|Broadcast area||Central Virginia|
|Slogan||Listener-Supported Independent Music Radio|
|Format||Adult Album Alternative (AAA)|
|WFTH, WNRS-FM, WHAN|
First air date
Former call signs
Call sign meaning
|W New Rock Now|
|HAAT||325 meters (1,066 ft)|
WNRN (91.9 FM) is a Public Radio, Adult album alternative, and formatted radio station licensed to Charlottesville, Virginia, serving Central and Western Virginia. WNRN is owned and operated by Stu-Comm, Inc.
In 1993, Mike Friend, a former operations manager at WTJU (owned and operated by the University of Virginia), incorporated STU-COMM, Inc. “with the purpose of building a non-commercial FM radio station for the Charlottesville-Albemarle area.” WNRN signed on August 29, 1996, after taking the call sign WANJ during the construction process.
WNRN is a member of NPR and the Charlottesville affiliate for NPR's national triple-A show World Cafe. The station is a non-commercial operation, with a board of directors consisting of local community members and incorporated as the non-profit Stu-Comm, Inc. WNRN was originally registered as an "educational nonprofit".
In 2006 the station gained a direct commercial competitor in pop-oriented AAA station WCNR (106.1 FM), branded as "106.1 The Corner". Founder and then-general manager Mike Friend was angered enough to famously ban the word "corner" from his airwaves for a time after WCNR signed on.
In 2000, WNRN began expanding its service area outside of Charlottesville: first by renting airtime on WUDZ (now WNRS-FM), then the Sweet Briar College student radio station, followed by several purchases of translator stations in Lexington, Richmond, Harrisonburg and Lovingston in 2006 and 2007. Stu-Comm, Inc. purchased WNRS-FM outright in 2010, increasing its height and power in order to reach Lynchburg. Although the main signal from Carter Mountain nominally has good coverage in the lower elevations to the east, including Richmond, interference from co-channel WGTS in Washington, D.C. cuts down on reception in those areas.
Stu-Comm, Inc. took additional steps to improve its terrestrial signals in 2016, starting with the acquisition of WFTH (1590 AM) in Richmond, which enabled it to purchase and move in an additional FM translator under the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) "AM revitalization" program. This new translator, W203CB on 88.5 FM from Midlothian, became WNRN's primary Richmond-area signal on February 2, 2018. W203CB replaced W276BZ (103.1 FM), which prompted listener complaints as it broadcast at only 10 watts and had difficulty covering the city.
Hanover County-based WHAN (1430 AM), with a transmitter and FM translator (W275BQ, 102.9 FM) located in Ashland and covering the northern suburbs of Richmond, filed an agreement donating its license and facilities to Stu-Comm, Inc. on July 31, 2020; this gave WNRN a third and fourth signal covering the city. The action came concurrently with the FCC repeal of a longstanding rule prohibiting co-owned AM stations with substantial signal overlap from simulcasting each other. WHAN came under Stu-Comm, Inc.'s control on October 14.
The station made local headlines when Mike Friend was unexpectedly fired as manager by the board of directors in April 2011, although he was kept on as the station engineer. Friend left WNRN altogether in 2013 and founded Blue Ridge Free Media, the licensee of WXRK-LP (92.3 FM). The station's assistant general manager, Anne Williams, became acting general manager. Mark Keefe replaced Dave Benson as general manager and program director May 31, 2014.
As of June 2020, Ian Solla-Yates served as development director, Lauren Velardi as membership director, and Lindsey Goldin as music director. Desiré Moses was managing producer, host, and music writer. Bob Mosolgo was Morning Host. Longtime "Acoustic Sunrise" host Anne Williams worked her last on-air shift on February 15, 2019 after a two-decade run as a cornerstone of the station's schedule. Williams took a management position at Knoxville Americana station WDVX.
Principally, WNRN broadcasts adult album alternative (triple-A) music, with specialty shows at night and on the weekends such as Bluegrass Sunday Morning, and The Grateful Dead and Phriends. WNRN is a triple-A reporter, submitting charts to Billboard, Mediabase, and FMQB.
WNRN's programming is aired full-time on three additional full-powered stations:
|Call sign||Frequency||City of license||Facility ID||Power
|WFTH||1590 AM||Richmond, Virginia||67683||5,000 day
|WHAN||1430 AM||Ashland, Virginia||8438||1,000 day
|WNRS-FM||89.9 FM||Sweet Briar, Virginia||74157||1,100||169 m (554 ft)||A||FCC|
|City of license||Facility
|W203CB||88.5||Richmond, Virginia||54972||170||D||FCC||Relays WFTH|
|W234BA||94.7||Lovingston, Virginia||157863||10||D||FCC||Relays WNRN|
|W236BG||95.1||Harrisonburg, Virginia||141356||25||D||FCC||Relays WNRN|
|W237DF||95.3||Lexington, Virginia||147184||10||D||FCC||Relays WIQR-HD3|
|W266BQ||101.1||Crozet, Virginia||91283||195||D||FCC||Relays WVTU-HD3|
|W275BQ||102.9||Ashland, Virginia||155027||250||D||FCC||Relays WHAN|
- "WNRN Facility Record". Federal Communications Commission, audio division.
- Cedermark, Andrew (13 July 2011). "Defriended: Is station founder Mike Friend out at WNRN? - C-VILLE Weekly". C-VILLE Weekly.
- Provence, Lisa (September 26, 2002). "Friend or foe: Mike's still a radio wonder". The Hook.
- "Ownership Report". RECnet.
- Barnes, Lindsay (August 23, 2007). "Savage's beast: How 'The Corner' took a bite of local radio". The Hook (634).
- "WNRS-FM Facility Data". FCCData.
- Curran, Colleen (February 27, 2018). "WNRN can now be heard on 88.5 FM in Richmond". The Daily Progress.
- Venta, Lance. "Station Sales Week Of 6/3: Multicultural Swaps Trust Assets In Los Angeles". RadioInsight. Retrieved 30 June 2016.
- "Boosting Our Richmond Signal!". WNRN.
- "W203CB Facility Data". FCCData.
- "W276BZ Facility Data". FCCData.
- "Application for Construction Permit for Non-Commercial Broadcast Station". FCC CDBS.
- "Station Donation Agreement".
- "FCC Report & Order Eliminates Radio Duplication Rule". Radio-Online. 6 August 2020.
- "Deal Digest: EMF Buys 'Wink FM' In Suburban Washington". Insideradio.com. 15 October 2020.
- "New Alt/Active Rock Station Debuts In Charlottesville, VA". All Access.
- "Mark Keefe Named New GM/PD at WNRN". All Access. Retrieved 2019-11-05.
- Mosolgo, Bob. "Annual Reports". WNRN. Retrieved 2020-06-30.
- "A Virginia Music History Lesson With WNRN's Desiré Moses". NPR.org. Retrieved 2020-06-30.
- "On down the road: WNRN's longtime morning show host Anne Williams departs". C-VILLE Weekly. 13 February 2019.
- 91-9 WNRN Online
- WNRN in the FCC's FM station database
- WNRN on Radio-Locator
- WNRN in Nielsen Audio's FM station database
- Article: Anne Williams feature
- Article: Richmond's burning: for WNRN music
- Article: Tunes for the Road from the Washington Post
- Article: Gaining Frequency from The Daily Progress