|Broadcast area||Richmond/Petersburg/Central Virginia|
|Frequency||103.7 MHz (HD Radio)|
|Branding||103.7 Your Variety|
|Format||Hot adult contemporary|
|Subchannels||HD2: ESPN 106.1 (Sports)|
HD3: RadioIQ (NPR, BBC)
(HD3 and W223AZ leased to Virginia Tech)
|W291CL, WKHK, WKLR, WJSR, W282CA|
First air date
|December 23, 1961 (as WFMV)|
Former call signs
Call sign meaning
|W U RiVer|
|HAAT||256 meters (840 ft)|
|Translator(s)||HD2: 106.1 W291CL (Richmond)|
HD3: 92.5 W223AZ (Richmond)
WURV (103.7 MHz "103.7 Your Variety") is a commercial FM radio station licensed to Richmond, Virginia. The station is owned by SummitMedia, 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.
On December 23, 1961, the station first signed on the air as WFMV. It was owned by Professional Broadcasting, Inc. and aired a classical music format, operating as the first stereo radio station in Richmond.
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). Before current class power limits were drafted in 1964, however,, WFMV was permitted to operate at 73,800 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.
In 1964, WFMV was sold to the Fidelity Bankers Life Insurance Company. Fidelity moved WFMV's studios to its suburban headquarters at Willow Lawn in Henrico County. For a time, it was co-managed with WGOE, a 1,000-watt AM daytime station owned by brothers Major and J. Sargeant Reynolds.
Benjamin F. Thomas acquired WFMV in 1967 for $60,000; Thomas owned part of WKSL, an FM station in Greencastle, Pennsylvania. Thomas relocated the WFMV studios into two used office trailers at the rural transmitter site. The remote location was on a dirt road through the woods; during rain and snow, it was often accessible only by foot.
Thomas had financial problems, and employees, mostly college students, were bolstered by loyal listeners and continued to man the station even when payrolls were late and inclement weather blocked access to the site. Engineering staff from nearby stations, notably the well-funded WRVA ("The 50,000 watt Voice of Virginia"), loaned parts and repair talent to help maintain the aging transmitting equipment. Although privately owned, WFMV had become something of a community effort.
Beautiful music WEZS
While WFMV had a loyal following as a classical music outlet, it was not a high-profit venture. 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's sale was approved and the station became beautiful music as 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 playlist. Around 1983, the station made the complete transition to soft adult contemporary music, eliminating nearly all instrumental titles, and rebranded as "EZ104".
Adult Contemporary WMXB
In an effort to shake its "easy" image, in July 1988, the station switched its call sign and branding to WMXB, "B-103". In August 1989, EZ sold the station to Ragan Henry Broadcasting of Philadelphia. In February 1990, the station was sold to Radio Ventures which moved WMXB into a more up-tempo mainstream adult contemporary format, dropping softer acts like The Carpenters and Barry Manilow for more up-tempo artists like Gloria Estefan, Ace of Base, and Bruce Springsteen. Liberty Broadcasting (in which entertainer Merv Griffin was an investor) took over the station in 1993, and the format became "Hot Adult Contemporary" under veteran programmer Steve Davis, adding more contemporary titles as well as vintage Top 40 hits from the 1980s.
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 1996, the station was sold to SFX Broadcasting, and the station shifted to a more Modern AC format that included such artists as No Doubt, Collective Soul and Alanis Morissette, which was starting to take off in popularity around that time. The station ownership went thru several corporate mergers, from SFX, to Capstar, and finally AMFM. When AMFM merged with Clear Channel in 2000, WMXB, along with several other stations owned by both AMFM and Clear Channel, was spun off to Cox Radio, who adjusted the station back to a mainstream Hot AC format.
On March 22, 2004, the station dumped the Hot AC format and "B-103" moniker for a soft AC format that leaned toward 1980s, 1990s, and current titles, and rebranded as "Mix 103.7".
On April 22, 2010, at 3 p.m., WMXB flipped to adult album alternative, branded as "103.7 The River." Along with the flip, the station adopted the new call sign WURV, with "RV" standing for "River", an allusion to the James River that flows through Richmond. The first song on "The River" was "Learn to Fly" by the Foo Fighters. At the same time, sister station WDYL (now WJSR) began redirecting listeners to WURV in preparation of a format flip to Rhythmic Top 40 a week after WURV's debut.
Play and Your Variety
- "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
- "Stereophonic Broadcasting To Begin Here Tomorrow". Richmond Times-Dispatch. November 22, 1961. p. 37. Retrieved January 19, 2020.
- Broadcasting Yearbook 1970 page B-213
- "Richmond Radio Station Is Sold". Progress-Index. April 30, 1964. p. 24. Retrieved January 18, 2020.
- "For the Record" (PDF). Broadcasting. November 6, 1967. p. 92. Retrieved January 19, 2020.
- [http://www.americanradiohistory.com/Archive-BC-YB/1972/B-2%20YB%201972%20All-12.pdf Broadcasting Yearbook 1972 page B-221
- "WEZS now WMXB, but music stays mostly the same", The Richmond Times-Dispatch, July 26, 1988.
- "Ranking cited in $23 million sale of WMXB-FM", The Richmond Times-Dispatch, August 16, 1989.
- http://www.americanradiohistory.com/Archive-BC-YB/1992/Radio-NE-Ter-BC-YB-1992-B&W.pdf[dead link]
- http://www.americanradiohistory.com/Archive-BC-YB/1994/B-Radio-NE-Ter-BC-YB-1994-B&W.pdf[dead link]
- http://www.americanradiohistory.com/Archive-BC-YB/1997/B-Radio-NE-Ter-BC-YB-1997.pdf[dead link]
- "Brown sells radio group stake; $37.5 million deal lets him continue overseeing ABS", The Richmond Times-Dispatch, August 22, 1996.
- "Radio group selling rest of interest in 4 stations", The Richmond Times-Dispatch, June 28, 1997.
- "Area radio stations to be sold in deal", The Richmond Times-Dispatch, August 26, 1997.
- "10 local stations could have same owner", The Richmond Times-Dispatch, October 5, 1999.
- "Sale of 4 stations here proposed; radio giant's plan part of merger", The Richmond Times-Dispatch, March 7, 2000.
- http://www.americanradiohistory.com/Archive-BC-YB/2001/D-Radio-NE-TER-BC-YB-2001.pdf[bare URL PDF]
- "B103 shifts format a little", The Richmond Times-Dispatch, March 23, 2004.
- "WMXB debuts new format today | Entertainment | richmond.com".
- "River Runs Through Richmond, Will It Get Hot? – RadioInsight".
- "WMXB Loses The Mix For Alternative Hot AC | AllAccess.com".
- "More Changes In Richmond? | AllAccess.com".
- "Cox Puts Clusters Up For Sale – RadioInsight".
- "Cox Sells Stations In Six Markets To Two Groups – RadioInsight".
- "WURV Richmond Presses Play". RadioInsight. Retrieved 2021-03-05.
- "WURV Stops The River, Starts To '103.7 Play'". All Access. Retrieved 2021-03-05.
- "SummitMedia Makes Double Flip In Richmond". RadioInsight. Retrieved 2021-03-05.
- 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".