[Thursday, May 12, 2011] – Amherst, MA. Public Radio Station 88.5FM WFCR plans many changes in its 50th year. Martin Miller, CEO and General Manager of WFCR, announced the station's plans for ex-pansion in front of a sold out crowd of 350 public radio supporters at the station's 2011 Arts & Humani-ties Awards Gala and 50th Anniversary Celebration at the Log Cabin in Holyoke last night.
"WFCR has been through a great deal of growth – especially in the last 15 years. And the media land-scape and technology have changed dramatically in that time as well," said Martin Miller, CEO and Gen-eral Manager of WFCR and WNNZ. "We decided that we had a unique opportunity at 50, to reflect all of these changes, and to position ourselves for future growth and greater service to our communities."
WFCR Steps out as New England Public Radio
After decades of expansion, a new name is in order. One that conveys the diversity of programming on WFCR and WNNZ, and our listeners, and that looks towards our future. We proudly announce our new name – New England Public Radio – whose five bars harken back to our Five College roots while captur-ing the momentum we still feel after all these years. New England Public Radio combines the best of NPR, other national public programming, and signature local programming to serve longtime News and Music devotees, and serious News and Talk consumers.
The story of New England Public Radio is one of steady growth. It begins with WFCR 88.5 FM – original-ly Four-College Radio, then Five (Amherst, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke, and Smith Colleges, and UMass Amherst) – which for 50 years has informed, entertained, inspired, and enriched listeners throughout western Massachusetts. That was only the beginning. Galvanized by donor support and outstanding audience numbers, we expanded geographically and diversified with online formats, programming, and community outreach.
For News and Music devotees, New England Public Radio is WFCR 88.5 FM with translators through-out the Berkshires and in Worcester, delivering the excellence that so many have trusted, valued, and relied on for 50 years. From All Things Considered to Jazz a la Mode, WFCR informs, entertains, in-spires, and enriches lives from Hartford to Brattleboro, from Worcester to the New York border. It is the only station in the region to carry significant locally produced classical and jazz music programming.
For those who crave News and Talk 24/7, New England Public Radio has all-news AM 640 and 91.7 & 98.9 FM WNNZ. Vital, in-depth, comprehensive, and provocative, WNNZ satisfies serious news and information listeners from Hartford to Rutland, from New Hampshire to Albany, with intelligent and con-sidered programming from NPR to the BBC.
New England Public Radio will launch a brand new website at digital.nepr.net in June and begin rolling out its new logo, in the same month.
Major Expansion to Springfield, Massachusetts
On May 5th, The WFCR Foundation, signed a purchase and sale agreement for the first floor of 1537 Main Street, also known as the Fuller Block Building, at the corner of Main and Bridge Streets in the heart of downtown Springfield.
Combined with the Peggy and David Starr Studio at WGBY (44 Hampden Street, Springfield) and a broadcast production suite and offices at Hampshire House on the UMass Amherst Campus, the station will add over 12,000 square feet of space in Springfield, to expand, transform and build New England Public Radio of the future.
For more than 45 years, WFCR has operated out of a small portion of Hampshire House, a former dormitory, turned academic office building located on the University of Massachusetts Amherst campus. The station-which currently serves an audience of over 170,000 – has managed to produce and deliver outstanding, award winning content from a handful of offices and studios squeezed into a space meas-uring approximately 4,000 usable square feet.
Now, thanks to the Greater Springfield – UMass Amherst Partnership, WFCR is seizing an extraordinary opportunity. The Partnership, announced in 2008, is designed to promote collaborations that will lead to the revitalization of Springfield's economy. For UMass Amherst and for WFCR/WNNZ, a UMass licensee, expansion into Springfield will enable both organizations to simultaneously meet important goals.
The 50th Anniversary Campaign for New England Public Radio, which launches its "quiet phase" this month, will ensure that WFCR and WNNZ have the facilities and equipment, technology, and program-matic resources they need to conceive, produce, and transmit the high standard of content listeners want, need, and expect as New England Public Radio begins the next fifty years of serving the re-gion. The Campaign goal is $7MM. Jack Dill, President of Colebrook Realty Services. Inc. will serve as the Campaign Chair and David Scott, former UMass Amherst Chancellor will serve as Vice Chair of the 50th Anniversary Campaign. Retired NPR Foreign Correspondent Anne Garrels will act as honorary chair.
WFCR to Build a New FM Station in Adams, Massachusetts
The WFCR Foundation has acquired the rights to 98.9 FM in Adams, which will become the third station in the all-news WNNZ network (joining AM640 Westfield and 91.7FM Deerfield). It will serve all of north-ern Berkshire County. The cost of the station is $189,750. Construction will begin once the WFCR Foundation raises the funds needed to purchase a new transmitter and antenna, and following the sub-mission and approval of the required FCC Construction Permit.
Since 2007, WFCR has programmed five translator stations in Berkshire County: 101.1FM (Adams/North Adams); 98.7FM (Great Barrington); 98.3FM (Lee); 106.1FM (Pittsfield); 96.3FM (Williamstown), with the same news and music format as the 88.5FM. Adding the all-news WNNZ network will allow lis-teners in the Berkshires the same choice of format that those in other parts of the region enjoy.
For the Press:
Interview opportunities are available with:
Martin Miller, CEO & General Manager
John Kennedy, Vice Chancellor for University Relations at UMass Amherst (WFCR's License holder)
Jack Dill, Chair of the 50th Anniversary Campaign
Anne Garrels, Honorary Chair of the 50th Anniversary Campaign (former NPR reporter and CT resi-dent)
Marc Berman, Chair of the WFCR Foundation
Contact: Vanessa Cerillo, Director of Marketing and Communications,, WFCR & WNNZ at 413.545.9717 or firstname.lastname@example.org.