|This article does not cite any references or sources. (May 2009)|
|City of license||Schenectady, New York|
|Broadcast area||Primary: Capital District, Upper Hudson Valley, Lower Adirondack Region
Secondary: The Berkshires, Eastern Mohawk Valley, Mid-Hudson Valley
|Branding||99.5 The River|
|Frequency||99.5 MHz (also on HD Radio)
99.5-2 MHz Country "Wild Country 99.9" (HD Radio)
|Translator(s)||99.9 W260CH (Albany, relays HD2)|
|First air date||February 1, 1939 (as WGFM)|
|Format||Hot Adult Contemporary|
|HAAT||282 meters (925 ft)|
|Callsign meaning||W (Hudson) RiVEr|
|Former callsigns||WGFM (1939-1988)
|Sister stations||WGY, WGY-FM, WPYX, WTRY-FM, WKKF, WOFX|
Listen Live (HD2)
WRVE (99.5 The River) is a hot adult contemporary radio station licensed to Schenectady, New York and serving the Capital District and Upper Hudson Valley of New York. It broadcasts at 99.5 FM at 14.5 kilowatts ERP from a transmitter in Guilderland, New York. The station is owned by iHeartMedia, Inc. and is one of seven radio stations currently owned by the company in the Albany market.
Though billed (and classified by Arbitron and Mediabase) as a hot AC station, the station has a slight lean towards adult contemporary music. Its main competitors include WYJB (B95.5) and WJKE (101.3 The Jockey, a station serving the Saratoga/Glens Falls area).
While known as WRVE since March 1994, the station has a much longer history as one of the nation's pioneering FM radio stations. A byproduct of the station being owned by General Electric with similarly pioneering sisters WGY (AM) and WRGB (TV), WRVE traces its history to W2XDA Schenectady and W2XOY New Scotland, New York - two experimental frequency modulation transmitters on 48.5 MHz, which signed on in 1939. The two were merged into one station with the W2XOY call-letters on November 20, 1940 with the station taking the WGFM call-letters in the late 1940s, and moving to 99.5 MHz when the FM band was relocated to the 88-108 MHz portion of the radio spectrum.
On June 1, 1961 at 12:01 AM (EDT), WGFM became the first FM station in the United States to broadcast in stereo. During this time the station began a departure from simulcasting sister station WGY (AM), migrating to a classical music format and later evolving into easy listening/"beautiful music."
As FM radio listening grew during the 1970s, the 99.5 frequency played host to formats including TM's syndicated/automated Top-40 "Stereo Rock" format, starting in 1973, as "Rock 99." The same TM format and announcer was used at other stations in Upstate New York during this period, including WYUT (now WXUR) in Herkimer (Utica-Rome), WKFM (now WBBS) in Fulton/Syracuse, WNOZ (now WIII) in Cortland/Ithaca, WPXY (FM) in Rochester and WBEN-FM (now WTSS) in Buffalo. WGFM later switched to a live Adult Contemporary format in 1981, known as "99 - The Light".
In 1983, the station reverted to Top 40 (this time with live personalities) as "99 GFM" and spent much of the 1980s in pursuit of competitor, WFLY. By 1985, "99-GFM" had become the dominant Top 40 station in the Albany market. Within the next two years, ratings began to erode. It was during this period, General Electric sold WGFM and WGY (the stations subsequently changed owners several times during the following decade).
By 1988, declining ratings led the station to re-image and, in turn, drop the longtime WGFM call-letters in favor of WGY-FM. After nearly two years as a younger-leaning Top 40 station known as Electric 99, WGY-FM changed its format to Oldies in October, 1990. This occurred during a period when two other stations in the market were already airing the Oldies format.
In late 1993, Dame Media purchased WGY and WGY-FM. Dame took control in March 1994 and immediately changed 99.5's format from Oldies to the current "River" format - and the call letters were changed to the current WRVE. At the outset, the station was branded as "Rock without the hard edge" and was musically programmed as an Adult Album Alternative station, though the station's music evolved to become more mainstream (becoming more so after Clear Channel purchased Dame in 1998). In the middle of 2012, the station started adding in more current Top-40 music that is normally heard on its sister station WKKF, and changed their slogan to "The 80's to Now, and Everything In-Between". Months later, at the beginning of May 2013, they kept some current music in, but removed some and began playing more music from the mid 90's and early 2000's. In order to keep diversity between their sister stations WPYX which plays mostly classic and Album Rock, as well as the more current music on WKKF, the river re-branded itself again, but like last time, just changed their slogan. They kept it mostly the same, but changed it to "The 90's to Now". Some music from the 80's can still be heard, but very seldom, in order to diversify itself. At the same time, more 90's mainstream music can be heard now on the station, as well as music from the 2000s, and current day that isn't as "dancy" so to say, in order to leave most of that type with its sister station WKKF.
HD radio operations
In 2005, WRVE added IBOC digital radio (as did Clear Channel's other Albany stations). On August 17, 2006, WRVE began airing an HD2 channel with an Adult Album Alternative similar to, but more varied than, the original "River" format. This HD2 channel was later replaced with a jazz channel which was formerly located on WTRY-FM. On January 14, 2015 WRVE-HD2 changed their format to country, branded as "Wild Country 99.9" (also broadcast on FM translator W260CH 99.9 FM Albany).
- Query the FCC's FM station database for WRVE
- Radio-Locator information on WRVE
- Query Nielsen Audio's FM station database for WRVE
- Query the FCC's FM station database for W260CH
- Radio-Locator information on W260CH