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CityHarrisonburg, Virginia
Broadcast areaCentral Shenandoah Valley
Frequency90.7 MHz
SloganMore News, Less Noise
FormatPublic Radio
AffiliationsAmerican Public Media
BBC World Service
National Public Radio
Public Radio International
OwnerJames Madison University
(James Madison University Board of Visitors)
First air date
Former frequencies
91.1 MHz (1969–1975)[1]
Call sign meaning
W (James) Madison Radio Associates
Technical information
Facility ID65447
Power10,500 Watts
HAAT318 meters (1,043 ft)
Transmitter coordinates
38°33′50.0″N 78°57′0.0″W / 38.563889°N 78.950000°W / 38.563889; -78.950000
WebcastWMRA Webstream
WebsiteWMRA Online

WMRA is a Public Radio formatted broadcast radio station licensed to Harrisonburg, Virginia. It is the NPR member station for the central Shenandoah Valley. Combined with its full-power repeaters and low-power translators, it serves much of west-central Virginia from Winchester to Lexington as well as the Charlottesville area.[2] WMRA is owned and operated by James Madison University.[3]


WMRA signed on in the summer of 1969, broadcasting on 91.1 MHz with 10 watts. The transmitter was at 851 South Main Street in Harrisonburg and the studios were at Alumni Hall on the campus of what was then Madison College. WMRA's signal was sufficient to cover the city of Harrisonburg proper. The station aired from 4 p.m. to midnight daily, and was a typical college radio station, with all programming produced by students.[4][5]

WMRA moved to 90.7 MHz and upgraded power to 19.5 kW on November 12, 1975, at which time the station also applied for funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and joined NPR. As a condition of CPB funding, the station hired professional staff. While students continued to handle many on-air operations, the station adopted a typical public radio format of NPR news, talk, and classical music, with specialty programs of folk and jazz. Unusually for a public radio station, a student-programmed progressive rock show took the late-night timeslot.[6][7] All rock music was dropped in 1980 owing to low listenership, to "no great student response", according to general manager Don Lanham.[8] Student programming moved to WXJM (88.7 FM) when that station signed on in 1990.

On January 14, 2008, WMRA took over the operation of Eastern Mennonite University's WEMC (91.7 FM), which faced declining ratings and little student interest. WMRA moved its daytime classical programming there in exchange for extra NPR programs that WEMC had previously aired because WMRA could not fit them into its schedule. Both stations kept their evening schedules intact; WMRA was hesitant to move its evening music programs due to WEMC's inferior signal.[9][10][11] WEMC went all-classical on August 11, 2014, while WMRA picked up WEMC's remaining information programming and dropped its weekday music programming. WMRA has since started airing several weekend music programs and occasional weeknight music programming.[12]


WMRA programming is heard on network of three full-powered repeaters. WMLU is owned by Longwood University, which reserves evening and late-night timeslots for its own music and student programming.

Call sign Frequency
City of license ERP
Class FCC Broadcast times
WMLU 91.3 Farmville, Virginia 440 A FCC 2 a.m. to 7 p.m.[13][14]
WMRL 89.9 Lexington, Virginia 100 A FCC 24 hours
WMRY 103.5 Crozet, Virginia 280 A FCC 24 hours

WMRA also operates one fill-in translator in Winchester, Virginia due to interference from Washington's WETA on 90.9.[15]

Call sign Frequency
City of license ERP
Class FCC info
W233AA 94.5 Winchester, Virginia 45 D FCC


  1. ^ FCC History Cards for WMRA
  2. ^ "Arbitron Station Information Profiles". Nielsen Audio/Nielsen Holdings. Retrieved December 13, 2014.
  3. ^ "WMRA Facility Record". Federal Communications Commission, audio division. Retrieved December 13, 2014.
  4. ^ Staff (November 19, 1969). "Radio Station Seeks Assistance In Setting Up Special Program". The Breeze. Madison College. p. 1.
  5. ^ "Radio at Madison". The Breeze. Madison College. November 6, 1969. p. 4.
  6. ^ "First Power WMRA Broadcast Due". The Breeze. Madison College. July 11, 1975. p. 1.
  7. ^ "WMRA To Expand Range Nov. 12". The Breeze. Madison College. October 28, 1975. p. 1.
  8. ^ "WMRA terminates rock programming". The Breeze. James Madison University. September 30, 1980. p. 10.
  9. ^ "New Programming". WMRA. Archived from the original on January 13, 2008.
  10. ^ "WMRA & WEMC programming changes". hburgnews.com. January 8, 2008.
  11. ^ "New Programming". WMRA. Archived from the original on 2008-02-13.
  12. ^ "WEMC unveils new programming, rebrands as region's home for classical music". emu.edu. August 8, 2014.
  13. ^ "WMLU Student Shows".
  14. ^ "WMLU Issues and Programs List - 2018 Q1" (PDF). FCC Public Inspection File.
  15. ^ "WMRA Engineering Resources".

External links[edit]