Inauguration of 97.9 WHAV Set for Thursday, March 16; Dedication Day is on 70th Anniversary of Original AM Station
Live and locally performed music and special tributes highlight Thursday night’s formal dedication of 97.9 WHAV and celebration of the 70th anniversary of the original WHAV in Haverhill.
Rick O’Shey, a broadcast veteran who first came to WHAV in 1984, serves as master of ceremonies for the “97.9 WHAV Inauguration Ceremony.” He introduces local and state officials, paying tribute to the new radio station, and musical selections from local singer/song-writer Letriah Masters and senior members of the Haverhill High School chorus.
Expected to deliver dedicatory greetings and citations are state Rep. Brian S. Dempsey, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee; Haverhill Mayor James J. Fiorentini; and City Council President John A. Michitson. Other members of the Haverhill City Council and School Committee and administration are also expected. A citation from Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker will be read.
The new WHAV FM signed on late last September with a larger on-air footprint than the original WHAV AM, blanketing the city of Haverhill and reaching all area communities.
WHAV President and General Manager also delivers a tribute to the radio station’s founder John T. “Jack” Russ. Enamored by the work of FM inventor Major Edwin H. Armstrong, Russ first envisioned building an FM radio station for Haverhill as early as 1944. With FM development after World War II proceeding slower than planned, Russ was instrumental in launching WHAV AM March 16, 1947 from temporary studios on Merrimack Street in downtown Haverhill. Like the original, 97.9 WHAV’s signal emanates from atop Silver Hill.
Russ’ descendants have been invited to attend.
WHAV members and distinguished guests are invited to attend the inaugural ceremony, Thursday, March 16, 6 p.m., at Maria’s Galleria Banquet Room, 85 Essex St. The dedication will also be broadcast live at 97.9 FM. Although there is no cost for WHAV members, seating is limited and registration is required. Register at WHAV.net.
At WHAV AM, O’Shey was heard from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., weekdays, and also hosted the Saturday morning “Swap Shop” program. During his time at WHAV and its then-sister station, WLYT, he also worked morning and afternoon drive and served as interim program director, PSA director, assistant sports director and writer and producer of commercial spots and other advertising campaigns. O’Shey began his radio career in 1979 at WOTW, FM-106, Nashua, N.H., before moving on to WKBR, AM 1250, in 1982. Later, he joined WOKQ/WPKQ, where he hosted the WOKQ Telephone Flea Market for nine years and was on-stage host for more than 20 concerts, including in front of 110,000 people at New Hampshire International Speedway. He is currently at Total Traffic Boston, reporting traffic, weather and sports for various New England and other regional radio stations
Marc Lemay, who first went to work for the station as news director in 1990, oversees studio operations during the ceremony. Christopher Porter, producer of the Open Mike Show, supervises technical operations of the remote broadcast from Maria’s.
Local Artist Letriah Masters to Sing the National Anthem
As is customary for a radio station sign-on, Masters launches the festivities with the singing of the National Anthem. Masters is a singer/song-writer, poet, author and musician with a love and appreciation for Jazz, classical and contemporary voice. She is a multifaceted teacher with a special focus on performance coaching and theatrical training of youth. Her skill sets include voice, piano, percussion and guitar instrumentation. She is the founder of the Merrimack Valley Music & Arts, a non-profit organization launched in 2014 with a mission to endorse creation, celebration and collaboration in the community.
Senior Members of Haverhill High School Chorus Perform Favorites
Haverhill Superintendent of School James F. Scully and Haverhill High School Choral Director Joseph F. Gori worked with WHAV to present the talents of Emily Forisso, Joseph Pazzanese and Chloe Reynolds, Haverhill High School seniors.