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WAMC logo
City of license Albany, New York
Broadcast area Primary: Albany Capital District of New York; parts of Eastern New York ; Southern Vermont, Western Massachusetts, Upper Northwest Connecticut
Secondary: West-Central Connecticut, southwestern New Hampshire, northwestern New Jersey, northeast Pennsylvania, a small portion of Quebec.[1]
Branding WAMC, Northeast Public Radio
Frequency 90.3 MHz
Repeaters see below
First air date 1958 (Original licensee Albany Medical College)
Format Public Radio
Audience share 4.7 (FALL 2007, RRC[2])
ERP 10,000 watts
HAAT 600 meters (2,000 ft)
Class B
Facility ID 70849
Transmitter coordinates 42°38′14.00″N 73°10′7.00″W / 42.63722°N 73.16861°W / 42.63722; -73.16861
Callsign meaning Albany Medical College
Owner WAMC, Inc.
Website www.wamc.org

WAMC is a public radio station out of Albany, New York, broadcasting on the 90.3 FM frequency and several others. The organization's legal name is "WAMC, Inc.," and it is also known as "WAMC Public Radio" or "WAMC Northeast Public Radio Network." WAMC runs the Northeast Public Radio network of stations. In addition, the station operates the WAMC Performing Arts Studio, a venue in Albany located near its Central Avenue studios.

The NPR member is a charitable, educational, non-commercial broadcaster meeting the requirements of Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code (26 U.S.C. §501(c)(3)). The organization's IRS Form 990 - 'Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax' can be accessed at Guidestar.org. Total annual revenues (Fiscal 2006): $7 million.

Present corporate officers include Thomas S.W. Lewis, chairman of the board of trustees; Alan S. Chartock, president & chief executive officer (since 1981).



WAMC started in 1958 as a radio station for the local hospital and medical school, Albany Medical Center and Albany Medical College. Albany Medical Center is the large tertiary-care hospital serving the upper Hudson Valley, and the medical school (with which it is affiliated) is one of the country's ACGME-accredited medical schools. The affiliation with Albany Medical Center was the source of the call letters "WAMC."

The station's 24/7 non-commercial classical musical format served a large listener base and was popular amongs music aficionados. The earliest years also included broadcasts of health information and lectures from visiting professors. Early on, part of WAMC's regular programming was the broadcast of live concerts by the Boston Symphony Orchestra from Tanglewood and Boston. When the NPR network was founded in 1970, WAMC signed-on as one of NPR's original ninety 'charter' members. Around 1980, financial pressures caused the hospital and medical school to divest the station. In 1981, the FCC license on 90.3FM was transferred to a 501c3 tax-exempt entity, WAMC, Inc., which had been set-up by a group of five corporators (amongst them the current CEO and president, Alan S. Chartock) affiliated with the State University of New York and New York State government. In the years since the transfer, the station has cut back on most classical music programming (live BSO concerts are still broadcast) while becoming a producer of information-based, non-music programming, providing a variety of interview-format programs to radio stations across the country via the station's in-house subsidiary, National Productions.

Community and corporate contributions (often obtained during regular fund drives) have helped the original single station grow over the years into a network of nine stations and eleven translators with large primary service contours covering New York's capital district, western Massachusetts, southern Vermont, and parts of New Hampshire, Connecticut, and New Jersey. WAMC-FM's main transmitter and antenna are atop Mount Greylock in Adams, Mass., the highest mountain in the state, giving the flagship 90.3 MHz signal a large radius for a transmitter of its size.

Criticism and views


Accusations of bias

NPR's official news policy says its affiliate stations should be "fair, unbiased, accurate, honest, and respectful of the people that are covered." [3]

A Washington-based NPR news producer, who requested anonymity, stated that Alan Chartock, the station's president and a frequently heard voice on the station, presents politically-biased commentary.[4] The producer stated that he was "driving through upstate New York and listening to the local public radio station, and there was this guy on the air ranting."[4] "He was talking about the war in Iraq and how wrong it was and how we’re being held hostage as a country by this right-wing administration." The NPR producer assumed he had tuned into a Pacifica radio station, one of a small network of community stations that broadcast left-of-center advocacy-journalism programs. "But then I nearly couldn’t believe it when this guy said, ‘In just a few moments we’ll be returning to NPR’s All Things Considered.’ The NPR producer was listening to a pledge drive hosted by (WAMC CEO) Alan Chartock.[4]

"If you took a photo of me in the car,” says the NPR producer, “my jaw would have been on the floor. It really freaked me out. As a producer, I want NPR to be viewed as middle-of-the-road. I want people to think that NPR is fair. But when someone like Chartock gets on the air, it makes us look like a left-of-center organization, just as we believe Fox [cable news] is a right-wing organization because they mix commentary with news. And I guarantee you that Joe Listener out there is not making a distinction between the crazy local guy and the reasonable national organization."[4]

Chartock responded that WAMC’s editorial neutrality is maintained by "including as many conservative commentators on the air as liberal ones".[4]

Network expansion

WAMC has grown into a network of nine stations and eleven translators serving portions of seven New England and Middle Atlantic States, bringing news, information and cultural programming to what WAMC claims is an audience of nearly 400,000 monthly listeners . The station's most recent fund drive (as of June 2009) raised approximately $800,000 in just under seven days.

Though the original expansion of the WAMC network starting in the mid 1980s was done to serve areas that had previously lacked NPR service, many of the station's expansions since then have been into areas that either had service from a WAMC signal or where an established NPR network was already on the air. Two examples of this were WAMC's purchase of WAMQ (then WBBS), a signal whose coverage area is near enveloped by other WAMC signals, and in 1992 WAMC outbid SUNY Plattsburgh for the then-WCFE-FM in 1995 to serve an area with two established NPR stations.


First Amendment Fund

In 2005, WAMC's board of trustees established a "First Amendment Fund" to promote and preserve the First Amendment and the right of free speech by providing a source of funding "to support WAMC if special situations or needs should arise". The current level of contributions in this "unrestricted, board designated" fund is $482,577. "WAMC's IRS Form 990 for Fiscal 2006 (page 35)". http://www.wamc.net/WAMC990-2006.pdf.  

Original programming

WAMC produces many programs of its own. These include:

Former programs

  • The Environment Show -- name was dropped, format changed, and program morphed into "In Our Backyard," with NYS wildlife expert Ward Stone.
  • Knock on Wood -- with Steve Charney and Harry
  • Me and Mario
  • Music Through The Night -- Midnight to 5 A.M.
  • Rachael's Place
  • Weekly Rundown
  • Zucchini Brothers show

National productions

WAMC also produces programs that are distributed under the name National Productions. These include:


WAMC also podcasts their original programs.

Technical data

Stations, wattage, service contour maps

Call Sign Frequency Location Effective Radiated Power (ERP) Service contour maps[5][6] Call sign meaning
WAMC 90.3 FM Albany, NY 10.0 kW ERP (10,000 watts) Map see infobox
WRUN-FM 90.3 FM Remsen, NY 1.2 kW ERP (1,200 watts) Map Rome-Utica News
WAMK 90.9 FM Kingston, NY 0.94 kW ERP (940 watts) Map Kingston
WOSR 91.7 FM Middletown, NY 1.80 kW ERP (1,800 watts) Map unknown
WCEL 91.9 FM Plattsburgh, NY 0.38 kW ERP (380 watts) Map unknown
WCAN 93.3 FM Canajoharie, NY 6.0 kW ERP (6,000 watts) Map CANajoharie
WANC 103.9 FM Ticonderoga, NY 1.55 kW ERP (1,550 watts) Map variation of WAMC
WAMQ 105.1 FM Great Barrington, MA 0.73 kW ERP (730 watts) Map variation of WAMC
WAMC 1400 AM Albany, NY 1.0 kW ERP Day (1,000 watts)

1.0 kW ERP Night (1,000 watts)

Map (Day)

Map (Night)

see infobox



Translators of WAMC-FM
Callsign MHz City of license Power
Additional Information
W205AJ 88.9 Oneonta, New York 3 D FCC
W226AC 93.1 Rensselaer, New York 80 D FCC
W246BJ 97.1 Hudson, New York 50 D FCC


Translators of WAMK
Callsign MHz City of license Power
Additional Information
W271BF 102.1 Highland, New York 10 D FCC
W280DJ 103.9 Beacon, New York 10 D FCC
W299AG 107.7 Newburgh, New York 10 D FCC


Translators of WOSR
Callsign MHz City of license Power
Additional Information
W215BG 90.9 Milford, Pennsylvania 10 D FCC
W296BD 107.1 Warwick, New York 10 D FCC
W295AA 106.9 Middletown, New York 27 D FCC


Translators of Unknown
Callsign MHz City of license Power
Additional Information
W243BZ 96.5 Ellenville, New York 5.5 D FCC
W257BL 99.3 Oneonta, New York 250 D FCC

Coverage maps

  1. WAMC's published coverage map showing counties that are covered in whole or in part
  2. Old service contour map - created with the intent of discrediting WAMC's coverage claims, using the map above (an outdated version predating WAMC's most recent network expansions) overlaid with FCC service contour maps (again, predating expansions) for comparison. When viewing this map, the following FCC disclaimer should be taken into consideration: "Often stations may be received at locations well beyond the displayed service contour, depending on the location of other stations on the same or adjacent channels."

See also


External links


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