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The earliest ancestor to WPRO, WKBF, began broadcasting from Cranston, Rhode Island on June 15, 1924, 1 owned by Dutee Wilcox Flint and operating at 1050 kHz; 2 in January 1925, the call letters were changed to WDWF, reflecting the owner's initials, and the station moved to 680 kHz 3 That December, Lincoln Studios began to share ownership of the station with Flint; Lincoln broadcast its programming under the call sign WLSI. 4 WDWF and WLSI moved to 800 kHz. by June 30, 1927, 5 to 1090 kHz in October, 6 to 1150 kHz in November, 6 and to 1210 kHz in February 1928. 7 By 1930, the studios for WDWF and WLSI were located in Providence. 7

The Cherry & Webb Era (September 1931-April 1959) Providence department store Cherry & Webb acquired the station in September 1931, and merged the two stations under a single license with the call letters WPRO. 8 The merged station formally relaunched on October 16. 9 The purchase made Cherry & Webb the third department store in Providence to get into radio broadcasting, after the 1922 launches of Shepard Stores' WEAN (now WPRV, a sister station to WPRO) and The Outlet Company's WJAR (now WHJJ). 11 The following February, Cherry & Webb purchased another station at 1210 kHz, WPAW in nearby Pawtucket, 10 which had been granted a license in August 1926 as WFCI, owned by Frank Cook Inc. 3 and operating at 1160 kHz, 13 14 moved to 1330 kHz by June 30, 1927, 7 to 1240 that August, 12 and to 1210 kHz in November 1928, concurrent with the change to WPAW.[18] Following the acquisition, the station used WPAW in tandem with WPRO until 1933. 15 16 The station moved to its current frequency, 630 kHz, in 1934. 17 WPRO was an affiliate of the short-lived American Broadcasting System in 1935; 18 in 1937, the station joined the CBS Radio Network, replacing charter affiliate WEAN. 19

Although WPRO's city of license was changed from Cranston to Providence soon after Cherry & Webb took over, 10 the station's transmitter remained in Cranston 15 until its destruction in the 1938 New England hurricane; 20 it then constructed a new transmission facility in East Providence. 21 FM service was added on April 17, 1948 with the debut of WPRO-FM (92.3 MHz), 13 and a television sister station, WPRO-TV (channel 12), went on the air March 27, 1955. 22


Click to enlarge
1st Broadcast WPRO Stamp Club



Click to enlarge
WPRO Transmitting Tube
In servce from 1937 to 1969
New England Wireless and Steam Museum

Click to enlarge
WPRO Matchbook


WPRO's Ed Person out on a remote with the owner of the Majestic Theater, Edward Fay
Rhode Island Radio, By John Rooke, Arcadia Publishing


WPRO's Mort Blender, Long time news personality seen here in a radio drama as "The Ghoul"
Rhode Island Radio, By John Rooke, Arcadia Publishing


WPRO's House Band, including Mort Blender (2nd row left), and Ed Person (2nd row right).
Rhode Island Radio, By John Rooke, Arcadia Publishing



1 A Chronology of AM Radio Broadcasting 1900-1960

2 U. S. Radio Stations as of June 30, 1924

3 Chronology of call letters WLSI

4 U. S. Radio Stations as of June 30, 1924

5 Radio Service Bulletins, 1915-1932. October 31, 1927

6 Radio Service Bulletins, 1915-1932. February 29, 1928

7 U. S. Radio Stations as of June 30, 1930

8 U. S. Radio Stations as of September 30, 1931

9 WPRO

10 Radio Service Bulletins, 1915-1932, February 29, 1932

11 Rhode Island Radio Hall of Fame

12 Radio Service Bulletins, 1915-1932. August 31, 1927

13 Broadcasting & Cable Market Place. 1992. p. A-306.

14 December 31, 1926

15 Pierre-Key's Radio Annual. 1933

16 Butler, Fred Clayton, ed. (September 1933). "index by Frequencies and Sundays's Time on the Air". Radex. Cleveland, Ohio: The Radex Press

17 Butler, Fred Clayton, ed. (September 1934). Radex (PDF). Cleveland, Ohio: The Radex Press

18 Butler, Fred Clayton, ed. (February 1935). "Index by Frequency and Dial Numbers". Radex. Cleveland, Ohio: The Radex Press

19 Taylor, Page, ed. (May 1937). "North American B.C. Stations by Frequency". Radex. Cleveland, Ohio: The Radex Press

20 Sudden Sea: The Great Hurricane of 1938. ISBN 0-316-73911-1

21 WPRO and its sisters, Providence, RI

22 Telecasting Yearbook-Marketbook 1955-56. 1955



United States Department of Commerce Radio Division. February 29, 1928.