Hometown History #58: WMOO, Milking a Name for All it’s Worth
Hard to believe, but Franklin was a substantial producer of dairy milk at one time…. Indeed, before the dawn of the 20th
century, the Ray’s Elm Farm was elbowing its way into the big league of suppliers to the Boston metropolitan area.
By the 1950s, a more modest number of farms were still in the business, ensuring residents broad views of pastures, barns, feed silos, and other indicators of rural life. It was all enough, apparently, to inspire a local entrepreneur to launch the town’s first and, so far, only commercial radio station, AM 1490 with the catchy call sign of WMOO. The opening of the station studio was, in fact, heralded by tethering a local cow out front with her own bale of hay to munch on.
According to town historian Joe Landry, the radio station was first established in the Morse Block at 16 East Central Street in September of 1956. By January of 1957, it looks like they moved to 16 Main Street where John Rizoli had vacated this store and moved to 12 East Central Street in 1955.
Landry also spotted this vintage ad describing the station in the Sentinel newspaper:
But local conditions must not have been sufficiently supportive for WMOO – the town had only about 8,000 people – so the ownership and location were moved to the nearby metropolis of Milford (population 15,000) where it was presently renamed WMRC. And so it stayed for generations, finally upgraded and with an added FM signal in 2017 as MyFM 101.3. But it still broadcasts in AM, too at 1490 ‘kilocycles,’ to use the pre-1960 terminology...
Today, after wandering across the American landscape, the WMOO callsign belongs to an FM station based in Lydonville, VT –the heart of that state’s still prosperous dairy industry.