In 1958, the station first went on the air as WAGE, on 1290 kHz. In 1995, WAGE moved to 1200 kHz, allowing the use of a stronger full-time signal.
On October 29, 2008, WAGE received a permit from the Federal Communications Commission to move to 1190 kHz and increase its power to 50,000 watts. If the move had occurred, it would have caused Annapolis-based WBIS, currently on 1190 kHz, to shut down. While the station covered local news throughout its history, the music format changed over the years, going from classical music, to easy listening music, to country, to light rock and pop.
Logo used until August 2009.
On August 2, 2009, WAGE fell silent due to "tough economic conditions" and an ongoing attempt to move the station to AM 1190 and up the power to 50,000 watts. On April 21, 2010, the FCC approved WAGE's application to increase its daytime power to 50,000 watts and its nighttime power to 1,300 watts from different antenna sites, along with the frequency shift to 1190 kHz.
WCRW returned to the air on April 11, 2011, with the new callsign and format.
On November 2, 2015, the FCC announced it would investigate allegations that WCRW is controlled by China Radio International (CRI), the Chinese state broadcaster. Reuters reported that 60 percent of the station's airtime is leased by a subsidiary of CRI.