WFCI was one of the origional four radio stations in the pre-World War II Providence market along with WPRO, WEAN and WJAR 1. WFCI was an affiliate of the NBC Blue network which in 1943 became simply the Blue Network & finally changed to the American Broadcasting Company, or ABC, in 1945 2.
WFCI was owned by Frank Crook, Inc. a local car dealer 3 there is a reference to WFCI 1926 in Radio World (see below) and also a new frequency request and change. 6
Providence Journal August 21, 1926
Frank Crook was also a member of the United Motor Industries of Rhode Island and organzization of men engadged in the motor car, garage, tire and accessory industry 4. It is not known if he was a principal of the Pawtucket Broadcasting Company. If this WFCI is the same station, it was on 1330 kHz on or before June 30, 1927, with 50 watts then moving to 1240 kHz (not yet a Class IV frequency as it would become under NARBA) a year later. WFCI's first studio/office location was at 450 Main Street in Pawtucket.
In 1928 WFCI is sold to Shartenberg's Department Store in Pawtucket. 7
Shartenberg's Department Store Photo courtesy of Lena Land
Providence Journal January 25, 1928
The original WFCI became WPAW which was merged into WPRO in May 1933. 1
WFCI was then restarted on March 29, 1941. W. Paul Oury was general manager, and George Sutherland was program director. 1
The station became a Mutual affiliate as of June 1, 1942 (prior to that it had served as WEAN's overflow station). WFCI moved to the Biltmore Hotel in Providence in 1949 and took WEAN's ABC affiliation. WFCI was relicensed to Providence in 1950. 1
In 1949 WFCI moved its principal studios to the Biltmore Hotel in Providence, taking over the ABC affiliation from WEAN in the process; it would become a Providence-licensed station the next year 5.
WFCI was sold to the Providence Journal-Bulletin in 1952 which changed the callsign to WPJB, matching their radio station on 105.1 MHz (now WWLI). When the Journal-Bulletin bought WEAN in 1954, it surrendered WPJB's license back to the FCC. 1
2 Blue Network
3 Broadcasting in Providence since World War II
4 The Automobile Journal, 1915
5 Broadcasting in Providence since World War II
6 Providence Journal, August 21, 1926
7 Providence Journal November 23, 1928
United States Department of Commerce Radio Division. February 29, 1928.