97.9 WHAV Celebrates Five Years of Original, Continuous Local News on FM Radio and Evolving New Media

Former state Rep. Brian S. Dempsey told listeners five years ago that some doubted WHAV could find a new home on FM. (WHAV News photograph.)

97.9 WHAV’s Silver Hill tower site. (WHAV News photograph.)

Tomorrow, Greater Haverhill celebrates a milestone with five years of original, local news on FM radio!

It is all thanks to you—WHAV’s members, underwriters, listeners and others who continue to believe in the bright future of Greater Haverhill and the Merrimack Valley.

In 2016, WHAV made the successful transition to FM radio. Not surprisingly, the very first program emanating from the new transmitter on Silver Hill was local news. There has been news, without interruption, every day since. The original WHAV signed on AM radio almost 75 years ago, but some doubted it could ever overcome the legal and technical hurdles in the way of building a new FM station. Former Rep. Brian S. Demspey, speaking at the new station’s inauguration, summed up the early skepticism.

“I want you to know, because I’ve heard this from so many people that are much more versed in the challenges with the FCC, that in the fall of 2013 when Tim (Coco) submitted an application to get a license to get an FM signal recognized—that was no easy task and an uphill battle. And, people in the industry were, I think, not only impressed, but amazed that you were able to do that successfully,” remarked Dempsey.

Engineers David J. Doherty and Dan Guy begin installation of WHAV's new Nautel transmitter in 2016 in the very same rack WHAV AM used nearly 75 years ago. (WHAV News photograph.)

WHAV’s informative and entertaining sound is distributed over 97.9 FM, online audio, on podcasts and over cable television, while its “no log-in” multimedia editions appear on the web, via email newsletters and in social media. The WHAV network delivers local news to more than 200,000 Merrimack Valley residents. Others have recognized the necessity of covering local news, but only WHAV’s unique approach has succeeded. It remains Greater Haverhill’s only public radio station and nonprofit local news service.

In fact, WHAV is the only local outlet completely blanketing the local trading area. The vast majority of residents, businesses, educational and healthcare organizations and nonprofits are primarily interested in these adjacent communities.

Thank you again!

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