WSAR is the number one AM radio station on the South Coast. With its studios and transmitter in Somerset, Massachusetts, it broadcasts on 1480 kHz. Its transmitter power output is 5,000 watts (unlimited hours) using two towers at 1 Home St. in Somerset.
WSAR's original owner was the Doughty & Welch Electric Company. The station's first air date was July 3, 1923. At that time, WSAR broadcast on 1180kc with 10 watts. It stayed on 1180 through 1926, and in 1926 power was increased to 100 watts. WSAR then moved to Portsmouth, Rhode Island and changed frequency to 1190kc, still with 100 watts, by June 30, 1927. In 1928, WSAR moved back to Fall River and changed frequency again, to 1410kc. During the late 1920s the power was increased to 1,000 watts. An early slogan used by WSAR (sometime between 1926 and 1932) was "Fall River Looms Up."
WSAR was on 1450kc with 2,500 watts of power by June 30, 1930. The owner at the time was still the Doughty & Welch Electric Company.
With the adoption of the North American Radio Broadcasting Agreement, WSAR's frequency shifted from 1450 to 1480kc, effective @ 03:00 Eastern Time on March 29, 1941. In 1941-42 WSAR was an affiliate of both the Boston Red Sox and Boston Braves networks. In 1945 the Doughty & Welch Electric Company finally sold WSAR to K&M Publishing. In 1948, WSAR was a Mutual affiliate with 5,000 watts of power & had a license for WSAR-FM/103.7 (Channel 279). However, by 1950 WSAR-FM was no longer in operation.
In 1989, Fall River entrepreneurs Jim and Bob Karam purchased local AM station WALE, changing the station's call letters to WHTB - Hometown Broadcasting.
Then, in 1992, the Karams acquired WSAR, marking the first time in FCC history that an AM radio duopoly - two AM stations licensed to one market - existed. Both WSAR and WHTB still exist and thrive under the Karams today.
WSAR prides itself on keeping its listeners informed and up to date. WSAR was the area's sole live news source during Winter Storm Nemo (the Blizzard of 2013) remaining on the air around the clock, in keeping with the station's rich history.
WSAR has offered programming through hurricanes, blizzards, wars and national emergencies. WSAR broadcast notice of the beginning of World War I and the end of World War II. The station broadcast news of the Attack on Pearl Harbor, the assasssination of President John F. Kennedy, the devastating Kerr Mill fire and also stayed on the air, around the clock, during the Blizzards of 1978, 2013, 2015, the Notre Dame Church fire, the events of 9/11 and the 2014 Fall River Mayoral Recall among many other historic events.
WSAR is also called the "Voice of the Southcoast" because special guests, callers, politicians and other influential newsmakers and community leaders dominate the airwaves while WSAR's personalities engage and challenge them.
The station's current format is news, talk and sports although in earlier decades it was a full service music station playing Top 40 hits. Today, WSAR's flagship programs are The Bristol County Breakfast Club with Hector "Happy Hec" Gauthier in the Morning, The WSAR Newsroom, and The Will Flanagan Show.
WSAR also carries live game coverage for the Boston Red Sox, New England Patriots and the Boston Celtics. We've broadcast the three unforgettable Red Sox World Series, the Patriots' five Super Bowl victories and the Celtics during their successful seasons in the 70's and 80's and their Championsip in 2008.
The station is also committed to community service, broadcasting coverage over the years of Fall River Celebrates America, Michael's Fund, American Cancer Society Relay for Life, the Southcoast Health Expo, Operation Christmas, We Can Food Drive, and a host of other special events throughout the Southcoast.
Current owners Jim and Bob Karam, successful and respected businessmen, are committed to quality local
broadcasting and are deeply involved in the community.