WPIC is a radio station broadcasting a News Talk Information format. It is licensed to Sharon, Pennsylvania, United States, and serves Mercer County, Pennsylvania. Its signal covers much of the Youngstown radio market from its facility at 1965 Shenango Valley Freeway, Hermitage. WPIC Signed on the air October 25, 1938. The station is owned by Cumulus Media and features programming from ABC Radio, Jones Radio Network and Westwood One.

Station History:

At the Heiges Radio Electric store, 91 E State. sometime around 1932 the idea to build a radio station in Sharon PA was birthed. In 1935 John Fahnline Jr. and George and Al Heiges entered into a contract together, eventually the Sharon Herald represented by A.W. McDowel, became involved in the project. Even though the name of the new corporation was The Sharon Herald Broadcasting Company, the station was not technically owned by the Herald. John Fahnline Jr. and the Herald would own forty percent each with the Heiges Brothers in for a twenty percent stake. John Fahnline Jr. was installed as the president and GM of the station. The first order of business were the call letters’, after much discussion someone from The Herald suggested WPIC which stands for Western Pennsylvania Industrial Center.

In 1938 the date of October 25th was tabbed for opening ceremonies at 11:30 am. These were the first words heard on Sharons new radio station:

Good morning, friends---you are now listening to radio station WPIC, the new broadcasting station of the Sharon Herald Broadcasting Company, at Sharon, Pennsylvania operating on a frequency of 780 kilocycles.” Yes it was 780, not 790 yet!

From the start WPIC would be different, most stations, were heavily laden with soap operas during the day named for the sponsors who were mostly soap companies. WPIC decided to concentrate on music and news. The recorded music would be mostly classical, very high brow. It was decided that there would be news every hour. It had never really been done, anywhere. Even the United Press guys, warned Fahnline," You’ll never pull it off.” but he did. Despite objections a booth was set up at The Herald so reporters turned announcers like Johnny Pepe could do news live on the air.

A few years later around 1941, The FCC put into effect the North American Regional Broadcasting Agreement, in order to accommodate Canada and Mexico the am dial was expanded and WPIC was moved from 780 on the dial up to 790. In the forties Fm stations began to pop up everywhere and WPIC saw the need to expand into FM. It would require a doubling the size of the building and of the tower. An addition was added to the building and a new tower was constructed. The tower was no small project, when built it would the tallest tower east of the Mississippi at 547 feet high. On October 25, 1947 WPIC-FM was born. With a flair history, it was opened exactly nine years to the day after WPIC-AM came on the air.

In the pre rock-n-roll era, country music was king at WPIC, to be fair it was often Rockabilly, which along with Blues, Bluegrass, Boogie Woogie were the roots of Rock. Bands from all over the region played live on WPIC, most had their own shows. Early on country groups like Sons of The Pioneers were big favorites. Hardly any stations including the big city had as many live acts as WPIC and the Mutual Broadcasting network was happy to include many of the live performances that emanated there on its ten station network. So groups that played here were not just local stars but regional ones. One of the biggest regional groups was Woody Wooddell and The Ridin Rangers. When Woody would play girls would come to the station and look in the windows just to glimpse of this radio star.

As the fifties closed, Regional Broadcasting based in Meadville made an offer to buy the station, and in November 1959 the stations were sold for $510.000. It was the end of an era.

The Sixties came in with a bang and am was still king of the radio world. WPICam announcer Joe Jansen, in what was possibly a station sanctioned stunt, decide to lock himself in the studio. It was October and Pittsburgh Pirates were playing the dreaded NY Yankees in the World Series. Joe decided to play" Beat Em Bucs” and kept playing it for five straight hours. Listeners caught up in baseball fever began coming out onto Pine Hollow Blvd in droves. By mid-day the Hickory Twp. police showed up and said it would have to stop. They pleaded with Joe to unlock the doors and he was able to keep his job.

In December 1996, Regional Broadcasting sold the stations to Connoisseur Communications owned by 35 year old Jeff Warshaw. Then WWIZ103.9, country at the time -now oldies- and WLLF 96.7, light jazz -now Sports Radio 96.7- were purchased and added to the roster of stations. In 2000, Warshaw sold all of the stations along with 35 other ones to Cumulus Media for 258 million dollars. Consolidation continued and Cumulus would eventually buy Hot Fm 101 and country powerhouse K-105 and relocate them on Simon road in Youngstown. WPIC-FM- now Y-103 left Pine Hollow in 2000. 103.9 Rock 104 and now oldies was relocated to Y-town too and 96.7 sports station was moved into Pine Hollow Blvd. Cumulus currently owns over 500 stations nationwide.

On December 2, 2016 The historic Pine Hollow Blvd. studios were closed and the station was moved to a new location at 1965 Shenanago Valley Freeway in Hermitage, PA. where it currently broadcasts from.

The Way It Was Newspaper December 2016

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