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|Broadcast area||Washington metropolitan area|
|Branding||Classical WETA 90.9 FM|
|Frequency||90.9 MHz (also on HD Radio)|
|Translator(s)||See tables below|
|First air date||1970|
|Format||Analog/HD1: Classical/NPR News|
HD2: Classical Vocal Music ("VivaLaVoce")
|ERP||75,000 watts (analog)|
3,200 watts (digital)
|HAAT||186 meters (610 ft)|
|Callsign meaning||WETA: Washington Educational Telecommunications Association|
|Owner||Greater Washington Educational Telecommunications Association|
|Webcast||WETA Live Stream|
WETA (90.9 FM) is a non-commercial, public FM radio station licensed to serve Washington, DC, broadcasting a classical music format. Its studios are located in Arlington, Virginia and its broadcast tower is located near Arlington at ( ).
WETA is a grandfathered “superpower” station. The station covers the Washington metropolitan area with the highest analog effective radiated power (ERP) of any FM station in the market with 75,000 watts. This exceeds the maximum analog ERP limit allowed for a Class B FM station, and is also above the maximum allowable analog ERP for the station's antenna height above average terrain (HAAT) according to current FCC rules, which is 32,000 watts at 186 meters.
Past formats and format changes
From 1970 through early 2005, WETA featured a mixed radio format of classical music, folk music, jazz, and news. It switched to a predominantly news and talk radio format from February 28, 2005 until January 22, 2007, when it switched to its current all-classical radio format. The switch was part of an unusual deal between the public radio station and commercial station WGMS (FM), which abandoned the classical music format it had aired for decades after an attempt to sell WGMS to Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder failed. The FCC subsequently granted WETA permission to use the WGMS call letters for its Hagerstown, Maryland repeater station, formerly known as WETH.
WETA changed to a classical music format on January 22, 2007, at 8 p.m. EST, with classical music now offered for more of the broadcast day than ever before in the station’s history. Its current classical format is primarily mainstream orchestral, with a smattering of early and baroque music and chamber music. Aside from Saturday afternoon opera, very few vocal performances are aired on WETA.
As of April 2007 WETA reduced the number of hourly NPR newscasts, which had continued to be heard every hour since the change to the classical music format. Newscasts are now heard on the hour during drive time and at selected hours at other times. WETA also airs audio from the PBS NewsHour Monday through Friday evenings, for the benefit of area commuters unable to arrive home in time to view the program on television.
WETA airs opera programming on Saturday afternoons, including the Metropolitan Opera radio broadcasts during the Met's regular December–April broadcast season. They inherited from WGMS an all-vocal classical music format branded, "VivaLaVoce, the station that sings", on HD2.
For many years, WETA has provided a sub-carrier channel for The Metropolitan Washington Ear, Inc., which offers news for the blind and visually impaired. Listeners tune in to the service using special receivers provided free to qualifying individuals and can receive audio from more than 200 current publications, including newspapers, magazines, and bestselling books.
One full-power station is licensed to simulcast the programming of WETA:
|Call sign||Frequency||City of license||Facility ID||ERP
|Class||Transmitter coordinates||Call sign meaning|
|WGMS||89.1 FM (HD)||Hagerstown, Maryland||25103||900 (analog)
|408 m (1,339 ft)||B1||NAD27)(||Washington's Good Music Station|
WETA programming is broadcast on the following translator:
|City of license||Facility
|Class||Transmitter coordinates||FCC info|
|W205BL||88.9||Frederick, Maryland||90076||200||−16.2 m (−53 ft)||D||NAD27)(||FCC|
- "ENGINEERING EXHIBIT: Request for Operation of Superpower Station with Increased Digital Power". fcc.gov. Federal Communications Commission. October 18, 2016. Retrieved 2018-06-18.
- "FM Query Results for WETA". fcc.gov. Federal Communications Commission. Retrieved 2014-08-12.
- "FM Broadcast Station Classes and Service Contours". fcc.gov. Federal Communications Commission. Retrieved 2018-11-30.
- Smith, D. (July 5, 2013). "Superpower FMs". w9wi.com. Retrieved 2018-11-30.
- "FCC 335-FM Digital Notification [WMGS]". fcc.gov. Federal Communications Commission. November 3, 2016. Retrieved 2018-06-18.
- Official website
- Classical WETA Live Stream
- Classical WETA "Classical Blog for Music Lovers" by Critic-at-Large, Jens F. Laurson
- The Segue from WGMS to WXGG
- The Segue from News/NPR to Classical WETA
- WETA FM Press Release describing January 22, 2007 format change to all classical
- Query the FCC's FM station database for WETA
- Radio-Locator information on WETA
- Query Nielsen Audio's FM station database for WETA
- Query the FCC's FM station database for WGMS
- Radio-Locator information on WGMS
- Query Nielsen Audio's FM station database for WGMS