Our History

History of New Hampshire Public Radio

 

In August, 1981, WEVO began broadcasting in the Concord-Manchester area. Originally known as Granite State Public Radio, the reach and level of service of the station has grown over the past 30 years. In 1981, the station had 500 members; today it has nearly 18,000. In 1981, there was a single station; today, NHPR operates eight transmitters and four translators. Its signal can be heard in almost every corner of the state. Since 1991, NHPR has been broadcasting 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  

NHPR is committed to bringing the different regions of this state together. We strive to include everyone in the conversation, and continue to bring in new listeners both on-air through new signals in the North Country and online by expanding content for on-demand access. We believe that the more each of us knows about the daily realities of our fellow residents, the more able we will be to pull in unison to solve our common problems and improve our communities.

30 Years of Great Radio, a Historical Timeline

1979:

  • Fifty New Hampshire citizens form a steering committee to create New Hampshire’s own public radio station. Granite State Public Radio (GSPR) is incorporated.

1980:

  • GSPR receives $61,000 in planning grants. A general manager is hired and an application for a station is filed with the Federal Communication Commission (FCC).

1981:

  • August 4th – WEVO signs on the air with its inaugural broadcast. The first year’s budget was $182,601. NHPR had 500 members.

1983:

  • The Nashua translator is launched to improve reception in the area. The annual budget is augmented with major grants from the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation and Chubb Life America allowing GSPR to continue operation.

1985:

  • WEVO’s audience is 35,800 listeners per week and the station receives operating revenue totaling $52,418.

1990:

  • Audience grows to 59,300 and the station launches a capital campaign to buy a new broadcast center and office space. Mark Handley is hired as the station’s third president and general manager.

1991:

  • April—GSPR moves into its new headquarters at 207 North Main Street in Concord and changes its name to New Hampshire Public Radio (NHPR). The staff is comprised of 15 employees, including 5 news reporters and editors.

1992:

  • NHPR further expands its statewide network by launching the Dover translator and the WEVH Hanover transmitter, expanding NHPR’s reach throughout the state. 

1993:

  • NHPR begins broadcasting to Keene and Southwest New Hampshire on WEVN.

1994:

  • NHPR Board undertakes a year-long effort to shape the future of this state network. It calls for increased local news and information programming serving the people of New Hampshire, expanded signal coverage to all regions of the state, and utilization of new technologies that can facilitate additional service for listeners.

1995:

  • NHPR hires former NPR reporter Laura Knoy and launches The Exchange.

1996:

  • NHPR goes online at www.NHPR.org utilizing the web to deliver news content. 1997: NHPR’s audience is 100,800.

2000:

  • WEVC Berlin and a Littleton translator deliver NHPR to the North County.

2001:

  • February – NHPR adds new national and local programs reshaping its service to focus on providing an important news and information service for New Hampshire. The Front Porch is launched to showcase New Hampshire’s creative and remarkable citizens and their contributions to the state’s culture. The focus on news and information yields an immediate audience increase of 21%.

2002:

  • NHPR begins broadcasting to the Mount Washington Valley from WEVJ in Jackson.

2004:

  • NHPR has a regional audience of 156,000 and total operating revenues of $4,116,911 for the fiscal year. The staff of 41 full time employees includes a news staff of 22 professionals.

2005:

  • Betsy Gardella is hired as President and CEO.

2006:

  • August – 25th Anniversary of NHPR’s first on-air broadcast.
  • October -- Announcement of the Campaign for New Hampshire Public Radio, 21st Century Radio for the Granite State. Space for new broadcast center is purchased.

2007:

  • Colebrook translator goes on the air.

2008:

  • WEVO upgrades to a new transmitter
  • February - NHPR launches Word of Mouth with host Virginia Prescott.
  • June – construction on new broadcast center begins.
  • December 4-6 – An on-air Every Listener Campaign begins inviting listeners to contribute $50 to have their name on our Every Listener Donor wall to help us meet the Kresge Challenge Grant for the new broadcast center.
  • December 15 – first broadcast from new broadcast center.
  • December 21 – move from 207 North Main Street to 2 Pillsbury Street is completed, during a snow storm.

2009:

  • March – the Campaign for New Hampshire Public Radio, 21st Century Radio for the Granite State ends successful, meeting the Kresge Challenge Grant.

2010:

  • NHPR’s audience has grown to over 160,000 weekly listeners, over 16,500 members. Annual budget is $4,949,234 for the fiscal year.
  • NHPR launches an iPhone and iPad app, allowing listeners to continue to take NHPR with them wherever they go.

2011:

  • NHPR’s audience continues to grow, reaching 172,600 weekly listeners. 
  • Expansion continues in the North Country with the launch of the full power transmitter WEVF 90.3 Colebrook and 91.1 Littleton.