|Broadcast area||Richmond/Petersburg/Central Virginia|
|Slogan||90s, 2K, and Today|
|Frequency||103.7 MHz (also on HD Radio)|
|Translator(s)||106.1 W291CL (Richmond, relays HD2)
92.5 W223AZ (Richmond, relays HD3)
|First air date||December 23, 1961 (as WFMV)|
|Format||FM/HD1: Hot adult contemporary
HD2: Sports 106.1 (Sports)
HD3: RadioIQ (NPR, BBC)
|HAAT||256 meters (840 ft)|
|Callsign meaning||W U RiVer
|Former callsigns||WFMV (1961-1969)
(HD3 and W223AZ leased to Virginia Tech)
|Sister stations||W291CL, WKHK, WKLR, WJSR, W282CA|
WURV (103.7 MHz "103.7 PLAY") is a commercial FM radio station licensed to Richmond, Virginia. The station is owned by SummitMedia LLC, through licensee SM-WURV, LLC. WURV broadcasts a hot adult contemporary music format to the Richmond/Petersburg/Central Virginia radio market.
WURV's studios and offices are on Moorefield Park Drive in Richmond. The transmitter is off Old Bon Air Road, also in Richmond. WURV broadcasts in the HD Radio (hybrid) format. Its HD-2 subchannel runs an all sports format, which is simulcast on translator station 106.1 W291CL as "Sports 106.1." WURV's HD-3 subchannel simulcasts Virginia Tech's public radio station 89.1 WVTF from Roanoke, Virginia. It feeds translator station 92.5 W223AZ, which is owned by Virginia Tech.
WFMV was one of several Richmond FM stations receiving permission from the Federal Communications Commission for unusually high power. Today, Richmond is in Zone 1, limited to a maximum of 50,000 watts effective radiated power (ERP). But before these rules were strictly enforced, WFMV was permitted to operate at 74,000 watts, WRNL-FM (now WRXL) broadcast at 120,000 watts, and, to this day, 94.5 WRVQ (then WRVA-FM) is grandfathered at 200,000 watts.
Beautiful Music WEZS
While WFMV had a loyal following as a classical music outlet, it was never very profitable. In 1969, EZ Communications bought WFMV. As the name implies, the new owners specialized in FM stations airing an easy listening format. That triggered protests from listeners fearing WFMV's fine arts programming would disappear. A group was formed calling themselves "Save Fine Music," which opposed the station's sale. WFMV made arrangements with a non-commercial Richmond station, 106.5 WRFK, to take over its classical music library and expand the hours it played classical works, while 103.7 became beautiful music WEZS.
The easy format was popular through the 1970s. But by 1980, beautiful music had become less appealing to youthful and middle-aged listeners which advertisers usually seek. WEZS responded by adding more vocals to its largely instrumental play list. Around 1983, the station made the complete transition to soft adult contemporary music, eliminating nearly all instrumental titles.
Adult Contemporary WMXB
In an effort to shake its "easy" image, in 1988 the station switched its call sign to WMXB, "Mix 103.7." Over time, the tempo of the music picked up, especially after rival station 98.1 WTVR-FM made the same transition from Easy Listening to Soft AC. On April 16, 2007, WMXB relaunched as a Hot AC station with a more current and upbeat focus, while retaining the "Mix 103.7" moniker.
In the 1990s, WMXB's transmitter was relocated to a new tower, more than doubling its height above average terrain (HAAT) to 750 feet. That was coupled with a decrease in effective radiated power to 18,500 watts. Despite the lower wattage, the taller tower gave WMXB a similar coverage area. In 2000, WMXB was acquired by the Atlanta-based Cox Media Group, which owns newspapers, TV and radio stations around the U.S.
WURV The River
On April 22, 2010, at 3 p.m., WMXB flipped from its Hot AC format to adult album alternative, branded as "103.7 The River." It adopted the new call sign WURV with "RV" standing for "River." (The James River flows through Richmond.) The first song on "The River" was "Learn to Fly" by the Foo Fighters. At the same time, sister station 100.9 WDYL (now WJSR) began redirecting listeners to WURV in preparation of a format flip to Rhythmic Top 40 a week after WURV's debut.
On July 20, 2012, Cox Radio announced the sale of WURV and 22 other stations to Summit Media LLC for $66.25 million. The sale was consummated on May 3, 2013. At midnight on September 24, 2013, WURV returned to a Hot AC sound, branded as "103.7 Play." The first song on "Play" was "You Make Me Feel..." by Cobra Starship.
The station started playing all Christmas music on October 7, 2015, at 6:00 a.m., becoming one of the first stations in America to adopt the seasonal format for 2015. (98.1 WTVR-FM is usually the only major non-religious FM station in Richmond to go all-Christmas during the holidays.) But 12 hours later, WURV switched back to its regular sound, revealing that the Christmas format was a stunt.
The current morning drive time team, "103.7 Play Mornings with Melissa (Chase) & Jack (Lauterback)," have won several local and state awards, including the 2013 Best Morning Show (major market category) by the Virginia Association of Broadcasters. Melissa & Jack were voted Richmond's Best Local Radio Personalities/Team from 2012 to 2017 by the readers of Style Weekly & Richmond Magazine. The Richmond Times Dispatch readers also voted Melissa & Jack "The Best" in Richmond for 2016 & 2017.
- "Call Sign History". CDBS Public Access Database. Federal Communications Commission Media Bureau. Retrieved December 16, 2011.
- "WURV Facility Record". Federal Communications Commission, audio division.
- "Station Information Profile". Arbitron. Retrieved December 16, 2011.
- http://hdradio.com/station_guides/widget.php?id=56 HD Radio Guide for Richmond, Virginia
- Broadcasting Yearbook 1963 page B-193
- Broadcasting Yearbook 1970 page B-213
- [http://www.americanradiohistory.com/Archive-BC-YB/1972/B-2%20YB%201972%20All-12.pdf Broadcasting Yearbook 1972 page B-221
- Fisher, Mark D. (2005). "A Brief History of WFMV: Virginia's first stereophonic good music station". Richmond, VA: Richmond Radio Group.
- White, Thomas H. "Washington, D.C. AM Station History".