Radio Station WMBS-590AM, Fayette County’s first radio station and leader in providing the area with local news, sports, and community information is celebrating its 75th anniversary during July 2012.
To celebrate 75 years on the air, WMBS is planning a community picnic and listener appreciation event in the station’s parking lot on Saturday, July 14 from 11a.m. to 3p.m. Listeners can enjoy complimentary food and beverages, will have the opportunity to win prizes from WMBS and its local advertisers, meet and greet current and former WMBS Staff Members, and tour the WMBS Studios.
WMBS signed on the air for the first time on July 15, 1937. Its first broadcast originated in the ballroom of Uniontown’s former White Swan Hotel on West Main Street. The station’s studios were located in the Fayette Bank Building until 1960 when the station moved to West Fayette Street. In 2000, the station moved to its present location on the corner of South Mt. Vernon Avenue and Evergreen Terrace in Uniontown.
WMBS, owned by Fayette Broadcasting Corporation, bears the distinction of being under part of the same family ownership since it first went on the air. Though the principal shareholders have changed over the years, WMBS has had one family line involved in ownership and management for generations. Robert M. Pritts and Catherine Pritts, a husband and wife team, are the station’s primary owners. Robert M. Pritts is a cousin of the late Judge Edward Dumbauld, one of the station’s co-founders. Judge Dumbauld was a former Fayette County Judge and a former U.S. District Court Judge. Upon Judge Dumbauld’s death in 1997, the family’s interest passed to Robert M. Pritts, a retired public school administrator who owns a local residence in Indian Head.
WMBS has built a reputation over the years for retaining its personnel. On-Air announcers, Jim Morgan and Timothy Schwer, along with Office Manager, Doreen Miniafee, each have been a part of the WMBS staff for more than three decades. Brian Mroziak has served as the station General Manager since 2003.
WMBS has been an affiliate of the CBS radio news network for virtually its entire existence and is also an affiliate of the Dial Global “Adult Standards” nostalgia format.
WMBS is also the exclusive Fayette County radio outlet and a pioneer in live play-by-play game broadcasts of Pittsburgh Pirates baseball; Pittsburgh Steelers football; Pittsburgh Panthers basketball and football; and Pittsburgh Penguins hockey. WMBS also airs Uniontown High School football and basketball; Laurel Highlands High School baseball; NCAA basketball and football; National NFL Games; and the NFL Super Bowl.
In recent years, WMBS has been honored by the Pennsylvania Assocation of Broadcasters numerous times. In 2010 and 2011, WMBS was awarded the “Most Outstanding Local Radio Newscast” from a small market station. This past April, WMBS was awarded the “Most Outstanding Radio Series, History of the Civil War in Fayette County,” produced by Roland Maust, pastor of Grace Bretheran Church. Also awarded was the “Most Outstanding Radio Commercial,” created for WMBS advertiser Economy Furnace, with a jingle written and sung by Mike Krcil.
Even though the station has been on the air for the last 75 years, WMBS has stayed current with technology and equipment. Listeners can listen to most of WMBS’s programs online at www.wmbs590.com. The station even has apps available for listening to the station on most mobile phones. WMBS has also updated its studio with a new audio board and computer automation system.