WMHB’s beginnings originate to Radio Colby, a weekly radio show aired on WTVL, a Waterville AM radio station. Beginning in 1949, Radio Colby featured Colby news, trivia, and favorite new music. Much of the same type of material that was broadcast on the radio show is now available on the “Inside Colby” podcast, a production by the Colby College communications office. Radio Colby on WTVL would be discontinued in December 1957.
Given Radio Colby’s popularity, students wished to further develop campus broadcasting. In the Spring of 1955, Radio Colby went on air as 600 K.C. AM, a carrier current station. Being a carrier current station, the call letters were arbitrary, and KCAM referred to ‘K Colby AM’. Students could listen in by attaching a cable from their radio to radiator pipes or ground wire of the electrical system. The station broadacst originated in the veteran’s apartments (temporary housing created for the returning World War II veterans) and could be heard on the eastern side of campus including the residences which were at the time fraternity houses. The veterans apartments were demolished in 1957, and Radio Colby went silent.
Radio Colby came back in 1964 on 610 kHz carrier current. Broadcasting from Roberts Union, the new station could be heard almost all around campus. Radio Colby began to develop from a novelty into more of a full featured radio station, featuring both news and music. This increase in development led the station to apply for a 10 watt Class D Noncommercial FM license in 1973. Radio Colby incorporated as the Mayflower Hill Broadcasting Corporation, a separate entity from Colby College and governed completely by students.
In 1984, WMHB upgraded to 110 watts effective radiated power, increasing its radius from the immediate Waterville area to the surrounding communities and continued as a mainly on-campus feature, although community support began to grow over time.
In the mid-1990s WMHB began a new chapter in its existence. The station began to structure itself more like a public radio station rather than a campus club. These developments increased as time went on, and in January 2001, WMHB first began to stream its content on the Internet. Due to royalty battles, WMHB had to pull its webstream down shortly after, but WMHB re-instated webstreaming in 2002.
Over time the web became a major aspect of WMHB’s listenership base, attracting listeners from all over the world as well as an increased number of Colby students. Beginning in the fall of 2007, station staff led a dramatic digital renovation. Previously, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act had prohibited WMHB from broadcasting online unless there was a live DJ in the studio to update playlist information, but the incorporation of a digital music library allowed WMHB’s webcast to run twenty-four hours a day when no DJ was in the studio. In March 2007, WMHB was added to the iTunes radio tuner, as well as the radio tuners of Windows Media and TiVo.