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Thread: WAHT

  1. #1


    bossjock 56 recently mentioned 1510 WAHT in another thread. I'll be there are a lot who don't remember WAHT, at least the glory days. As he stated,it was a hot little radio station with great audio and reverb. Does anybody know the history? When was sign on? Did the call letters stand for anything? Who put them on air? Format history? I know at one point they were pretty soft by the early 80s. Lots of great jocks went through there including R.J. Harris and Jim Buchanan as well as Tim Burns. There were at least two fires associated with it. Anyone care to fill us in?

  2. #2

    Re: WAHT

    I believe that a couple who owned a station in Watertown, New York with calls that when pronounced sounded like "Watt" (I can't recall their exact calls), so when they purchased the Annville license, they changed the call letters to something that sounded like their Watertown outlet, i.e. WAHT at 1510 was born. Local businessman the late John Anspach, owned a recycling company (he did not like to have others call it a junk yard) and purchased the station in the mid 80's (?) as an investment. Owning a radio station may have also helped when he later he threw his hat into Lebanon County politics. John hired his friend Hy White, a former WLBR employee and well known broadcaster as the general manager. Many who read this site may know of the ironic story of John's death of a heart attach while he was at a WAHT remote at a Lebanon bank that had opened a new branch. John had a seat on the bank's board of directors. His estate did not want a radio station and sold it to another individual who eventually changed the format from music to news talk. Several years later, this owner was convicted of setting fire to the station and sentenced to prison. Pat Sickafus (Garrett) knew this owner and I believe bought the license for $1.00 and purchased the real estate off Rt. 241 outside of Lebanon where the 3 towers remain to this day. Pat returned the station to the air, believe it or not with the burned out RCA (?) transmitter by his engineer, who has since passed. That transmitter was replaced a short time later with a new Harris unit. The studios which were actually located at Pat's gas station in Stausstown off I-78, were eventually moved to downtown Lebanon then to Palmyra. There are gaps in this story so anyone can jump in. WAHT/WWSM indeed has a colorful history.

  3. #3

    Re: WAHT

    I believe that a couple who owned a station in Watertown, New York with calls that when pronounced sounded like "Watt" (I can't recall their exact calls), so when they purchased the Annville license, they changed the call letters to something that sounded like their Watertown outlet, i.e. WAHT at 1510 was born.
    Question: Did this couple put 1510 on the air or did they buy it from someone else and change the call letters?

  4. #4

    Re: WAHT

    According to the FCC records, Valley Corporation Corporation (apparently "the couple"), applied for and received the license in Sept. 1968, using the call letters WAHT. A few years later, Valley sold to a newspaper publisher (why, don't know), Progressive Publishing Company. Valley sold to Anspach in 1984. So, it appears the original call letters were WAHT. I believe the Valley sale was prompted by a divorce settlement. May be wrong, unsure. It is difficult, if not impossible to trace old FCC records and the memory is fading by each passing day!

  5. #5

    Re: WAHT

    Yes....the original calls were WAHT. They went on the air in the fall of '68. They had a sort of "Drake" type format, although they were not Top 40. They ran news at 15 minutes after the hour and 10 before the hour and called it 15-10 NEWS. The format was actually what would now be called HOT AC. Back then it was often called Contemporary MOR....or CHICKEN ROCK. They did play some top 40 after 3pm and had a Saturday countdown show. I remeber them putting out a printed survey as well. They didn't actually become a full time Top 40 until sometime in '71 when Tim Burns was brought on board. A guy named Bill Sullivan was the GM...and quite a character. The original morning guy was Fred Williams. I think he was PD as well. Fred went on to a talk career both at WAHT and WKBO. I do remember a guy named Steve Randall, who did PM drive around '71. Talk about a set of pipes. Sunday mornings it was Country music with Frankie Dee.

  6. #6

    Re: WAHT

    Loved Frankie Dee. Fred Williams was a bit of a an antagonist for the day. All in all though, very good radio. would do well today.

  7. #7

    Re: WAHT

    I remember when WAHT went on the air, the first day in fact. I saw a commercial for the station on WLYH Channel 15 one evening. It was a very simple production. All the WAHT personalities were in a line, single-file, and each one popped his head up on screen to invite people to listen to the new station. I dialed in the next day and there it was. It was in the summer of 1968. It had to have been in the summer because I would have been in high school at the time and couldn't have listened if it had been in the fall. It was a good sounding station from the get-go. I don't recall Fred Williams doing mornings but the rest of the staff was Kevin J. Molloy and a guy named Bill Walker. Kevin J wasn't there long before he went to WFEC. WAHT wasn't Top 40 at the time, more of an up-tempo MOR, or "Chicken Rock" as someone mentioned. I remember they played the heck out of Jerry Jeff Walker's original "Mr. Bojangles," definitely not a huge Top 40 hit but a fine version of the song. They went Top 40 around the time Tim Burns arrived and were really quite good for a daytimer out of Annville-Cleona PA. I also remember Steve Randall. He was great with a perfect radio voice. I don't know what happened to him after he left there but he really could have gone to the majors, he was that good.

  8. #8

    Re: WAHT

    From what I understand...Bill Walker was the first Ops Manager....but didn't stay long. He went to WGSA in Ephrata....and later started an ad agency. He was the voice of Columbia Jewelers for years. Another early stand out was a guy named Keith Waltman, who ended up at WHVR in hanover before leaving radio. I was told that Steve Randall left radio and got into the insurance business....or some related line of work that where he could actually make a decent living. Fred Williams ended up in mornings....and I believe he took over the programming until Tim Burns arrived. Word had it that Tim was the only PD that could work with Bill Sullivan. Bill trusted Tim....and Tim could deal with Bill's tirades.

  9. #9

    Re: WAHT

    Sadly, here's an era I remember only too well: The Joey Wellz era. That's right, the former Comets member, recording artist and performer who is still kicking around today. Tim Burns left WAHT for WKBO in April/May on 1979. Sometime thereafter, Joey Wellz was hired to program WAHT. Don't know if he had any radio experience, but it sure didn't sound like it. He christened the station "Cloud 15", overlooking Central PA. He played the most obscure oldies I ever heard mixed with his own recordings. Since this was 1979, we're talking mostly 50s and earl 60s. Seems to me by the end of the summer, Joey was gone.

  10. #10

    Re: WAHT

    Sign on was August 4, 1968. Plaque over the steps to the basement said so. The station in Watertown NY was WOTT. The couple that started WAHT (Valley Communications Corporation) were Bill and Dortha Sullivan. The transmitter was a Harris BC5H. In audio processing, besides the ever-present reverb, they used a Volumax, Audimax, Dynamic Presence Equalizer (all CBS) and an IMP 3 by Processing Plus from Emmaus, PA. Console was a Gatesway 80. More to come if my brain allows...

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