MIDDLEPORT — The upcoming Meigs County Chamber Business After Hours will celebrate the 60th anniversary of WMPO radio.
The event will take place from 4-6 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 2 at the Middleport Village Hall, located at 659 Pearl Street in Middleport.
WMPO AM was founded on Aug. 28, 1959, and WMPO FM was founded on Aug. 27, 1973.
Below is a brief history of the station which was written by the late John E.M. Kerr, one of the station founders, and provided by WMPO.
In May 1957, a group of Athens businessmen met to discus starting a radio station located in Meigs County. Present at the meeting included Roger Jones, attorney; Roy Stephenson, accountant; Frank Rauch, bakery and theater owner; and John E.M. Kerr, advertising manger for WATH. The group elected to form a corporation called Radio Mid-Pom, Inc. and applied for a broadcast license with the FCC for Meigs County.
A search immediately followed to find a building and tower site in Meigs County.
The group learned that the Bailey Family in Bradbury was thinking of closing their restaurant. Radio Mid-Pom elected to purchase Bailey’s Drive Inn and lease adjacent acreage for the tower. On Aug. 28, 1959, WMPO 1390 started broadcasting with a staff of five people. An open house was held with both Pomeroy and Middleport mayors giving welcome speeches. In 1964, WMPO was granted permission to increase power to 5,000 watts making it one of the strongest stations in the area.
The years progressed well and in 1974 WMPO was granted permission for an FM station to broadcast on 92.1 with 3,000 watts. A new wing was added to the station building. Ground was leased from Robert Burdett for the new tower.
Through the period and expansion, two of the stockholders passed away and the stock was purchased by Jack Kerr and Frank Rauch. After 30 years of successful operation, the two remaining stockholders elected to sell the stations. E.T. Broadcasting of Dayton purchased WMPO in 1989. Ten years later, the station was sold to Positive Radio Group of Blacksburg, Virginia, the present owners.
Currently, WMPO 1390 AM and 103.7 FM simulcast with WTHQ. The format is “Top 100 Hits”, which is a list of songs that have peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 and the magazine’s national singles chart which preceded it. During football, basketball and baseball season, you can hear games for Southern, Eastern, Meigs and Wahama on 13.7 FM. K92.1 plays 70s, 80s, and 90s music.
The station was housed the Bailey’s Drive-Inn building on Bradbury Road until 2016 when the offices moved to Point Pleasant. The transmitter and towers are still located in Middleport.
Sarah Hawley is the managing editor of The Daily Sentinel.