eastern Long Island, NY
|Frequency||See § Stations|
|Translator(s)||See § Translator|
|First air date||June 1978|
|Format||News/Talk (Public radio)|
|Affiliations||NPR, American Public Media, Public Radio International|
|Owner||Connecticut Public Broadcasting|
Connecticut Public Radio is a network of public radio stations in the state of Connecticut, western Massachusetts, and eastern Long Island affiliated with NPR (National Public Radio). It is owned by Connecticut Public Broadcasting Network, which also owns Connecticut Public Television.
In the early 1970s, WTIC in Hartford dropped its longtime classical music format in favor of adult contemporary music, and sold its library to CPTV. Looking for a way to put the library to use, CPTV decided to get into radio. At the time, while Hartford got a fairly decent signal from WFCR in Amherst, Massachusetts and much of southwestern Connecticut was covered by WNYC-AM-FM in New York City, most of the rest of the state didn't even get a grade B signal from an NPR station. New Haven, for instance, had to content itself with a translator of WFCR on 90.5 FM. Finding available frequencies proved difficult, however. In addition to the crowded state of the noncommercial end of the FM dial in the Northeast, there was a considerable glut of 10-watt stations in the state. Ultimately, CPTV bought the 90.5 frequency from the Friends of WFCR, the New Haven group that owned the WFCR translator, and used it as the linchpin for what would become Connecticut Public Radio.
The network's first station, WPBH, signed on in June 1978. The station was licensed to Meriden, halfway between Hartford and New Haven, in order to serve both cities (Hartford and New Haven, then as now, are separate radio markets). CPBI originally wanted the WNPR calls, but the FCC turned it down due to objections from WPLR in New Haven, who claimed the calls sounded too similar. It became WPKT in 1984 after board chairman Homer Babbidge requested the FCC change the call letters to honor CPBN head Paul K. Taff.
For the first 20 years of its existence, the network broadcast a mix of classical music, jazz and NPR talk. However, starting in the late 1990s, WNPR began gradually increasing the news programming on its schedule. One of the first casualties of this change was the popular classical music program Morning pro musica, which was fed from WGBH-FM in Boston. The program had aired on WNPR as part of the terms by which the Friends of WFCR sold the 90.5 frequency to CPBI. However, by the late 1990s, this resulted in WNPR only being able to run the first hour of Morning Edition. Ultimately, WNPR decided to cancel Morning pro musica, even though network executives knew it would cause a major loss in funding, though the change of direction in news-heavy NPR member stations, especially after the September 11 attacks occurred, made the format change palatable. Ultimately, in 2006, WNPR dropped classical music altogether in favor of a full-time news and information format. In 2013, the station launched a new online service WNPR News at wnpr.org.
From 2011 to 2016, Connecticut Public Radio operated WAIC (91.9 FM), the college radio station of American International College in Springfield, Massachusetts. WAIC first went on air in February 1967, going stereo in 1985. Initially programmed from American International College (at various points programming top 40 and adult hits), it became a full-time relay of Connecticut Public Radio on November 1, 2011. This ended in 2016, when WNPR turned over operation of WAIC to WFCR, the NPR member for Western Massachusetts. WFCR made WAIC a satellite of its all-news network.
WNPR features the programs Where We Live, The Colin McEnroe Show, The Faith Middleton Show and The Needle Drop. All are based out of Hartford except The Faith Middleton Show, which has been based at the New Haven studio since it first went on the air. The station also syndicates NPR programming.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Maria which hit Puerto Rico in September 2017, WNPR produced a documentary entitled "The Island Next Door" focused on the impact of the storm on the island and the links between New England and Puerto Rico. The documentary was released in late 2018 to coincide with the one year mark since the storm ravaged Puerto Rico.
WNPR has received many awards over the past few decades. It has received two George Foster Peabody Awards, five Ohio State Awards and two Gracie Allen Awards. It has also gotten over 60 Associated Press Awards, which include eight Mark Twain Awards for Overall Station Excellence.
|Call sign||Frequency||City of license||Facility ID||ERP
|Class||Transmitter coordinates||Call sign meaning|
|WEDW-FM||88.5 FM||Stamford, Connecticut||13619||2,000||92 meters (302 ft)||A|
|WNPR||90.5 FM (HD)||Meriden, Connecticut||13627||18,500||251 meters (823 ft)||B||Coordinates:||Norwich Public Radio|
|WPKT||89.1 FM (HD)||Norwich, Connecticut||13618||5,100||180 meters (590 ft)||B1||Paul K Taff|
|WRLI-FM||91.3 FM||Southampton, New York||13598||10,000||95 meters (312 ft)||B1||Radio Long Island|
|City of license||ERP
|Class||Transmitter coordinates||FCC info|
|W258AC||99.5||Storrs, Connecticut||10||117 m (384 ft)||D||FCC|