The station signed on June 10, 1951, as a 1000-watt non-directional daytimer on 980, from studios on the second floor of 243 Central Street. The studios have never moved; the power was increased to 5 kW DA-2 in 1979 – and from day one until a few years ago, the station had been under the same ownership. It was put on the air by Ike Cohen and his brothers Maurice and Ted, and with the deaths of Ike and Ted, Maurice remained as sole owner until he sold it to Merrimack Valley Radio a group headed by Clark Smidt and Sam Poulton.
Clark Smidt has 43 years of broadcast experience and along with Ryan Johnston, Operations Director, Dean Johnson, Executive Editor and Teddy Panos, Station Manager they have provided more local programming and continue to expand local shows. Monica Collins Ask The Dog Lady. Mayor Sullivan, Billerica Mondays along with Saturday Morning Live with Warren and company and Tom Duggan’s Paying Attention. Weekly appearances by the Lowell City Manager, Police Supt. and Congresswoman Nikki Tsongas, have helped Wireless Mike Flynn and Teddy in the morning make the show more localized.
WCAP has also initiated a program that trains college students on how to research and gather news facts for radio newscasts, along with specialty reports. This internship affords students’ course credit. Middlesex Community College and the University of Lowell had students that participated .Middlesex Community College airs a show every Friday at 11 am on WCAP. Evan Heidenrich who is heard weekdays with Ryan and co-host other shows I believe was part of that programs. They also do a great job getting High School kids involved with Teddy’s Pig Skin Press Pass, coverage of High School Sports and Tyler Dumont and his Teen Talk.
Some former WCAP staffers: Ray Tremblay (who was the DJ at every High School Dance I remember) Jack Baldwin, Bill O’Neill and Gary Francis Joe Corcoran and Casey Crane., Regina Faticanti , George Anthes, John McDonough, Sue Rourke, longtime WCAP producer Dan Bourret, Fred Nutter (worked the boards in High School and is now Ch. 7 Sports Producer) Jim Reed, John Tucker . Mark Adams, Joe Abrams Other names from WCAP’s earlier years included Fred Faust and Dan Gillette, and the long history of WCAP news well-represented with names such as Barry Pretzel Dave Faneuf, Susan Czepiel, Bill Smith, Mary Blake, Bernice Corpuz, recently the News Director and Julie (Stinneford) Sider, who’s moved on from the WCAP newsroom to a big career in voiceover work. (She’s the “Julie” whose automated greetings prompt you at Amtrak’s toll-free line.) and Scott Fybush who has turned his love of radio into a solid business. No doubt many more I’m forgetting.
Please add your memories of WCAP.
(Some Material/Photo’s used from Internet postings by Bill O’Neil and Scott Fybush)