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WSMR (89.1 MHz) is a non-commercial FM radio station licensed to Sarasota, Florida, United States. It is owned by the University of South Florida and programs a classical music format. WSMR broadcasts from a transmitter located near the intersection of US 41 and SR 681 in Laurel. Its programming is repeated on translator W280DW 103.9 FM in Tampa, from a 250 watt transmitter on the USF main campus.[1] WSMR's programming can also be heard around the Tampa Bay Area on the HD-2 signal of 89.7 WUSF.

History

The station was initially licensed in 1991 by Northwestern College of Roseville, Minnesota as WAYG, In 1996, it adopted its current call letters, WSMR. During most of its existence under Northwestern College, the station carried a Christian Adult Contemporary format, with the moniker "Life 89.1".

On July 30, 2010, Northwestern College announced that the station would cease broadcasting on August 4 at 5 pm.[2] Northwestern College held a STA to dismantle its current tower and broadcast on another station's auxiliary tower at a lower wattage.[3] A loss of donations from listeners and businesses during the recession has led Northwestern College to close WSMR, even though the special temporary authority (STA) filed with the FCC said that the station would continue broadcasting.

On the day of WSMR's closure, the University of South Florida announced its intention to acquire WSMR, with plans to change the station's format to classical music, while reimaging Tampa's WUSF FM as a station carrying National Public Radio-based talk programming by day and jazz at night. USF has moved the station slightly closer to the Tampa Bay area; WSMR's coverage is primarily the Sarasota-Bradenton area. However, the station's programming is also heard on WUSF-HD2. WUSF's main frequency began broadcasting an NPR News and talk schedule on September 15, 2010;[4] however, WSMR failed to launch on that date as previously announced. Various explanations were offered by WUSF, including delays due to FCC approval, and an undefined technical issue relating to another frequency assigned to "first responders" at the same tower site.[5]

The station's sale to USF also included W280DW, to carry WSMR's new classical signal in Tampa.[6]

Two weeks after the failed launch of classical replacement WSMR, station management came under public scrutiny [7] for neglecting to perform due diligence regarding the purchase of the WSMR transmitter. According to a Bradenton Herald article: