The Voice of the Heritage Radio Society

WYAR - 88.3MHz FM

Yarmouth, Maine USA; FCC Class A, Non-Commercial Educational Station

Our History

WYAR-FM is an FCC Class A non-commercial educational radio station licensed to and operated by the Heritage Radio Society, Inc., a 501-(c)3 non-profit corporation chartered in 1995. It was built as a retirement dream venture by the late Gary D. King in the basement of his home on Cousins Island in Yarmouth.

After three years of construction and licensing approval by the Federal Communications Commission, WYAR went on the air with an effective radiated power of 100 watts in September of 1998., broadcasting four hours a day, five days a week. This gradually increased until automation made 24/7/365 operation feasible in 2003, and in 2006 WYAR was permitted by the FCC to increase our effective radiated power tenfold to 1000 watts. 

Since the passing of Gary King in 2019, we’ve been focused on modernizing our physical plant. We hope this will give us the flexibility needed to respond to the very real challenges and opportunities we foresee in the future.

Our content

The closest industry category is “Adult Standards”, but that really doesn’t do us justice. We call our format “The American Classics”.

Our active play list is well over 7000 songs and continues to expand with no end in sight Plus, we’ve added many popular icons of the post 78-RPM era and select modern covers of standards. You can easily hear a 1920’s Paul Whiteman jazz number, then a 1959 Paul Anka song, then a 2022 cover by Michael Buble of a song written in 1940, followed by an original cast recording of a show tune from 1908. No other station has such stylistic diversity, playing music which spans well over a century.

WYAR uses many original mechanically reproduced recordings, some now more than 100 years old. While a certain amount of enhancement is possible, these old records are limited in fidelity. Yet the music transcends that limitation with a window into the past. WYAR transcends the time barrier, believing that this format can span past decades, uniting them with the present.

Our values

WYAR is non-commercial, non-partisan, inclusive, and respectful of cultural & stylistic differences. We use entertainment as an educational tool. The format of the station is not only designed to be instructive, it is intended to be nostalgic and fun, comic and poignant, inspirational and reflective, and everything else a worthy art should be.

WYAR is G rated. There is nothing played that you would not want your entire family to hear, any time of day or night. Call us old school, but we still believe old school is best.

In the autumn of 2011two students from the SALT Institute for Documentary Studies in Portland, Maine; Ashley Cleek and Epli, chose as a class project to produce a profile of our founder, the late Gary King.  In it, he speaks candidly about the creation of WYAR, his motivations, and the foundational values he laid down, which guide us still. The video also explains why WYAR plays so many covers of the song “You’ll Never Know,” although the final cut didn’t include any of the remarkable footage of Ashley belly dancing to the theme from the movie “Ghostbusters.”

Play Video

The mission of the Heritage Radio Society is the preservation and encouragement of traditional American popular music. Historians have been able to preserve the great names and events of our history. It is up to organizations like Heritage Radio Society to do the same for our music.