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City Schenectady, New York
Broadcast area Primary: Capital District, Upper Hudson Valley, Lower Adirondack Region
Secondary: The Berkshires, Eastern Mohawk Valley, Mid-Hudson Valley
Branding 99.5 The River
Slogan The 90s To Now
Frequency 99.5 MHz (also on HD Radio)
99.5-2 MHz Country "Wild Country 99.9" (HD Radio)
Translator(s) 99.9 W260CH (Albany, relays HD2)
First air date February 1, 1939 (as W2XOY)
Format Hot Adult Contemporary
ERP 14,500 watts
HAAT 282 meters (925 ft)
Class B
Facility ID 15330
Callsign meaning W (Hudson) RiVEr
Former callsigns W2XOY (1939-1941)
W57A (1941-1943)
WGFM (1943-1988)
WGY-FM (1988-1994)
Owner iHeartMedia, Inc.
(CC Licenses, LLC)
Sister stations WGY, WGY-FM, WPYX, WTRY-FM, WKKF, WOFX
Webcast Listen Live
Listen Live (HD2)
Website 995theriver.com
wildcountry999.com (HD2)

WRVE (99.5 The River) is a hot adult contemporary radio station licensed to Schenectady, New York and serving the Capital District and Upper Hudson Valley of New York. It broadcasts at 99.5 FM at 14.5 kilowatts ERP from a transmitter in Guilderland, New York. The station is owned by iHeartMedia, Inc. and is one of seven radio stations currently owned by the company in the Albany market.

Though billed (and classified by Arbitron and Mediabase) as a hot AC station, the station has a slight lean towards adult contemporary music. Its main competitors include WYJB (B95.5) and WJKE (101.3 The Jockey, a station serving the Saratoga/Glens Falls area).


While known as WRVE since March 1994, the station has a much longer history as one of the nation's pioneering FM radio stations. A byproduct of the station being owned by General Electric with similarly pioneering sisters WGY (AM) and WRGB (TV), WRVE traces its history to W2XDA in Schenectady and W2XOY in New Scotland - two experimental frequency modulation transmitters on 48.5 MHz, which signed on in 1939. The two were merged into one station with the W2XOY call-letters on November 20, 1940. The station then adopted the W57A designation, and finally the long-running WGFM call-letters in the mid-1940s. The station eventually settled on 99.5 MHz when the FM band was relocated to the 88-108 MHz portion of the radio spectrum.

On June 1, 1961, at 12:01 AM (EDT), WGFM became the first FM station in the United States to broadcast in stereo.[1] During this time, the station began a departure from simulcasting sister station WGY (AM), migrating to a classical music format and later evolving into easy listening/beautiful music.

As FM radio listening grew during the 1970s, the 99.5 frequency played host to formats including TM's syndicated/automated Top-40 "Stereo Rock" format, starting in 1973, as "Rock 99." The same TM format and announcer was used at other stations in Upstate New York during this period, including WYUT (now WXUR) in Herkimer (Utica-Rome), WKFM (now WBBS) in Fulton/Syracuse, WNOZ (now WIII) in Cortland/Ithaca, WPXY (FM) in Rochester and WBEN-FM (now WTSS) in Buffalo. WGFM later switched to a live Adult Contemporary format in 1981, known as "99 - The Light".

In 1983, the station reverted to Top 40 (this time with live personalities) as "99 GFM" and spent much of the 1980s in pursuit of competitor, WFLY. By 1985, "99-GFM" had become the dominant Top 40 station in the Albany market. Within the next two years, ratings began to erode. It was during this period that General Electric sold WGFM and WGY (the stations subsequently changed owners several times during the following decade).

By 1988, declining ratings led the station to re-image and, in turn, drop the longtime WGFM call-letters in favor of WGY-FM. After nearly two years as a younger-leaning Top 40 station known as Electric 99 (consulted by Mike Joseph as an updated version of his Hot Hits format), WGY-FM changed its format to Oldies in October 1990. This occurred during a period when two other stations in the market were already airing the Oldies format.

In late 1993, Dame Media purchased WGY and WGY-FM. Dame took control in March 1994, and immediately changed 99.5's format from Oldies to the current "River" format - and the call letters were changed to the current WRVE. At the outset, the station was branded as "Rock without the hard edge" and was musically programmed as an Adult Album Alternative station, though the station's music evolved to become more mainstream (becoming more so after Clear Channel purchased Dame in 1998). In the middle of 2012, the station started adding in more current Top-40 music that is normally heard on its sister station WKKF, and changed their slogan to "The 80's to Now, and Everything In-Between". Months later, at the beginning of May 2013, they kept some current music in, but removed some and began playing more music from the mid 1990s and early 2000s. In order to keep diversity between sister stations WPYX (which plays mostly classic and Album Rock) and WKKF, WRVE re-branded itself again as "The 90's to Now".

former logo

HD radio operations[edit]

In 2005, WRVE added IBOC digital radio (as did Clear Channel's other Albany stations). On August 17, 2006, WRVE began airing an HD2 channel with an Adult Album Alternative similar to, but more varied than, the original "River" format. This HD2 channel was later replaced with a jazz channel which was formerly located on WTRY-FM. On January 14, 2015, WRVE-HD2 changed their format to country, branded as "Wild Country 99.9" (also broadcast on FM translator W260CH 99.9 FM Albany).[2][3]


  1. ^ Fitch, Charles S., "How FM Stereo Came to Life", Radio World (January 20, 2016), Vol. 40 No. 2, p. 15.
  2. ^ iHeart Goes Wild with Country in Albany
  3. ^ http://hdradio.com/stations

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 42°38′13″N 73°59′42″W / 42.637°N 73.995°W / 42.637; -73.995