ann West, newspaperwoman, assistant secretary (2%); Wilda McWhorter, wife of Harold, vice president (1%); Don McWhorter, former program director of WBLK Clarksburg, 2nd vice president (0.2%) R. H. Pritchard, owner Weston Democrat, secretary (5%).

February 4, 1948. WHAW seeks license to cover for new station on 1450 kc, 250 w. unlimited, and change studio location.

March 30, 1948. WHAW granted license to cover for new station on 1450 kc, 250 w. unlimited, and change studio location.

November 13, 1950. Article in Broadcasting about WHAW's involvement in feeding broadcast of speeches associated with major Republican rally in state.

January 15, 1951. Broadcasting reports that an eight-station radio network has been established in West Virginia to carry WVU basketball games, including WHAW.

February 11, 1952. Broadcasting reports that plans are complete for an overseas flying trip which will take some 50 newsmen, including about 25 broadcasters, to approximately 11 countries of Europe and the Near East. One of the participating broadcasters is Harold McWhorter of WHAW.

February 23, 1953. Broadcasting reports on March of Dimes fundraising efforts at radio stations around the country. WHAW's campaign raised more than $3,000, up from $2,273 in 1951.

September 21, 1953. Broadcasting reports that WVU football games will be carried by a network of fifteen stations across West Virginia, including WHAW.

April 28, 1954. WHAW seeks assignment of license from Lewis Service Corp. to Central W. Va. Service Corp. for $25,000. Principals include President-Treasurer Richard H. Ralston (49.6%), owner of Buckhannon Record newspaper and commercial printing, and Vice-President/Secretary Francis E. Andrews (49.6%), retail jewelry.

May 26, 1954. WHAW granted assignment of license from Lewis Service Corp. to Central W. Va. Service Corp. for $25,000, as above.

October 20, 1958. Broadcasting reports that FCC has designated for hearing applications for change of facilities of WHAW from 1450 kc, 250 w-U, to 980 kc, 1 kw-D, and WPDX (Clarksburg) from 750 kc, 1 kw-D, to 980 kc, 5 kw-D

December 1, 1958. Broadcasting reports FCC has continued hearing from Dec. 10 to Jan. 27, 1959, on AM applications of Central W. Va. Service Corp. (WHAW), and Clarksburg Bcstg. Corp. (WPDX), Weston and Clarksburg, for 980 kc.

January 22, 1959. FCC grants petition by Clarksburg Bcstg. Corp. (WPDX), Clarksburg, for dismissal without prejudice of its AM application, and retains in hearing status AM application of Central W. Va. Service Corp. (WHAW), Weston.

January 29, 1959. FCC Hearing Examiner Forest L. McClenning issues initial decision looking toward granting application of Central West Virginia Service Corp. to change facilities of AM station WHAW, Weston from 1450 kc, 250 w. unlimited, to 980 kc, 1 kw-D.

March 25, 1959. FCC gave notice that Jan. 29 initial decision which looked toward granting application of Central West Virginia Service Corp. to change facilities of AM station WHAW, Weston from 1450 kc, 250 w. unlimited, to 980 kc, 1 kw-D, became effective March 20 pursuant to Sec. 1.153 of rules.

August 29, 1959. WHAW granted license covering changes in facilities, installation of new transmitter. and changes in ground system, and change type transmitter.

December 29, 1965. WHAW seeks involuntary transfer of control of license corporation, Central W. Va. Service Corp., from Francis E. Andrew (49.6%) to Ruth McKinnon Andrew (0.4%), executrix of estate of Francis E. Andrew, deceased.

January 7, 1966. WHAW granted involuntary transfer of control of license corporation, Central W. Va. Service Corp., from Francis E. Andrew (49. %) to Ruth McKinnon Andrew (0.4%), as above.

November 6, 1967. Broadcasting reports that, as part of a rulemaking involving stations around the country, the FCC has granted WHAW pre-sunrise authority (PSRA) with 500 watts.

August 27, 1968. WHAW seeks transfer of control of Central West Virginia Service Corp. from Ruth McKinnon Andrew, executrix of estate of Francis E. Andrew, deceased, to Ruth McKinnon Andrew, beneficiary. No consideration involved.

September 13, 1968. WHAW granted transfer of control of Central West Virginia Service Corp. from Ruth McKinnon Andrew, executrix of estate of Francis E. Andrew, deceased, to Ruth McKinnon Andrew, beneficiary, as above.

September 12, 1969. WHAW requests amendment of rules to assign ch. 272A (102.3 mhz) to Weston.

April 22, 1970. Harold A. McWhorter, in his 60's, with WMMN(AM) Fairmont, W. Va. in the 1930's and later a founder of WPAR(AM) Parkersburg and WHAW(AM) Weston (both later sold to local groups), dies in the Stonewall Jackson Memorial Hospital in Weston, of apparently self-inflicted gunshot wounds.

November 8, 1971. Central West Virginia Service Corp. granted 102.3 mhz, 940 w. HAAT: 490 ft. Address: Box 431 Weston. W. Va. 26452. Estimated construction cost $20.508.30: first-year operating cost $6.500; revenue $3.600. Principals: Richard H. Ralston, president (49.6%), Ruth McKinnon Andrew, secretary- treasurer (50%) and Freda Mae Ralston, vice-president (0.4%). Mr. Ralston is owner and publisher of Buckhannon Record weekly newspaper. He has interest in WHAW(AM) Weston. Mrs. Andrew and Mrs. Ralston also have interests in WHAW.

December 9, 1971. FCC grants the call letters WHAW-FM to 102.3.

February 18, 1975. FCC notifies WHAW-FM that it has incurred apparent liability for forfeiture of $500 for willful or repeated violation of rules by operating with excessive power or by failing to cease operation of malfunctioning remote control equipment.

April 25, 1975. FCC orders WHAW-FM to forfeit $500 for repeated failure to observe rules by operating in excess of 105 percent of authorized power.

October 4, 1976. Broadcasting reports that WHAW-FM has applied for the call letters WSSN.

December 13, 1976. Broadcasting reports that the WSSN call letters have been granted.

September 11, 1987. WHAW(AM)-WSSN(FM) seeks assignment of license from Central West Virginia Service Corp. to Stonewall Broadcasting Corp. for $363,500. Seller is owned by Ruth Brown, who has no other broadcast interests. Buyer is owned by Bruce Beam, general manager of WPQZ(AM)-WKKW(FM) Clarksburg.

April 27, 1989. At request of Stonewall Broadcasting Corporation, FCC proposes substituting channel 272B1 for channel 272A (both 102.3 mhz) at Weston and modifying license for WSSN(FM) accordingly.

January 31, 1990. FCC officially substitutes ch. 272B1 for ch. 272A at Weston and modifies license of WSSN(FM) accordingly;

July 6, 1990. WSSN applies for CP to change ERP: 25 kw H&V; ant.: 98 ft.; TL: 300 Harrison Ave.. Weston, at WHAW(AM) site; change to class B1 (102.3 mhz).

September 6, 1990. FCC grants WSSN application for CP to change ERP: 25 kw H &V; ant.: 30 m.: TL: 300 Harrison Ave., Weston; change to class B1 (102.3 mhz).

July 6, 1994. FCC grants application of WSSN (now owned by West Virginia Radio Corporation) for CP to make changes: ERP: 10 kw; ant. 155.1 m.; TL: Buckhannon Rd., 1.25 km N of Hwy 33/119, Hacker Creek, Lewis County, West Virginia.

July 1, 2002. WSSN changes call letters to WFBY.

2017. In 2017, WHAW-980 had a country music format and WFBY-102.3 had a classic rock format.


WHAW-AM WSSN-FM Weston (1989)

This article was supplied by the station for a 1989 book published by the West Virginia Broadcasters Association.

On November 13, 1947 the Lewis Service Corporation was granted a license from the FCC to operate on frequency 1450 Khz with 250 watts of power (unlimited). At the time of the license grant the call letters were WHWM, but in December of 1947 the call letters were changed to WHAW, which remain today. WHAW went on the air on St. Valentines Day, February 14, 1948 for its first full broadcast day.

Some of the personalities heard on WHAW in the early days were Kate Smith, Gabriel Heatter, Fulton Lewis, Jr. and Jack Bailey. In the early evening hours one could hear “Captain Midnight” and Tom Mix. The Lewis Service Corporation owned and operated the station until 1954 when WHAW was sold to the Central West Virginia Service Corporation. In 1959 the station was granted power increase from 250 to 1,000 watts (daytime only). On August 29, 1972, WSSN FM was added as a sister station, at 102.3 Mhz, with 3,000 watts E.R.P.

On October 23, 1987, the FCC granted approval of license transfer to Stonewall Broadcasting Corporation, owned by Bruce Beam, Jr., President and General Manager. WHAW/WSSN had been simulcasting for many years. On January 4, 1988, WSSN FM split from WHAW AM, beginning independent programming with the ‘Starstation’ format from Satellite Music Network. WHAW continues to program ‘live’ country music from 6:00 a.m. until official sundown daily. Future plans call for WHAW AM to go stereo and operate 24 hours per day. The stations are located on East Weston Hill, Weston.


Two Stories (1954)

This is a letter to the editor published in Broadcasting magazine on Feb. 1, 1954.

EDITOR:

Last night, Saturday, Jan. 23, WHAW conducted its annual March of Dimes show. It wasn’t a show, as most people think of shows. From 7 to 11 p.m., four hours, I sat on the hard bench of the WHAW organ and pitched and played. During those four hours, we received 1,111 telephone calls, with contributions totalling $3,629.30. The entire county has a population of only 18,000, Weston a population of 9,000 . . .

That is the first story . . .

Just now—between 3:15 and 3:30 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 24—I listened to the beginning of a show from the network of which we are an affiliate. A disc jockey, of sorts, was flamboyantly introduced whereupon said jockey suggested that after the first record he would make an offer just out of this world: A picture of 100 radio, tv and motion picture stars for just one dollar. At that point we cut the show and filled with transcriptions and public service announcements. However, we monitored the show on the line. We now consider the performance completely out of line with all reasonable and proper concepts of legitimate radio . . .

There are the two stories, analogous, perhaps, in that if we carried the type of thing the network is resorting to, the March of Dimes show would have gone to pot . . .

If the networks and stations begin, frantically and fearfully, to grasp each economic straw at this crucial moment of evolution, the medium of radio is dying. If, however, we face the facts, legitimately and fearlessly, with our heads up and our brains at work, we’ll live to see another day when, with tv a flourishing companion industry, radio will be doing a bigger and better job than ever before . . .

Harold McWhorter
President
WHAW Weston, W. Va.


Broadcasting, Jan. 23, 1956

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