PARKERSBURG’S FIRST RADIO STATION

WPAR, Parkersburg’s CBS radio network affiliate, went on the air on July 11, 1935, broadcasting with 100 watts of power at 1420 kilocycles on the dial. First located in the Chancellor Hotel at Seventh & Market, the station moved the following year to the Grinter Building, cattycorner across the street, at 701-1/2 Market. During the January 1937 flood that inundated most of downtown Parkersburg, WPAR suspended regular programming and stayed on the air 24 hours a day to assist the residents of the area. In the late ’30s WPAR became part of the West Virginia Network (along with WBLK in Clarksburg, WCHS in Charleston and WSAZ in Huntington), all owned by the same man, John A. Kennedy.

In 1941, WPAR built a new transmitter on Route 2 north of town, increasing its wattage to 250 and moving up the dial to 1450. Six years later the station moved further downtown,
WPAR_promojamboree
WPAR HILLBILLY JAMBOREE SHOW. Each Friday from one thousand to 1500 people attend the Coliseum on Seventh Street (between Green and Quincy) to see West Virginia’s largest Jamboree show. The show gets underway at 7:30 p.m. with a half-hour’s broadcast from the stage, then continues until 9:30. WPAR features top hillbilly acts from all sections of the United States.
 Photo circa 1942.
 
Over the years WPAR underwent many program formats and was sold to various owners. It dropped CBS in 1973 and joined NBC in 1975. In 1983 the station’s call letters were changed from WPAR to WLTP.  In 2009 the station’s call letters were changed to WHNK and operated as a classic country format.  In April 2014 WHNK went off the air after losing the ground lease for their tower on the Walker Machinery property.   In 2016, Fellowship Baptist Church Ministries acquired the station and began FaithTalk 1450.  
 
 

trio

THE FARM HOME HOUR TRIO. From left to right, Billy Jean (Burroughs), Betty (Burroughs), Brother Charles (Charles Carroll), and their sponsor, Sid Ardman. This popular Trio has set a record of 1769 consecutive broadcasts

studio-A

WPAR’s Studio “A,” showing the transcription turntables in the rear. These tables are equipped with “pick-up,” or reproducing heads, in which diamond or sapphire points are used, instead of the ordinary steel needle used on a phonograph.
 
   
When WPAR when signed on in 1935, there was such a rush to get on the air, they had no studio, so they set up at the end of the hallway on the 2nd floor of the Chancellor Hotel at Seventh & Market.  Several months later they moved across the street to the 3rd floor of the Grinter Building on the other corner. In the mid fifties they moved to 211 Fifth, and there was a fire that forced them back to Seventh & Market until 211 Fifth was rebuilt. That may have been when The Parkersburg News briefly owned WPAR in the late forties and early fifties.
   
studio-B
Studio “B” is used for smaller musical presentations and for speakers. The curtained windows show into the general offices, and the windows at this side of the studio – unable to show in the photograph – visually connect the studio with
the master control room.