WLLH Radio Origins Date Back to October 10, 1934

I came across this newsworthy historical tidbit today. The first radio station of note in Lowell was known as WLLH radio. Wikipedia and other sources tell us the story of the origins of WLLH and its current status.

On this day – October 10, 1934:

WLEY was a radio station operating in Lexington, Massachusetts until 1933 when it was purchased by Alfred Moffat, who moved the station to Lowell on October 10, 1934 and changed the call letters to WLLH. Moffat boosted the station’s daytime power to 250 watts from a transmitter and studio location at the Rex Center in downtown Lowell and then affiliated it with the Yankee Network. In 1936, the station also began an affiliation with the Mutual-affiliated Colonial Network. He also began efforts to establish a second transmitter in Lawrence, which signed on the air temporarily with 100 watts on December 1, 1937 – a license for the Lawrence transmitter was issued on March 4, 1941. WLLH moved to 1400 kHz on March 29, 1941 under the North American Radio Broadcasting Agreement.

Johnny Carson’s well-known side-kick Ed McMahon – a Lowell High School graduate – began his career in 1942 as an announcer for WLLH. Local sports coverage was popular with listeners – from high school football to the Lowell Spinners in later days. Many will remember another popular radio figure – Tom Clayton and then in later years the late Paul Sullivan and his Morning Magazine show. Sullivan – also affiliated with the Lowell Sun – later starred on nighttime radio at WBZ-1030 AM in Boston.

The station that now operates as WLLH-1400 AM is quite different from its original format and is owned by Gois Broadcasting, LLC. The station airs in the Spanish language in a tropical music format.


9 thoughts on “WLLH Radio Origins Date Back to October 10, 1934”

  1. Fresh out of Emerson College, I was hired to work at WLLH as a producer & fill-in on-air personality, for two years. I remember co-hosting the Lowell Jazz Festival. Then I moved on to WNTN, in Newton.

  2. What has happened to the good music on WLLH??

    1. chris parker, chief engineer wllh 1958-1962 ! the earllyest I’ve seen h of WLLH’es start date is 1926. so, your claim of the 20s, is vailid. During above time, I and three other guys, Skip Baker, older guy, Henry ——-, and, a fellow who was chief engineer before me…..he didn’t want to be chief engineer. we spent most of our 8hr. shifts putting on, queing-up , upon a finger signal from the announcer,start tape,(little, 2 inch diameter reals), like, HO HO HO, IT’S CHRISTMAS IN JULY.7…. an add fo Lowell’s biggest department store,herry,rewind,take real off,store it,grab next tape,que-it-up,wautch announcer for que, spin-it,grab-it…etc for your 8 hour shift. HO HO….,32 TIMEES A SHIFT,7 DAYS-WEEK, for a month, or six weeks. I was ,down Maine,1946,Maine’s youngest “ham” aumatur operator, W1RJQ, earlyest in Weast Gorham, later in Orono , 8miles north of Bangor; not quite but almost, North Country! Mostly, 80meter, morse code,I’ve had, until a few years back, a stammer. Tryed 10meter phone, just ounce, when 10 was “wide-open”…CQ CQ CQ…no contacts..CQ right now….Chris(84yrs)

  3. This is the third, and last time,using several hours, I’ll try this post! October 10th, 1934…WLLH IS ON THE AIR! Station dedication speech, by one wonderful lady,EIDITH NOUSE ROGERS, with a short following speech on “The Cotton Textile Industry”.Lowell’s, District 5’s US House Of Representatives member from 1925, until her death in 1960,…35 years! Very active, the two biggest,…at the start of WW2, she was respondsable for the Woman’s Armed Service Corps , the WACCS, the WAVES, and the AIR CADETS ! At the end of WW2, she led the way, resulting in ,THE VETERENS BILL OF RIGHTS…..! Have more on the BIG REX CENTER FIRE, right next door to WLLH ! We stayed ON, with TOM Clayton giving a “play by play”.!

  4. As a child I was injured and spent some time in St Johns Hospital. Tom Claton visited the kids once a week and the lucky ones were on the air answering questions. My prize was a $5.00 dollar gift certificate to Newmans Department store. I used it to buy a necktie for my father on Fathers Day. Fond memories of Greater Lowell in the 50s.

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