WGVM

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WGVM
City of license Greenville, Mississippi
Branding Classic Rock 1260
Frequency 1260 kHz
First air date December 1948
Format Classic rock
Language(s) English
Power 2,400 watts day
32 watts night
Class D
Facility ID 41838
Transmitter coordinates 33°25′20″N 91°01′41″W / 33.42222°N 91.02806°W / 33.42222; -91.02806
Callsign meaning GreenVille, Mississippi
Owner ARK-LA-MS Radio Group, LLC
Sister stations WDMS

WGVM (1260 AM) is an American radio station licensed to serve the community of Greenville, Mississippi, USA. The station was established in 1948 by David M. Segal and owned by him for nearly six decades. WGVM is currently owned and operated by ARK-LA-MS Radio Group, LLC.

The station began with an eclectic array of live programming including blues and Gospel music, transitioned to rockabilly-influenced Top 40 in the 1950s, and became a top-rated country music station in the 1960s and 1970s. WGVM's fortunes followed the general decline of AM radio stations in the United States and the station went off the air for several months in 2006 before finding a new owner and a new direction. WGVM now serves the "Ark-La-Miss" region with live sports and sports talk programming.

Programming[edit]

WGVM broadcasts a classic rock format to the "Ark-La-Miss" region bounded by Pine Bluff, Arkansas, to the northwest, Batesville, Arkansas, to the northeast, Monroe, Louisiana, to the southwest, and Jackson, Mississippi, to the southeast.[1] WGVM is a Class D "AM daytimer", restricted to broadcasting only during daylight hours to protect the nighttime coverage areas of more powerful regional Class B stations and other local Class D stations.[2] The station switched to sports programming when WGVM returned to the air after it was sold in 2006.[3]

WGVM was an affiliate of the Fox Sports Radio network and receives select programs from the ESPN Radio and Premiere Radio networks until July 2013.[4][5][6] In addition to sports talk programming, the station airs live sports as part of the Southern Miss Golden Eagles' baseball and football radio networks[7][8] and as part of the Ole Miss Rebels baseball and men's basketball radio networks.[9][10] The station also broadcasts coach's shows from both schools.[10][11]

History[edit]

Early days[edit]

WGVM 'Top 40' survey for April 27, 1959

The station launched in December 1948 with 1,000 watts of power on 1260 kilohertz as the second radio station licensed to serve Greenville, Mississippi.[12] The station was assigned the call sign "WGVM" by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).[13] This was Greenville's second radio station as WJPR (now WNIX, 1330 AM) signed on in 1937.[12] WGVM was founded by owner David M. Segal who also served as general manager. Other key personnel at launch included Merle Stein as station manager and Welton H. Jetton as chief engineer.[12]

1950s[edit]

By 1950, the broadcast license was transferred to a new company, the Cotton Belt Broadcasting Company, owned by Segal who was also the company's president. By 1953, the name of the company was changed to Cotton Belt Broadcasting Corporation of Mississippi to reflect the fact that WGVM was now part of the Cotton Belt Group, seven radio stations across Texas, Arkansas, Missouri, and Mississippi that were all owned or controlled by David M. Segal.[14] Just two years later, the company name was changed to Mid-America Broadcasting Company, reflecting the shift in location of the other stations in the group.[15] Segal now controlled just four stations with two in Missouri and one each in Colorado and Mississippi.[15]

People[edit]

Turnover in key positions was steady through the 1950s with Howard E. Gurney assuming the general manager role and Louis A. Kurtz as program director by 1950.[16] By 1951, David M. Segal resumed his general manager role and Wallace Hoy became WGVM's program director.[17] In late 1953, Wayne McChristian became the station's chief engineer.[18] In 1956, Joseph C. Gunter was named chief engineer for the station and Jack R. Stull took on both the general manager and commercial manager roles.[19] However, just two years later Edward M. Guss was brought in as general manager and Stull moved to the commercial manager slot full-time.[20]

Music[edit]

Little Milton performing in 2002

WGVM initially featured a variety of musical styles, including live blues music programs plus Gospel music on Sundays. Early show hosts included future blues legends Willie Love and Little Milton.[21][22] Regular Sunday performers included the Famous St. John Gospel Singers whose young guitarist, Riley King, would later find fame in Memphis as the "Blues Boy of Beale Street" and become known as B.B. King.[23]

In the late 1950s, WGVM aired a rockabilly-influenced Top 40 radio format featuring artists such as Elvis Presley, Ricky Nelson, and Frankie Avalon.[24] Along with the Top 40 songs, WGVM continued to program blocks of Gospel, blues, and rhythm and blues music (lumped together in broadcast industry publications of the day as "Negro music") with roughly 30 hours per week in 1958 but just over 22 hours per week in 1959.[20][25]

1960s[edit]

In 1961, after a decade under Wally Hoy, WGVM brought in James B. Ashley as program director and split off the news director role to David Smith.[26] James Jared Tugwell became the station's new chief engineer.[26] Also in 1961, the station was granted a construction permit by the FCC to increase its signal strength from 1,000 watts to 5,000 watts, still restricted to daylight-only operation.[26] The station began broadcasting with the stronger signal by 1963.[27] Joel Netherland was hired as program director and news director in 1966.[28] By 1968, those duties would be split again as Cal Adams became program director and Bill Brown was hired as news director.[29] Also in 1968, Robert Meador became WGVM's chief engineer.[29] Adams and Brown's tenure would prove short-lived as Art Baca became program director in 1969 with Andy Roberts taking the news director position.[30]

In the 1960s the station flipped to country music which proved a boon to the station's ratings. The format switch meant a decrease in "Negro music" programming from 24.5 hours per week in 1963 to just 16 hours per week, mostly on weekends, by 1965.[27][31] This programming would continue to disappear from WGVM with just three hours per week by 1967 and the station reporting itself as "100%" country & western in 1968.[29][32]

In December 1967, sister station WGVM-FM (100.7 FM) signed on the air as a simulcast of WGVM during daylight hours and continuing a similar country music format at night and overnight.[29] By 1970, the FM station was renamed WDMS after owner David M. Segal and derived only 25% of its programming from WGVM.[33]

Musical changes[edit]

In September 1973, program director Chuck Alan moved on to KRMD (1340 AM) in Shreveport, Louisiana, and Burt Brown moved up into the position for WGVM. Brown told Billboard that he would "soften" the top-ranked station's country format in an effort to appeal to a younger demographic.[34] In the late 1990s, the station shifted again, this time to an older-skewing classic country format.

In addition to its regular music programming, in 1999 WGVM broadcast college football games as a member of both the Delta State Statesmen and Southern Miss Golden Eagles sports radio networks.[35] Sports broadcasts continued into the early 2000s as the station broadcast University of Southern Mississippi men's basketball and football[36] plus National Football League games as a member of the Tennessee Titans, and later New Orleans Saints, radio networks.[37]

Falling silent[edit]

On May 11, 2006, WGVM ceased broadcasting temporarily while a search for a new owner for the station was conducted.[38] Station ownership told the FCC that station founder and primary owner David M. Segal was elderly and suffering "some health issues" which made it difficult to oversee station operations from his California residence. In addition, the station was having "a difficult time" retaining managers and sales people plus the money saved by taking WGVM off the air temporarily would be used to speed the process of finding a buyer for the ailing station.[38]

In July 2006, a buyer was found with John R. Salyer and Wesley K. Gerald teaming up with WGVM's then-current general manager Robert J. "Bob" Ghetti to form a new corporation, WDMS Inc.[3][39] The new company agreed to purchase both WGVM and FM sister station WDMS from Segal's Mid-America Broadcasting Company for a combined sales price of $780,000.[40] The FCC approved the transaction on September 15, 2006, and the deal was formally consummated on November 9, 2006.[40] This ended nearly six decades of continuous WGVM ownership by station founder David M. Segal.

New beginning[edit]

WGVM returned to the air in late 2006 under new ownership and with a new format: sports and sports talk as an affiliate of ESPN Radio.[3] While the primary network affiliation later switched to Fox Sports Radio, WGVM has maintained this sports radio format since the 2006 return to the air.[6]

In 2008, John Rickey Salyer, the majority owner of license-holder WDMS Inc., filed for bankruptcy protection. At the time of the filing, Salyer owned 57% of the company, Robert J. Ghetti owned 18%, and Wesley K. Gerald owned 25%.[39] Control of WGVM was involuntarily transferred from Salyer to Jeffrey A. Livingston as an interim trustee in May 2008.[41] In June 2008, Livingston reached an agreement to transfer Salyer's share of the corporation to Robert J. Ghetti as a partial resolution of Salyer's debts.[42] The voluntary transfer of control was approved by the FCC on July 22, 2008, and the deal was formally consummated on September 11, 2008.[42] Righetti now owned 75% of WDMS Inc. with Wesley K. Gerald retaining his 25% stake.[39]

WGVM and sister station WDMS were sold by WDMS Inc. to ARK-LA-MS Radio Group, LLC effective July 5, 2012 in exchange for payments and assumption of bank debt worth $734, 231.

Station alumni[edit]

Along with his work with Sonny Boy Williamson on King Biscuit Time in the late 1940s, Delta blues pianist Willie Love became the host of his own radio show on WGVM.[21] Love, after years of heavy drinking, died in August 1953 at the age of 46.[43]

Before receiving his first recording contract with Sun Records in 1953 and going on to become "one of the world’s leading performers of blues and soul music" as a singer and guitarist, "Little Milton" Campbell hosted a program on WGVM.[22][44] Little Milton would go on to be inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 1988.[22]

In November 1959, WGVM program director Wallace "Wally" Hoy was elected to the board of directors of the Disk Jockey Association.[45] The DJA was founded in Chicago in 1957.[46]

Joe Ray, then general manager of WGVM and sister station WDMS, served as president of the Mississippi Association of Broadcasters for the 1981 calendar year.[47]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Predicted daytime coverage area for WGVM 1260 AM, Greenville, MS". Radio Locator. Retrieved June 7, 2011. 
  2. ^ "AM Station Classes: Clear, Regional, and Local Channels". Federal Communications Commission, Audio Division. Retrieved June 10, 2011. 
  3. ^ a b c Ferguson, Terri (October 15, 2006). "WGVM shifts to sports network after sale". Delta Democrat Times. Retrieved June 8, 2011. 
  4. ^ "Affiliates: Mississippi". Fox Sports Radio. Retrieved June 8, 2011. 
  5. ^ "Affiliate List". ESPN Radio. Retrieved June 8, 2011. 
  6. ^ a b "Station Information Profile". Arbitron. Retrieved June 7, 2011. 
  7. ^ "Baseball Radio Affiliates". Southern Miss Athletics. Retrieved June 8, 2011. 
  8. ^ "Football Radio Affiliates". Southern Miss Athletics. Retrieved June 8, 2011. 
  9. ^ "Ole Miss Baseball Radio Network". Old Miss Sports. Retrieved June 8, 2011. 
  10. ^ a b "Ole Miss Men's Basketball Radio Network Affiliates". Old Miss Sports. Retrieved June 8, 2011. 
  11. ^ "Coach's Show Radio Affiliates". Southern Miss Athletics. Retrieved June 8, 2011. 
  12. ^ a b c "Directory of Standard Broadcasting Stations of the United States". 1949 Broadcasting Yearbook. Washington, DC: Broadcasting Publications, Inc. 1949. p. 161. 
  13. ^ "Call Sign History". FCC Media Bureau CDBS Public Access Database. Retrieved June 7, 2011. 
  14. ^ "Group Ownership". 1953 Broadcasting Yearbook. Washington, DC: Broadcasting Publications, Inc. 1953. p. 46. 
  15. ^ a b "Group Ownership of Broadcast Stations in the United States". 1955 Broadcasting Yearbook-Marketbook. Washington, DC: Broadcasting Publications, Inc. 1955. p. 57. 
  16. ^ "Directory of AM, FM, and TV Stations of the United States". 1950 Broadcasting Yearbook. Washington, DC: Broadcasting Publications, Inc. 1950. p. 186. 
  17. ^ "Directory of AM, FM, and TV Stations of the United States". 1951 Broadcasting Yearbook. Washington, DC: Broadcasting Publications, Inc. 1951. p. 181. 
  18. ^ "Directory of AM and FM Stations and Market Data for the United States". 1954 Broadcasting Yearbook-Marketbook. Washington, DC: Broadcasting Publications, Inc. 1954. p. 194. 
  19. ^ "Directory of AM and FM Stations and Market Data for the United States". 1956 Broadcasting Yearbook-Marketbook. Washington, DC: Broadcasting Publications, Inc. 1956. p. 185. 
  20. ^ a b "Directory of AM and FM Radio Stations in the U.S.". 1958 Broadcasting Yearbook. Washington, DC: Broadcasting Publications, Inc. 1958. p. A-310. 
  21. ^ a b Ryan, Marc (2004). Trumpet Records: Diamonds on Farish Street. University Press of Mississippi. pp. 28, 41. ISBN 978-1-57806-607-0. Retrieved June 7, 2011. "[...] as had Willie Love, who also hosted his own radio slot on Greenville's WGVM." 
  22. ^ a b c "Little Milton". Mississippi Blues Trail. Mississippi Blues Commission. Retrieved June 7, 2011. "By his late teens Milton had moved to Greenville, where he performed with local luminaries including Sonny Boy Williamson No. 2, Joe Willie Wilkins, and Willie Love. He also hosted a radio program there on WGVM." 
  23. ^ Danchin, Sebastian (1998). Blues Boy: the life and music of B.B. King. University Press of Mississippi. p. 10. ISBN 978-1-57806-017-7. Retrieved June 7, 2011. 
  24. ^ "Original Top Forty Survey - Week of April 27, 1959". WGVM 1260. April 27, 1959. Retrieved June 7, 2011. 
  25. ^ "Directory of AM and FM Radio Stations in the U.S.". 1959 Broadcasting Yearbook. Washington, DC: Broadcasting Publications, Inc. 1959. p. B-178. 
  26. ^ a b c "Directory of AM and FM Radio Stations in the U.S.". 1961-1962 Broadcasting Yearbook. Washington, DC: Broadcasting Publications, Inc. 1961. p. B-93. 
  27. ^ a b "Directory of AM and FM Radio Stations in the U.S.". 1963 Broadcasting Yearbook. Washington, DC: Broadcasting Publications, Inc. 1963. p. B-101. 
  28. ^ "Directory of AM and FM Radio Stations in the U.S.". 1966 Broadcasting Yearbook. Washington, DC: Broadcasting Publications, Inc. 1966. p. B-82. 
  29. ^ a b c d "Directory of AM and FM Radio Stations in the U.S.". 1968 Broadcasting Yearbook. Washington, DC: Broadcasting Publications, Inc. 1968. p. B-91. 
  30. ^ "The Facilities of AM-FM Radio". 1969 Broadcasting Yearbook. Washington, DC: Broadcasting Publications, Inc. 1969. p. B-94. 
  31. ^ "Directory of AM and FM Radio Stations in the U.S.". 1965 Broadcasting Yearbook. Washington, DC: Broadcasting Publications, Inc. 1965. p. B-85. 
  32. ^ "Directory of AM and FM Radio Stations in the U.S.". 1967 Broadcasting Yearbook. Washington, DC: Broadcasting Publications, Inc. 1967. p. B-90. 
  33. ^ "Directory of AM and FM Radio Stations in the U.S.". 1970 Broadcasting Yearbook. Washington, DC: Broadcasting Publications, Inc. 1970. p. B-113. 
  34. ^ Hall, Claude (September 23, 1973). "Vox Jox". Billboard. p. 36. Retrieved June 7, 2011. 
  35. ^ "Football '99: College Football Radio Networks". Clarion-Ledger. 1999. Retrieved June 7, 2011. 
  36. ^ "This Week On the Southern Miss ISP Sports Network". University of Southern Mississippi. November 27, 2001. Retrieved June 8, 2011. 
  37. ^ "Tennessee Titans Radio Partners". Hard Core DX. Retrieved June 8, 2011. 
  38. ^ a b "Application Search Details (BLSTA-20060511AAC)". FCC Media Bureau. May 16, 2006. Retrieved June 8, 2011. 
  39. ^ a b c "Transactions: 7-25-08". Radio Business Report. July 24, 2008. Retrieved June 8, 2011. 
  40. ^ a b "Application Search Details (BAL-20060728AAB)". FCC Media Bureau. November 9, 2006. Retrieved June 8, 2011. 
  41. ^ "Application Search Details (BTCH-20080508ABW)". FCC Media Bureau. May 19, 2008. Retrieved June 8, 2011. 
  42. ^ a b "Application Search Details (BTCH-20080609AAW)". FCC Media Bureau. September 11, 2008. Retrieved June 8, 2011. 
  43. ^ Dahl, Bill. "Willie Love". Allmusic. Retrieved June 7, 2011. 
  44. ^ Huey, Steve. "Biography: Little Milton". Allmusic.com. Retrieved June 8, 2011. 
  45. ^ "DJA in Chi Meet Adds 26 to Board". Billboard. November 16, 1959. pp. 4, 48. Retrieved June 8, 2011. 
  46. ^ Schickel, Steve (May 25, 1957). "The Disk Derby". Chicago Daily Tribune. p. 16. Retrieved June 8, 2011. 
  47. ^ "Past Presidents". Mississippi Association of Broadcasters. Retrieved June 7, 2011. 

External links[edit]