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"WETS 89.5 Johnson City" - Johnson City, Tennessee
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member PersonsMD
N 36° 18.090 W 082° 21.663
17S E 377796 N 4018249
Quick Description: WETS FM 89.5 serving the Johnson City listening area. Located on the campus of East Tennessee State University in Johnson City, Tennessee
Location: Tennessee, United States
Date Posted: 12/27/2008 6:06:16 PM
Waymark Code: WM5ECT
Published By: Groundspeak Regular Member WannerClan
Views: 10

Long Description:
The following is sited from: (visit link)

WETS-FM is a public radio station operated as a partnership between East Tennessee State University and the station’s listeners. Operating 24-hours a day at 89.5 MHz in the Tri-Cities Tennessee/Virginia region, the station is now heard everywhere on the Internet through the World Wide Web.

Our Mission

The mission of WETS-FM is to provide high-quality cultural programming for, and about, the region we serve – roughly a 120-mile radius from the ETSU campus in Johnson City, Tennessee.

WETS-FM serves as a cultural outlet for our region, presenting news, music, and information that is unavailable on other broadcast outlets.

In carrying out this mission, WETS focuses much of its broadcast day on classical music. In addition to recorded performances from the great orchestras of the world, WETS records and broadcasts local and regional orchestras and ensembles, including the Kingsport Symphony, the Johnson City Symphony, the Johnson City Civic Chorale, the Mid-Atlantic Chamber Orchestra, and others. These recordings are featured each week on WETS Concert Hall.

WETS also emphasizes the culture of our southern Appalachian region. A large portion of our broadcast schedule is devoted to Americana: a blend of traditional American styles that incorporates country, folk, blues, jazz, bluegrass, Celtic, rock, and other elements.

The area served by the WETS broadcast signal is the heartland of traditional American music, and the roster of artists who have performed live in our studios reads like a “Who’s Who” of Americana: Doc Watson, Byron Berline, Ralph Stanley, John Cephas and Phil Wiggins, Jean Ritchie, and many more. Original and unique Americana programming is available on Roots and Branches and Studio One.

The station serves our region with unique news and information. In addition to news from National Public Radio and its nationally distributed programs Morning Edition and All Things Considered, WETS features local and regional news through a partnership with the Kingsport Times-News, our region’s premier newspaper. Regional interests are also addressed through local additions to Morning Edition.

WETS recognizes its responsibility to reflect the concerns and interests of a broad spectrum of listeners who are not served by commercial broadcast media. Our online presence permits an expansion of our service beyond the limits of broadcast technology.


WETS-FM went on the air on February 24, 1974. Since that time, the station has developed into one of the most important cultural voices between Knoxville, Tennessee and Roanoke, Virginia.

Richard F. “Dick” Ellis was the first Director of WETS-FM. A native of Roan Mountain, Tennessee, Dick began his broadcasting career after serving in the Navy in World War Two and attending college. He worked at several radio stations and was one of the first newscasters on WJHL-TV in Johnson City. He was best known, however, as the voice of “Little Richard” on WJCW-AM. Teamed with “Professor Kingfish” (William Marrs), Ellis became a fixture on morning radio in the Tri-Cities.

Managing a public radio station was a new challenge for “Little Richard.” Like most public stations, WETS had a low budget, a small staff, and a “make do” facility – in our case, a two-story frame house on the ETSU campus. The first task was to hire enough staff to stay on the air for 18 hours a day, the minimum required to receive a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB).

CPB grants, although vital, were never enough to maintain even a minimal service. In 1979, listeners were asked to become partners in public radio. The first-ever WETS-FM fundraiser drew pledges of $15,742 from 541 listeners. [The partnership has grown; in fiscal year 2000, listeners and businesses contributed over $300,000 to the daily operation of WETS.]

Keeping pace with technology has always been a challenge for public radio, and WETS is no exception. In 1980, National Public Radio became the first network to distribute programming via satellite. With listener funding, WETS moved its transmitter to a better location on Holston Mountain in1981. Compact discs gradually replace vinyl LPs on the air, and analog tape was replaced by digital tape, and finally by all-digital storage and delivery,

By 1983, however, it was obvious that WETS needed a new building. The original frame house was not designed for the wiring and weight loads required in a radio station. Suitable space was not found in existing buildings on the ETSU campus, and state money was not available to build a structure. The station had only one source of potential funding – its listeners.

In 1986 and 1987, listeners contributed over a quarter-million dollars to build a new home for WETS. In December 1988, WETS began broadcasting from a new facility on the south end of the ETSU campus.

WETS-FM Studio - ETSU Campus - Winter 2001
ETSU recognized the work of Dick Ellis in making this project a reality. On January 24, 1993, the building was officially dedicated “Richard F. Ellis Hall.” Dick Ellis, weakened after a long bout with lung cancer, attended the ceremony and accepted the congratulations of university leaders, area legislators, and listeners. Two weeks later, Ellis died at his home. Wayne Winkler, who started at WETS as an announcer in 1978 and was the current operations director, became the new Director of the station in August 1993.

The Future

WETS-FM, like all public radio stations, faces an uncertain but exciting future. The radio industry as a whole is changing rapidly, and the development of satellite broadcasting and Internet radio presents both challenges and opportunities for traditional broadcast stations.

The station began streaming its on-air signal on the internet through the World Wide Web in June 2000. Since then, WETS, in partnership with ZFx, has continued to develop its web presence. Currently, listeners can enjoy our programming from anywhere in the world with Internet access. Archived original programming is available through this website, creating “radio on demand,” and the offerings will increase as time goes by. The possibilities are virtually endless. With the support of those who use this service, WETS will continue to grow and to present unique programming for and about our region.
Station Category: Public Broadcaster

Genre or specialty of the station submitted: Other

Station web-page: [Web Link]

Internet web-casting link if available.: [Web Link]

How is the signal transmitted: By "Transmission Tower"

Favourite program or on air person/announcer:
Mike Strickland - WETS provides a wide variety of programing from Democracy now to Bluegrass music to NPR news to 30 minutes of reading a reciting a novel on air for the visualy impaired. It is a GREAT public radio station.

"SIRIUS Satellite Radio" channel number: Not listed

"XM Satellite Radio" channel number: Not listed

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