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Broadcast area Apollo, Pennsylvania
Slogan "The Mountain"
Frequency 910 kHz
First air date April 15, 1947
Format Variety Hits (simulcast of WXMT)
Power 5,000 watts (Daytime)
69 watts (Night)
Class D
Callsign meaning Apollo Vandergrift Leechburg
Owner Evangel Heights Assembly of God Church (sale pending)
Website [1]

WAVL (AM 910) is an American radio station serving the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area. The station, which is owned by Evangel Heights Assembly of God church, broadcasts on 910 kHz with a maximum power output of 5,000 watts daytime and 69 watts nighttime. It is licensed to the borough of Apollo, Pennsylvania. The station is awaiting FCC approval for a possible sale.

WAVL, after a long history of religious radio broadcasting, is now under a Variety Hits format, simulcasting affiliate station WXMT.


Early years[edit]

WAVL first signed on the air April 15, 1947. For many years, this station operated as a 1,000 watt, non-directional, daytime-only station. After being denied an STA to broadcast high school football games in 1948, ownership applied for permission to operate at 100 watts during the night in 1949, but that was denied in 1951 following a hearing on the matter.

In 1978, then-owner Tri-Borough Broadcasting raised a second tower, adopted a directional antenna pattern, and increased its power to 5,000 watts, but still retained its daytime-only status. WAVL was granted permission to operate at a limited nighttime power of 69 watts in the late 1990s.

For much of its existence, WAVL was a conservative Christian radio station, broadcasting inspirational music and time-brokered sermons from its studios located with its transmitter site in the Kiskiminetas Township village of Orchard Hills, just on the outskirts of Apollo, its city of license. WAVL was also the very first radio station in Armstrong County, with WACB (now WTYM) coming on the air the following year.

For a time at the beginning, WAVL maintained studios and offices at the corner of Fourth Street and Pennsylvania Avenue in downtown Apollo, until they were destroyed by a fire in 1956.

WAVL was founded by Andrew J. West and the Reverend Cecil F. Clifton, a deeply patriotic minister who started the station on the principle of "serving God and Country by guarding America's spiritual heritage". The station remained in Clifton's family for more than 50 years, doing business as Tri-Borough Broadcasting (referring to Apollo, Vandergrift, and Leechburg, which was also the origins of the station call letters).

The station is also speculated to have been among the very first in the nation to begin the practice of brokering its airtime to ministries and other faith-based organizations, including one of the first in the nation to broadcast Messianic Jewish programming with the Rabbi Sloan talk-teaching broadcast called "Shema Israel" in the mid 1990s.

The station also broadcast local news weekday mornings in between the time-brokered programs for many years, anchored by the soft-spoken, deep-baritoned genial Carman Tubby, who was a favorite in the community for many years until his death on September 14, 2000 [2], and became best known for addressing his listeners on the air as "friends". Tubby had worked at WAVL since its inception and retired seven months prior to his death, concluding almost 54 years of service.

After Reverend Clifton's death in 1990, the station passed to his wife Alice. Their son-in-law, Reverend Robert Dain, had served as the station's General Manager years before that. At the beginning of the 21st century, following Mrs. Clifton's death, WAVL was put up for sale.

Clifton dynasty ends[edit]

WAVL was purchased in 2001 for $400,000 by Evangel Heights Assembly of God, a church in Sarver, Pennsylvania; located at Routes 356 and 28 in southern Butler County. Wishing to move WAVL towards a younger audience, Evangel Heights decided to change the station's format to contemporary Christian, gradually phasing out the ministries, and adopting the moniker "Praise 910". The station first broadcast with a live, local airstaff during the daytime hours, then switching to satellite based programming at night, with modest success.

In 2007, Evangel Heights replaced all local air staff with satellite programming full-time, and moved studios to the church on Beale Road in Buffalo Township.

Evangel Heights in 2009 launched a conservative all-talk satellite-delivered format under the "Liberty 910" banner, with some brokered ministry programming in limited numbers.

WAVL today[edit]

The two-antenna direction array, seen from Kings Road, looking north

In August of 2013 WAVL was under agreement to be sold to Kittanning-based Family-Life Media-Com Inc., owner of WTYM and a low-power Christian-formatted television station, with the station being operated under an LMA until details of the sale could be finalized. Coincidentally, Family Life Media-Com President David Croyle, once worked for WAVL under Tri-Borough Broadcasting's ownership. The station's studios were returned to its transmitter facility following the LMA, but most business was conducted from Family Life's headquarters in Kittanning.

The station was taken back to its roots of music and ministry since Family Life Media-Com's assumption of operations, with a mix of local and national shows plus featured live broadcasts from the Family Life Studios in Kittanning.

As of July 31, 2015, control reverted back to Evangel Heights Assembly of God Church due to both sides being unable to work out an amicable agreement on the sale of the station. The church elected to take WAVL silent for staffing reasons and filed a Special Temporary Authority application with the FCC allowing the station to remain silent for a six-month period.

On Wednesday, December 30, 2015, it was reported that WAVL was back on the air with a Variety Hits format. It was confirmed the next day that the format was simulcast from "The Mountain", a station broadcasting at 106.3 FM in Smethport, Pennsylvania and 98.7 in Olean, New York, both of which are owned by Colonial Media and Entertainment, based in Olean.


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°35′01″N 79°31′34″W / 40.58361°N 79.52611°W / 40.58361; -79.52611