WGBB Radio: A Storied Journey through Long Island’s Airwaves

Written by on June 1, 2023

Radio has long been a beloved medium, capable of entertaining and informing audiences across vast distances. In the realm of Long Island, New York, WGBB Radio has left an indelible mark on the airwaves since its inception. From its humble beginnings to its status as a local institution, WGBB has showcased the power of radio in connecting communities and shaping the region’s cultural fabric. Join us as we embark on a journey through the captivating history of WGBB Radio.

Birth of a Legend:
WGBB Radio first licensed on December 13, 1924, to Harry H. Carman, for operation on 1240 kHz. Carman, a radio enthusiast, established the station with a mission to provide Long Islanders with a local voice that reflected their interests, concerns, and aspirations. Initially, WGBB operated from a garage at 215 Bedell Street in Freeport, New York, with a modest 50-watt signal that could reach only a limited audience.

Growth and Expansion:
As the popularity of radio grew, so did WGBB’s reach and influence. In the early years, the station primarily featured live music performances, airing popular tunes of the time and showcasing local talent. The station’s programming also included news, weather updates, sports coverage, and community announcements. It quickly became a trusted source of information and entertainment for the residents of Long Island.

In 1931, WGBB moved from Carman’s Bedell Street home in Freeport, to the Freeport Post Office building at 64 South Grove Street. The station also increased its broadcast power to 500 watts, enabling it to reach a wider audience. WGBB continued to evolve, adapting to new technologies and trends. It embraced the emergence of rock and roll in the 1950s, and by the 1960s, WGBB had become a hub for airing Top 40 hits and hosting popular disc jockeys who captivated listeners with their engaging personalities.

Community Engagement and Public Service:
WGBB Radio has always been deeply committed to its listeners and the communities it serves. Throughout its history, the station has actively participated in local events, charitable initiatives, and community outreach programs. WGBB has been a platform for local businesses, artists, and community organizations to share their stories and promote their causes.

During times of crisis and uncertainty, WGBB has played a crucial role in disseminating information to the public. From broadcasting emergency alerts during severe weather events to providing updates during major news events, the station has consistently demonstrated its dedication to public service.

Challenges and Reinvention:
Like many traditional media outlets, WGBB Radio faced challenges with the advent of television and the internet. The rise of FM radio and online streaming posed significant competition. Despite these obstacles, WGBB persisted, adapting its programming and expanding its online presence to stay relevant in the digital age.

Today, WGBB Radio continues to be a beloved institution on Long Island, serving as a hub for local news, sports, and community-oriented programming. It remains a source of comfort, connection, and entertainment for listeners of all ages.

From its modest beginnings to its enduring presence, WGBB Radio has woven itself into the very fabric of Long Island’s cultural landscape. It has evolved alongside technological advancements, weathered storms of change, and remained committed to its listeners and communities. As radio continues to evolve, WGBB stands as a testament to the enduring power of this timeless medium. With each broadcast, it carries the rich history and collective voice of Long Island, ensuring that WGBB Radio remains an integral part of the region’s heritage for generations to come.

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