* — Correction: A reader correctly points out via email that reserving the call letters doesn’t guarantee their use on any particular frequency. — Jason Togyer, PBRTV contributor.
As reported by Scott Fybush in NorthEast Radio Watch, Bedford’s 1600 has abandoned the WHJB call letters.
That left them up for grabs … and Renda Broadcasting’s St. Pier Group has reserved them, apparently* for its 107.1 FM signal, licensed to Greensburg, according to the Federal Communications Commission’s database.
The move comes almost exactly 75 years after the original WHJB signed on from the Penn-Albert Hotel in Greensburg — Oct. 28, 1934, to be precise, according to Fybush’s wonderful 2009 Tower Site Calendar.
The supreme irony, of course, is that 107.1 signed on in 1966 as WHJB-FM, the companion station to what was then WHJB (620), a heritage full-service AM. If the call letters land back on 107.1, they’ll have come full circle.*
After stints doing “stereo country” and disco at WOKU, 107.1 became a classic rock station and was eventually sold to Sheridan Broadcasting, which used them to fill gaps in the signal of its late, lamented WAMO-FM.
Then Sheridan spun the station off to Renda, which could now use the heritage call letters “WHJB” on the signal.
Returning the heritage calls to the Greensburg airwaves could bolster Renda’s efforts to re-establish 107.1 as a Westmoreland County-focused station.
The 620 signal, known as WKHB since 1999, is now licensed to Irwin and owned by Bob Stevens’ Broadcast Communications Inc., which will soon launch a Westmoreland County FM station of its own on 103.1.
Cue “The Circle of Life.”
(Full disclaimer: The editor of PBRTV is a Broadcast Communications employee and the author of this post is an occasional fill-in producer. Opinions expressed at PBRTV are not those of BCI or any affiliate and no connection is expressed or implied.)