Haverhill Public Library is helping WHAV celebrate the launch of the first FM station 74 years ago today

Haverhill Public Library is today helping WHAV celebrate another milestone – the first of what would be three different WHAV FM radio launches that took place 74 years ago.

The library is sharing its special collections archive of WHAV on social media to commemorate the FM station’s debut on April 14, 1948. The original FM signal arrived a year after an AM station launched. FM would prove ahead of its time, ending in 1952.

The launch of WHAV-FM was accompanied at the time by a note describing the advantages over AM radio.

“FM is the newest radio transmission with strong appeal due to its noise-free reception. FM is able to overcome almost all static, fading and station interference and enhances natural color tone. Tone fidelity is one of its chief achievements,” a statement said 74 years ago.

A second incarnation of WHAV-FM took place in 1959. An announcer who called himself “Bob Douglas” voiced the program tests of WHAV.


“This is WHAV-FM in Haverhill Massachusetts. We are currently testing our new transmitter at 92.5 megacycles with an effective radiated power of 20,000 watts. We would appreciate a map from you showing where you live, the signal strength you you hear, the quality of the broadcast and the time of day you heard us.

Douglas would become well known over a decade later using his real name, Bob Clinkscale, as the Channel 5 news anchor.

Today, 97.9 WHAV is the third WHAV FM station to broadcast from the original 1947 transmitter building on Silver Hill.

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