WHAV(AM) in Haverhill, Mass., has had its ups and downs. Originally scheduled to be a post-World War II FM, it started as an AM, later added the FM, bounced between owners, bounced between frequencies, changed call letters and eventually went silent in 2002.
Along for much of that ride was Edwin V. Johnson. Starting in 1951, fresh out of college, Johnson survived by being an on-air personality, part-time engineer and news director during his more than 30 years with WHAV, retiring in1985. Johnson passed away in 2003.
Johnson’s wedding to fellow WHAV employee Pat Sprague was recorded and then broadcast on the station. Johnson would host a number of programs including local talk radio shows. Johnson himself interviewed young John F. Kennedy on the campaign trail.
So why is this more than a footnote in a Massachusetts broadcast history book?
In 2004 a former WHAV employee, Tim Coco, resurrected WHAV as an Internet station and then also as a low-power AM station (the third different frequency for WHAV).
Now Coco & company will be dedicating the Edwin V. Johnson Newsroom, a new WHAV newsroom, in honor of Johnson on Nov. 24. Mrs. Johnson will be on hand to unveil the plaque. Other local celebrities and acquaintances will attend.
Coco said, “Ed Johnson was WHAV’s longest serving employee, beginning only a few years after the Haverhill Gazette placed the radio station on the air … Mr. Johnson nearly simultaneously inspired several generations of students as instructor of English and public speaking at Haverhill High School from 1953 to 1989.”