WHAV 97.9 FM Begins Equipment Tests

From left to right, Dan Guy, David J. Doherty and Steve Barbrick compare notes on next steps in placing WHAV FM 97.9 on the air.

Engineers David J. Doherty and Dan Guy begin installation of WHAV's new Nautel transmitter.

Engineers David J. Doherty and Dan Guy begin installation of WHAV’s new Nautel transmitter.

The WHAV call sign, associated with Haverhill broadcasting since 1947, has returned to the airwaves.

While formal ceremonies, inaugurating a return of local radio service, are still several weeks away, WHAV’s antenna was hoisted up 350 feet above Silver Hill Wednesday and secured in place by Barbrick Tower and Contracting Co., of Merrimac. The site was originally built for WHAV in 1947. At about 3 p.m., Wednesday, WHAV’s new FM transmitter entered equipment test mode and began radiating its new FM signal throughout Haverhill and surrounding towns.

“It’s a milestone! Greater Haverhill will have access to comprehensive local news, weather, emergency information, community announcements and a wide array of local programming conveniently on their FM radios,” said President and General Manager Tim Coco. Coco first went to work for WHAV in 1978 as an intern and, soon thereafter, joined the on-air and news teams at the station. The original AM station’s studios moved to Methuen in 1995 and the call letters were changed to WCEC in 2002.

The new WHAV project began more than a dozen years ago, at the start of 2004, when WHAV’s traditional programming appeared on internet radio at WHAV.net, followed by simulcasts of its audio over a number of cable television public access, government and education channels.

This week’s tower and transmitter site work was under the direction of engineer David J. Doherty of Skywaves Consulting, Millbury. Additional engineering, audio and information technology services were provided by Dan Guy. Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP, Washington, provides legal representation before the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

Besides Coco, members of the board of non-profit Public Media of New England Inc. are William D. Cox Jr., a Haverhill attorney, and Anita M. Purcell, a former banker and real estate broker.

6 thoughts on “WHAV 97.9 FM Begins Equipment Tests

    • Thank you Chairman! Greater Haverhill not only deserves an FM radio station of its own, but citizens have a right to know if their democracy is working. Thanks again!