Thursday, August 30, 2007

Rural Radio Network

The Rural Radio Network (RRN) was a network of six commercial FM stations serving upstate New York. They were based out of Ithaca, NY. This set of simple farm stations was the first all-radio, no-wireline network in the world. They went online in 1948 with the idea of serving the agricultural communities of that region. The stations were all unmanned being remotely controlled from WVFC on Connecticut Hill near Ithaca. Classical programming was provided by WQXR in New York City relayed to the network by WFLY in Troy, NY.

Photo stolen from Go buy his calendar.

The concept for the network originated with the Cooperative Grange League Federation Exchange (GLF) an agricultural co-op founded in 1920 in Ithaca. They used a set of 10 stations connected by phone lines to carry a short 5 minute program.

In 1946, GLF having seen the advantages of the network and formed the Rural Radio Foundation. The board was embraced by several agricultural interest groups including the New York State Grange, Dairymen's League, and New York Artificial Breeder's Co-op.
The RRF consisted of the following 10 stations:
WVFC-AM-- Ithaca, NY
WFNF-AM-- Wethersfield, NY
WVBT-AM-- Bristol Center, NY
WVCN-AM-- DeRuyter, NY
WVCV-AM-- Cherry Valley, NY
WVBN-AM-- Turin, NY
WSLB-- Ogdensburg, NY
WGHF-AM-- Hartford, CT
WACE-- Springfield, MA
The stations struggled in their attempts at profitability. Their most famous owner was televangelist Pat Robertson. He got ahold of the network through a corporate donation in 1969. By the 1980s Robertson was trying to off load the money pit. He sold them to individual owners dissolving the network entirely. More here.