New England Radio Station Call Letters: What do they stand for?
From the beginning days of Radio, the Federal Radio Commission (later the Federal Communications Commission) assigned all letters to various stations, in alphabetical order.  That is, KAA to KZZZ and WAA to WZZZ.  However, owners of stations could request call letters based on any number of criteria.  For example, WHB in Kansas City stood for "World's Heart Beat."  St. Petersburg, Florida's WFLA stood for the then-abbreviation for the state of Florida, Fla (WFLA was originally licensed to Boca Raton, Florida, until that station went dark).  Call letters have been used to identify the initials of station owners, locales they served, slogans, and more.

New England Radio stations had, and many still retain, call letters based on the above.  Our visitors have collaborated on the following list, based on AM stations' original call letters.  If you can add to this list or correct it, please let me know. Some stations on this list have either changed call letters or gone off the air entirely.  The main purpose of this list is to show the meanings of the call letters; not reflect current station history.  I am interested only in New England stations dating from before or just after 1960 when radio was king!

* = No original meaning, calls were sequentially allocated by the government.

WATR Waterbury Waterbury
WBRY Waterbury Waterbury
WDRC Hartford Original owner Frank Dolittle's Dolittle Radio Company
WELI New Haven Elihu Yale provided funding for Yale University in 1716
WGCH Greenwich Greenwich
WICC Bridgeport Industrial Center of Connecticut
WICH Norwich Norwich
WILI Willimantic Willimantic
WNHC New Haven New Haven, Connecticut
WNLC New London New London, Connecticut
WNLK Norwalk Norwalk
WPOP Hartford Popular music
WSTC Stamford Stamford, Connecticut
WSUB Groton Home of a huge submarine base
WTIC Hartford Original owner, Travelers Insurance Corp.
WTOR Torrington Torrington
WWCO Waterbury Waterbury, Connecticut

WBME Belfast Belfast, ME
WCME Boothbay Harbor Central Maine
WCSH Portland Studios originally located at the Congress Square Hotel
WDEA Ellsworth Wonder Down East Area (Established in 1958)
WDME Dover-Foxcroft Dover, Maine
WFAU Augusta From Augusta
WGAN Portland Original owner Guy Gannett
WHOU Houlton Houlton
WLKN Lincoln Lincoln (Lin'k'oln)
WLOB Portland Lobster (Maine's most famous and delicious crustacean)
WMKR Millinocket Millinocket Radio (in 2003, WSYY)
WPOR Portland Portland
WQDY Calais Near Quoddy Bay
WRKD Rockland Rockland
WRUM Rumford Rumford
WSKW Skowhegan Skowhegan
WSME Sanford Sanford, ME
WTVL Waterville Waterville

WALE Fall River "Whale" (Fall River was a big whaling-enterprise city)
WARE Ware Ware
WBEC Pittsfield Berkshire Eagle Company (newspaper)
WBET Brockton Brockton Enterprise newspaper
WBOS Brookline Boston
WBRK Pittsfield Berkshire mountains
WCAS Cambridge Cambridge, Arlington, Somerville
WCOP Boston Station was originally located at Copley Square.
WCRB Waltham Charles River Broadcasting
WEEI Boston Edison Electric Illuminating
WESO Webster Webster and Southbridge (main cities served)
WESX Salem Essex County
WEZE Boston "Easy"- listening format
WGAW Gardner Original owner Gordon A. Wiley
WHAI Greenfield Original owner was Dr. Carleton Deane Haigis
WHAV Haverhill Haverhill
WHDH Boston * Originally licensed to Gloucester, in 1929
WHMP Northampton Northampton
WJDA Quincy Original owner: John D. Asher
WLLH Lowell & Lawrence Lowell & Lawrence
WLOE Chelsea Chelsea Loews Theatre
WLYN Lynn Lynn
WMAS Springfield Massachusetts
WMEX Boston *
WMLO Beverly "Mellow"
WMRC Milford Milford Radio Corporation
WNAC Boston (No meaning; sequentially-assigned by the FRC)
WNBH New Bedford Originally located at the New Bedford Hotel
WNEB Worcester Original owner, New England Broadcasting
WNTN Newton Newton
WORC Worcester Worcester
WPLM Plymouth Plymouth
WRKO Boston Then-owner RKO General
WSAR Fall River We Show Advertising Results
WSBS Great Barrington Southern Berkshire Sation
WSPR Springfield Springfield
WTAG Worcester Owner Worcester Telegram & Gazette newspaper
WTAO Cambridge Tilt the "T" just right and take off the lower left corner of the letter A, it looks like W740.
WUNR Brookline United Nations Radio (WBOS, changed to a brokered-ethnic format)
WXHR Cambridge Harvey Radio Labs

New Hampshire
WBNC North Conway Beautiful North Country
WBRL Berlin Berlin
WDCR Dartmouth Dartmouth College Radio
WFTN Franklin Franklin, Tilton, Northfield, (main cities served)
WHEB Portsmouth "HEB" are the initials of the original owner. Went dark January 31, 1991.
WKBK Keene Original owners' initials: Kilgore & Barkley in Keene
WKBR Manchester Original owners' initials: Kilgore, Barkley & Rust
WKNE Keene Keene
WKNH (FM) Keene Keene, New Hampshire (Keene State College)
WLNH Laconia Laconia, NH
WLTN Littleton Littleton
WMOU Berlin Voice of the White Mountains
WMUR Manchester Original owner, Francis P. Murphy, who later became governor of NH
WMTW (FM) Mount Washington Mount Washington
WNEC (FM) Henniker New England College
WPNH Plymouth Plymouth NH
WSCV Peterborough We Serve the Contoocook Valley
WSMN Nashua Sports, music, news
WTSN Dover Twin State Network
WTSL Waterbury Twin States, Lebanon
WTSV Claremont Twin States Valley, the Connecticut River valley of New Hampshire and Vermont.
WUNH (FM) Durham University of New Hampshire

Rhode Island
WBRU (FM) Providence Brown University
WEAN Providence We Entertain A Nation
WERI Westerly Westerl(i)y
WICE Providence "Ice" as the station broadcast the hockey games of the Rhode Island Reds.
WJAR Providence NOT John Arthur Reilly, the stations first engineer  But...
WKFD Wickford Wickford (station now dark)
WLKW Providence Used to broadcast on 990 kHz with 50 kW of power.  The number 50 in Roman numerals is written as L, so WLKW, 50kW.
WNRI Woonsocket Northern Rhode Island
WOON Woonsocket Woonsocket (formerly WWON)
WPRO Providence Providence
WRIB Providence Rhode Island Broadcasting
WWRI West Warwick West Warwick, Rhode Island (Became WSVP in the late 1960s, "The Suburban Voice of Providence")

The following from a former WJAR employee who was kind enough to make the correction: The story as related in The Outlet Story by Samuel Chipman Smart:

"An old-time rumor had it that WJAR's initials came from James A. Reilly. This, of course, is absolutely false. Reilly was not employed by WJAR until 1924, two years after the station began broadcasting. Actually, WJAR's call letters were assigned by the Boston office of the Department of Commerce. As Ray Blanchard remembers it, he and two Department of Commerce inspectors ... went to Boston to apply for call letters in August 1922 and came back with the letters WJAR. Blanchard recalled, 'We didn't like the damn call letters, but we were stuck with them.' "

WBTN Bennington Bennington
WDEV Waterbury We Delight Every Vermonter
WEZF (FM) Burlington Easy FM (original format)
WKVT Brattleboro We Serve Keene and Vermont.
WNHV White River Junction New Hampshire and Vermont
WSKI Montpelier Ski (near the famous Stowe skiing area)
WSNO Barre Snow
WSTJ St. Johnsbury St. Johnsbury
WSYB Rutland We Serve You Best
WTSA Brattleboro Tri-State Area (Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts)
WVMT Burlington Vermont
WVNY Burlington Vermont, New York