The Boston Radio Dial: WAMG(AM)

Who, What, Where

Community: Dedham
Frequency: 890 kHz
Class: B
Ownership: J Sports Boston, LLC
(William H. Ingram, Jessamy Tang, John W. Walker III, John T. Woodruff)
Studio: The Schrafft Center, Suite 200
529 Main St.
Charlestown, MA 02129
Transmitter End of Sewell Street
Ashland, MA 01721
Phones:
Office +1 617 242 1800
Format: Tropical
Networks: ESPN Radio

Technical Parameters

WAMG transmits from the original facilities of WBIV 1060 (now WBIX) in Ashland. Power is 25 kW day, 3.4 kW night (different patterns day and night). The night pattern has a single large lobe running due east from the transmitter site, and a much smaller lobe running due south; the pattern protects co-channel WLS and first-adjacent WCBS, among others. The half-wave towers run in a straight east-west line; the transmitter is a Harris DX-25. The transmitter site is located at the end of Sewell Street, off Route 126, between Ashland Center and Holliston.

WAMG has a construction permit to increase night power to 6 kW, from the same site.

Station History

The original construction permit for WBMA was granted to Family Radio in the late '80s, and was last modified on April 7, 1994. Family didn't have the cash to build, and ended up exchanging the 890 CP with Satellite Radio Network, who at that time operated WBIV 1060 from the Ashland site shown above. (The original 890 construction permit proposed diplexing on the 1060 towers.) WBIV was later resold to Alexander Langer, who returned it to the air as a daytimer from a different site.

WBMA was finally put on the air in early October, 1994, as a split-time operation with WBIV's daytime programming on 890 (at 2.5 kW ND) and the nighttime programming on 1060, identifying as “WBMA Dedham, WBIV Natick”. One of the two old 1060 transmitters was retuned to 890 for the new operation; this would later be replaced with a more modern transmitter by a subsequent owner. On November 3rd, the facilities were switched over to 890 full-time. The following February, the leased-time ethnic programming was dumped, and the station began running Liberty's Prime Sports Radio network; a call change to WBPS (for “Boston's Prime Sports”, presumably) was applied for on January 23rd, but the application mistakenly listed WBIV as the station to be changed. An application for a covering license was received by the FCC on February 17, 1995. Legal IDs were “WBMA Dedham-Boston”. In April 1995, a correct call-letter change was filed, which became effective on or before June 1st.

(The transfer of WBIV to Family and WBMA to WBIV, Inc. was consummated on January 20, 1995.)

Despite introducing a local morning-drive talk show with former Red Sox player Rico Petrocelli and acquiring broadcast rights to the Boston Blazers soccer team, WBPS was unable to build an audience, and at the end of Prime Sports' lease with Douglas Broadcasting in February 1996, sports programming on WBPS came to an temporary end. Between March and September, a variety of locally-produced leased-time sports programs were attempted, but listeners stubbornly refused to appear. With the demise of leased-time programming on WROR in October, most of that station's ethnic programmers moved to WBPS.

In April 1998, WBPS was sold to New England Continental Media, an affiliate of Salem Communications; in June, Salem cancelled the purchase. In October of that year, national Spanish-language chain Mega Communications agreed to purchase WBPS for $4 million.

By late 2001, financial pressures had forced Mega to lease several of its stations to other operators, and WBPS was among them. On December 1, WBPS dropped its “Amor 890” Spanish-language AC format for the satellite-delivered high-tech talk format of CNet Radio. When CNet Radio ceased operations, WBPS returned to leased-time programming.

On November 4, 2003, Mega sold Boston's WAMG 1150 to Salem Communications. Just prior to the sale, Mega swapped callsigns and formats between 1150 and 890, where it stands as of this writing. Late in 2004, WAMG began once again to share its transmitter site, with the return of 1060's nighttime operations.

In February of 2005, Mega agreed to exit the Boston market by selling WAMG to J-Sports Radio, a venture funded by private-equity firm WallerSutton, for $9 million (including simulcast sister WLLH Lowell/Lawrence). (WallerSutton also funded Regent Communications and Route 81 Radio.) The venture is headed by ESPN alum Jessamy Tang. On July 24, 2005, WAMG and WLLH relaunched as “ESPN Radio 890/1400”, with the syndicated sports network's programming augmented by a local talk show hosted by Boston Herald columnist Mike Felger.

In 2006, WAMG was granted a construction permit to further increase its night power, to 6 kW.

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This station profile was written by the editors of The Archives @ BostonRadio.org. We have no relationship with the station; please send any comments or questions about their programming directly to the station. Network connectivity courtesy of MIT CSAIL.

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