WALE (Rhode Island)

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WALE (990 AM) was a radio station licensed to the community of Greenville, Rhode Island, and serving the Providence, Rhode Island, area. The station was last owned by Cumbre Communications Corp. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced that the station's license was deleted on April 1, 2014.[2]

CityGreenville, Rhode Island
Broadcast areaProvidence, Rhode Island
Frequency990 kHz
First air dateApril 12, 1961
Last air dateAugust 18, 2010
Power50,000 watts (day)
5,000 watts (night)
Facility ID49128
Transmitter coordinates41°57′18″N 71°35′39″W / 41.95500°N 71.59417°W / 41.95500; -71.59417
Call sign meaningWhaling City (calls began on 1400-Fall River, Mass.)
Former call signsWLKW, WEAN[1]
AffiliationsABC Radio News Now
OwnerCumbre Communications Corp.



WLKW began official broadcasting on April 12, 1961 as Rhode Island's only 50 kW radio station during daylight hours only. This fact was noted in the calls as "LKW" really reads as "50 (L in Roman Numerals) KiloWatts" (sic). For most of its life the station's format was easy listening (the calls had since been adopted by 1450-West Warwick).


The station was assigned the WALE call sign from the FCC on July 24, 1989.[1] The original WALE callsign was held for some 25 or so years by a different company operating out of the basement of an abandoned theater in Fall River, Massachusetts. Colonel Milton Mittler (formerly of WADK) was the owner.

When Francis Battaglia's North American Broadcasting Company bought WEAN, they attempted to program a talk format. The top-rated show at this time was hosted by Rhode Island talk show legend Steve White. In the summer of 1991, WALE host Bob Giammarco was recognized by Arbitron as having the top-rated evening program (After Hours with Bob Giammarco) in the market. This was no small feat considering the evening signal was quite low and the listening area was limited.

As the 1990s wore on, the station added more and more brokered programming until the station aired nothing but brokered programming. WALE earned a reputation in the Providence area as having fringe programming, such as American Dissident Voices program of the neo-Nazi National Alliance, which aired from 4-4:30p.m. on Saturdays to nearly no listeners. WALE was also the home of Rick Adams, a follower of Willis Carto's Liberty Lobby, who aired discussions promoting Holocaust denial. The station attracted further notoriety when it was discovered that many of their brokered hosts (often recruited by station personnel) were never compensated for their financial investments (some of which invested as much as $5,000 per three-month contracts), as WALE had no sales staff whatsoever.[3] WALE was further accused of fudging its coverage area in marketing materials to mention that its 50,000-watt transmitter also reaches Boston and Worcester, Massachusetts, when in fact the station broadcast to a very narrow zone toward the southeast with a directional antenna, covering portions of Providence and out into the Atlantic Ocean;[3] this was to protect Canadian clear channel (class A) stations CBW in Winnipeg, Manitoba and CBY in Corner Brook, Newfoundland and Labrador at night, and other stations at all times broadcasting on or near 990 during the day, including WXLM 980 in Groton, Connecticut; WCAP 980 in Lowell, Massachusetts; and CKGM, at the time on 990, in Montreal, Quebec.

WALE was first attempted to be sold in 2002 to Jerry Evans' Moon Song Communications,[4] but was ultimately sold at a bankruptcy auction in 2003 to Cumbre Communications, where it reemerged as "Supermax 990", a Spanish-language format. Cumbre also attempted to change WALE's call letters to WMAX, which was impossible due to an existing AM station in Bay City, Michigan already holding the callsign. Cumbre Communications declared bankruptcy themselves in 2004 to try to avoid completing their purchase of the station after they learned the transmitter site had serious environmental issues.[5]

WALE went silent on December 29, 2006 and returned to the airwaves in late 2007 at half power. In January 2008, the station requested permission to go silent again based on a technical problem causing the transmitter to consume too much power that made the station "economically unfeasible" to operate. The FCC rejected that request.[6] According to the filing, Cumbre Communications is still in bankruptcy, as a "debtor in possession".

The station was most recently airing a Spanish-language adult contemporary format as "Amor 990" (Love 990).

The station was an affiliate of the Red Sox Beisbol Network in 2005 & 2008.

In 2009, it went back on the air as "WALE ABC Radio News Now 990" and became an affiliate of ABC News Radio. For a brief period, they broadcast an audio feed of WLNE-TV's former 24-hour cable news television channel, NewsChannel 5 (formerly the Rhode Island News Channel), in various timeslots. On Labor Day 2009, WALE carried WLNE's entire broadcast of The Jerry Lewis MDA Labor Day Telethon, which was being simulcast on NewsChannel 5 (now operated by WJAR as Ocean State Networks (OSN)). An assortment of odd brokered fare also emerged once again on the station.[7]

As of August 18, 2010, WALE was noted as silent. As of April 1, 2014, it had not filed for a renewal of its license which has now been deleted.


  1. ^ a b "Call Sign History". FCC Media Bureau CDBS Public Access Database.
  2. ^ F.C.C.'s daily releases-April 1, 2014. Retrieved April 3, 2014.
  3. ^ a b Thorn, Victor. ""Jack Blood" Exposed". Wing TV - Connect The Dots. Web.archive.org. Archived from the original on May 27, 2013. Retrieved January 6, 2014.
  4. ^ Fybush, Scott (June 25, 2002). "Battaglia Sells WALE, Vox Sells WKXL". North East RadioWatch. Bostonradio.org. Retrieved January 6, 2014.
  5. ^ Fybush, Scott (February 23, 2004). "Vox Sells (Most of) Glen Falls Cluster". NorthEast RadioWatch. Fybush.com. Retrieved January 6, 2014.
  6. ^ "Federal Communications Commission Media Bureau".(subscription required)
  7. ^ "WALE 990am Radio - ABC News Now Affiliate". Web.archive.org. Archived from the original on January 1, 2010. Retrieved January 6, 2014.

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