History of WAAO, Charleston

WAAO was the first radio station in Charleston, and the second licensed radio station in West Virginia. The station was licensed on April 10, 1922, and the license was deleted on Dec. 1, 1922. The licensee was Radio Service Company, and the main purpose of the station was probably to help the company sell radios. WAAO operated on 360 meters (833 kHz).

On July 6, 1922, the Charleston Daily Mail reported, “Due to changes that are being made in the transmitting set at station WAAO of the Radio Service company, the regular programme that is broadcasted every evening, the service will be discontinued for several days. The transmitting set is being moved from the top floor of the Solof building to the offices of the company on the first floor.”

Great Wireless Broadcasting Station
Is to Be Erected In This City


One of the Few Powerful Transmission Stations in Country
to Serve West Virginia


Cooperation With the Radio Service Company and Its Allied Interests


Government Issues License, and Operations Expected to Begin This Month

This article appeared in the Charleston Daily Mail on March 5, 1922.

Wireless telephone broadcasting stations in the United States are only 35 in number. Charleston is to have the 36th.

This pioneer project for West Virginia was announced last night by local interests back of the movement. The operating concern is already incorporated under the name of The Radio Service company, of which H. G. Scott is the head; and it is expected that the company will begin actual operations within the next two weeks.

The exact location in the city of the transmission, or broadcasting, station has not yet been announced. For the company’s general business, aside from transmission, including the sale of radio machines and supplies, the large ground-floor store room in the northeast corner of the new Solof building, near the junction of Quarrier and Dunbar streets, has been leased.

According to the company’s plans, the people of West Virginia and of eastern Ohio and Kentucky, through the use of radio receiving sets, will be able to hear music, speeches, sermons, news bulletins and other matter sent out from the Charleston station every day and evening. This service will be given free. Neither this company nor any other at present is licensed to transmit messages as a commercial business.

The establishment of a radio broadcasting station in Charleston is expected to be of great advantage to all of West Virginia. While it is true that the Pittsburgh station of the Westingouse can be plainly heard in this state, the Charleston station will broadcast local matters of special interest in this state. News bulletins will be sent, often in advance of their publication by the newspapers; local information and musicians will be ...

A contract has been entered into between the new company and the Radio Corporation of America under which the Radio Service company will be exclusive jobbers in this territory for the products supplied by the Radio Corporation and the Westinghouse and General Electric companies. Stock has been ordered and shipment will begin, it is said, at once.

The broadcasting station which is to be erected in Charleston will have a normal sending radius of at least 150 miles. In ther words it will have at least equal capacity with the Westinghouse station known as WBZ at Springfield, Mass. It will probably operate on a wavelength of 120 (?) meters. The Springfield station is not supposed to be heard under normal conditions beyond Manhattan Island, on the south, but on special occasions it is heard at much greater distances.

The Charleston station will fully cover West Virginia, as well as eastern sections of Ohio and Kentucky and the northern part of Tennessee. It is to be conducted strictly as a local or regional enterprise, the purpose being to broadcast such matters as are of special interest to receivers in this part of the country.

Charleston Daily Mail, June 6, 1922

Charleston Daily Mail, June 10, 1922

Charleston Daily Mail, June 14, 1922

Charleston Daily Mail, June 15, 1922

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