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WLAV-FM logo.png
City Grand Rapids, Michigan
Broadcast area Grand Rapids, Michigan
Branding 97 LAV-FM
Slogan Classic Rock 97 LAV-FM
Frequency 96.9 MHz
Format Classic rock
ERP 50,000 watts
HAAT 149 meters
Class B
Facility ID 41680
Callsign meaning Leonard Adrian Versluis (original owner)
Owner Cumulus Media
(Radio License Holding CBC, LLC)
Sister stations WBBL-FM, WHTS, WJRW, WTNR
Webcast Listen Live
Website wlav.com

WLAV-FM (96.9 FM) is a radio station broadcasting a classic rock music format in Grand Rapids, Michigan. It is the dominant classic rock-formatted radio station in the market and is generally a top ten performer in the Grand Rapids ratings. WLAV (AM) went on the air in 1940. In 1949, WLAV-TV 7 signed on, later becoming WOOD-TV 8.

WLAV-FM began broadcasting by 1948. The station was a simulcast of WLAV 1340 in its early days, but began to break the simulcast in the early 1970s to first utilize the syndicated "Love" format with the likes of Brother John and then went live to play AOR music at night. Also for a time in the early 1970s WLAV-FM played oldies under the tag line "Grand Rapids' Goldmine." In 1974, it became western Michigan's first full-time AOR station and was an instant success.[citation needed]

The success lasted for a while, but in the mid-1980s, WLAV began to fall apart.[citation needed] The station was sued for the death of two people and the injury of two people at its popular raft race event. To make matters worse, many of WLAV's top D.J.s began to leave. Morning host Laurie DeYoung left for Baltimore, because she thought it was time to move on.[citation needed] Tony Gates also left, in 1984, after he ran into some trouble.[clarification needed] In 1986 popular morning personality Kevin Matthews left to work in St. Louis.

By the early 1990s, WLAV-FM had begun to tank in the ratings, thanks to increased competition from nascent album rocker WKLQ and classic rocker WJFM. In the spring 1991 Arbitron report, WLAV, which had been a top five station just a year before and had been the #1 station 12+ as recently as fall 1987, fell completely out of the top ten stations 12+, its role as Grand Rapids' top album-rocker having been usurped by WKLQ. On Memorial Day, 1991, the station changed to a modern rock-based format, since it felt that modern rock was the direction that progressive rock was heading in. However, there was a considerable backlash and numerous complaints were received to the radio station because they eradicated a heritage format. By the fall of 1992, WLAV switched back to a more classic rock-driven format and continued refining the format during the 1990s, to success in the ratings. Grand Rapids did get a modern rock station a few years later when WGRD-FM tweaked its format from Top 40 to modern rock.

Citadel Broadcasting acquired the station from Bloomington Broadcasting (doing business as Michigan Media) in 2000. Citadel merged with Cumulus Media on September 16, 2011.[1]


  1. ^ "Cumulus now owns Citadel Broadcasting". Atlanta Business Journal. September 16, 2011. Retrieved September 16, 2011. 

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Coordinates: 43°02′02″N 85°31′16″W / 43.034°N 85.521°W / 43.034; -85.521