When WLSH-1410 AM hit the airwaves in December 1952, it was the only radio station in Carbon County.
“This is radio station WLSH, the voice of the Panther Valley from Lansford, Pennsylvania,” engineers said during a test broadcast at 12:20 a.m. on December 18.
Seventy years later, the station is still going strong.
The same goes for its sister stations, WMGH (Magic 105.5 FM) in Lansford, which turns 35 this year, and WGPA (Sunny 1100 AM) in Bethlehem, which turns 75.
“If you haven’t listened in a while, now’s the time to do so,” said Chris Crumpless, who owns the stations with his father, Ronald “Rock” Crumbles.
Over the years, the stations have retained many popular programs and services for which they have become known, such as “Stuck in the ’80s” and “The Magic Polka Machine” on Magic 105.5, and “The Dutch Trader” on WLSH.
But they’re also going through changes, said Chris, who formed CC Broadcasting in 2015 with his father and bought WPGA soon after.
“It was our first time owning and operating our first radio station,” Chris said. “It was just for the love of radio – and I had years of broadcasting experience.”
They transformed the mostly polka-friendly station into an Ameripolitan, where listeners can hear honky tonk, western swing, rockabilly and outlaw music.
“We were left alone,” Chris said of the new format, which is also streaming online.
The buying didn’t stop there.
In 2019, CC Broadcasting set its sights on WMGH and WLSH. The sale took place on March 12, 2020.
“We had major issues to resolve regarding our FM signal, AM signal, format and audio signal quality,” Chris explained.
CC Broadcasting also upgraded remote equipment.
“Right away there was a lot of upfront investment on top of buying,” Chris said.
All three stations soon began streaming online 24 hours a day.
“This was a first for WMGH and WLSH,” said Ann Marie Calabrese, station sales manager and host of “Stuck in the ’80s” on WMGH.
COVID has wreaked havoc on radio stations – just like many other businesses. Yet the stations remained on the air.
“We were your source to let you know what was open or what was closed,” Calabrese said.
“We were also an escape for the community to hear great music – a nice relief,” Chris added. “We had a place where you could go on the three station dial for relief. If we can stay on the air thanks to COVID, we can survive anything. »
Local radio stations have changed their formats to cater to growing audiences.
“We still want to be your listening station at work, but we wanted to be more upbeat, a little more rock ‘n’ roll,” Calabrese said of WMGH.
WLSH (1410 AM) plays music from the 1950s to the 1970s and features rockabilly splices. It also runs programs like “Dutch Trader”, a free service that allows people to buy and sell items; “Coal Region Connections,” which offers information about the community and its history; a new program of jazz music and “Roc’s Roundup”.
“If you haven’t listened, try again,” Chris said.
“The biggest thing we get is our lack of repetition. Other stations are playing the same songs,” Calabrese said. “We try to play the best variety and slip in deep cuts or B-sides that make our stations unique.”
The stations also offer talks with local chambers of commerce, broadcast religious services, and air public service announcements.
“If you have any information that’s important to the public, don’t be afraid to let us know to spread the word,” Chris said. “We’re more about making that local connection. »
To celebrate, stations will hold special events, including tributes to other companies and organizations celebrating anniversaries.
For more information about the stations or their services, or to leave a comment or suggestion, contact [email protected]
Outside radio stations WMGH and WLSH, front left to right, employees Chris Crumbliss, Kayla German, Karen O’Toole and “Roc” Crumbliss. At the back are Kim Noel, Jim Hunt, Doyle Dietz, Caleb Brown, Ann Marie Calabrese, Dave Smith and Dave ‘Whitey’ Williams. Absent from the photo are Andrew Ebbert, Colin Gregory, Dr Susan, Jack Logic, Jason Parrish, Joe Manjack, Joe Steber, John Cooper, John Searfoss, Mark Marek, Roadkill, Terry Piccone and Tony Radocha. PHOTO SUBMITTED