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CityCharlottesville, Virginia
Broadcast areaCentral Virginia
Branding"91-9 WNRN"
Slogan"Listener-Supported Independent Music Radio"
Frequency91.9 MHz
First air dateSeptember 1996[1]
FormatAdult Album Alternative (AAA)
Power320 Watts
HAAT325 Meters
Facility ID8710
Transmitter coordinates37°58′55.0″N 78°29′3.0″W / 37.981944°N 78.484167°W / 37.981944; -78.484167
Callsign meaningW New Rock Now
Former callsignsWANJ (1995-1996)[2]
OwnerStu-Comm, Inc.
Sister stationsWFTH, WNRS-FM
WebcastWNRN Webstream
WebsiteWNRN Online

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.[3]


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.”[4] WNRN signed on August 29, 1996, after taking the callsign WANJ during the construction process.[5]

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.[6] WNRN was originally registered as an "educational nonprofit".[4]

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.[7]


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.[8] 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.[9]

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 "AM revitalization" program.[10] 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.[11][12][13]

In May 2018, Stu-Comm received permission from the FCC to boost the WNRN signal from Carter Mountain to 560 watts.[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.[4] Friend left WNRN altogether in 2013 and founded Blue Ridge Free Media, the licensee of WXRK-LP (92.3 FM).[15] The station’s assistant general manager, Anne Williams, became acting general manager.[4] Mark Keefe replaced Dave Benson as general manager and program director May 31, 2014.[16]

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.[17]


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 two additional full-powered stations:

Call sign Frequency City of license Power
Class FCC
WNRS-FM 89.9 FM Sweet Briar, Virginia 1,100 A FCC
WFTH 1590 AM Richmond, Virginia 5,000 day
19 night

There are also five low-powered translators. Through a partnership with the Virginia Tech Foundation, two are fed by HD subchannels of Radio IQ stations.

Call sign Frequency
City of license ERP
Class FCC info Notes
W266BQ 101.1 Crozet 195 D FCC Repeats WVTU-HD3
W234BA 94.7 Lovingston 10 D FCC
W236BG 95.1 Harrisonburg 25 D FCC
W237DF 95.3 Lexington 10 D FCC Repeats WIQR-HD3
W203CB 88.5 Richmond 170 D FCC

See also[edit]


  1. ^ http://www.americanradiohistory.com/Archive-BC-YB/2010/D4-2010-BC-YB-7.pdf
  2. ^ http://licensing.fcc.gov/cgi-bin/ws.exe/prod/cdbs/pubacc/prod/call_hist.pl?Facility_id=8710&Callsign=WNRN
  3. ^ "WNRN Facility Record". Federal Communications Commission, audio division.
  4. ^ a b c d Cedermark, Andrew (13 July 2011). "Defriended: Is station founder Mike Friend out at WNRN? - C-VILLE Weekly". C-VILLE Weekly.
  5. ^ Provence, Lisa (September 26, 2002). "Friend or foe: Mike's still a radio wonder". The Hook.
  6. ^ "Ownership Report". RECnet.
  7. ^ Barnes, Lindsay (August 23, 2007). "Savage's beast: How 'The Corner' took a bite of local radio". The Hook (634).
  8. ^ "WNRS-FM Facility Data". FCCData.
  9. ^ Curran, Colleen (February 27, 2018). "WNRN can now be heard on 88.5 FM in Richmond". The Daily Progress.
  10. ^ Venta, Lance. "Station Sales Week Of 6/3: Multicultural Swaps Trust Assets In Los Angeles". RadioInsight. Retrieved 30 June 2016.
  11. ^ "Boosting Our Richmond Signal!". WNRN.
  12. ^ "W203CB Facility Data". FCCData.
  13. ^ "W276BZ Facility Data". FCCData.
  14. ^ "Application for Construction Permit for Non-Commercial Broadcast Station". FCC CDBS.
  15. ^ "New Alt/Active Rock Station Debuts In Charlottesville, VA". All Access.
  16. ^ "Mark Keefe Named New GM/PD at WNRN". All Access. Retrieved 2019-11-05.
  17. ^ "On down the road: WNRN's longtime morning show host Anne Williams departs". C-VILLE Weekly. 13 February 2019.

External links[edit]