This item is a cross-post from my recent post on the Lowell Historical Society blog site here.
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 theMutual-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.