|Broadcast area||Charlottesville, Virginia
Albemarle County, Virginia
|Branding||C-Ville Country 92.7|
|First air date||June 22, 1979|
|Former callsigns||WUVA (1979-2017)|
|Owner||Saga Communications of Charlottesville|
WCVL-FM (92.7 FM) is a classic country formatted broadcast radio station licensed to Charlottesville, Virginia, serving Charlottesville and Albemarle County, Virginia. The station is owned by Saga Communications of Charlottesville.
WCVL-FM was first licensed as an FM station, with the call letters WUVA, in 1979. However, the station evolved from an AM carrier current station, located at the University of Virginia, which had been in operation for over 30 years.
WUVA (carrier current)
WUVA originated in the fall of 1947 as the University of Virginia's student-run carrier current station, transmitting at 640 kHz on the AM band. Carrier current stations use very low powered transmitters with restricted coverage and, according to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations, are permitted to operate without needing a radio license. During this time WUVA's signal could only be received on the main university campus and immediately adjoining neighborhoods. Although the station did not qualify for official FCC issued call letters, it identified itself as "WUVA".
Initially WUVA adopted a schedule of pop standards, news, and discussion. The station began playing newly popular rock and roll music in 1954. WUVA was run as a commercial operation that sold advertising, and it bolstered its coverage by gaining a cable FM slot on Charlottesville's cable TV system in the 1970s. An additional source of revenue came from renting out the student announcers as party DJs.
As the station became popular through the 1960s, management decided to abandon the antiquated network of carrier-current transmitters and pursue a full-market signal. In 1966, WINA received permission to move from 1400 to 1070 AM. WUVA was one of three competitors for the vacated 1400 AM allocation, but lost out when WELK (now WKAV) was the first to secure a transmitter site that satisfied regulators.
A few years later a channel on the FM band, 92.7, was assigned to Charlottesville. WUVA again filed an application and this time prevailed in the competitive hearings. WUVA was now officially assigned as the new station's call letters, and operations began on June 22, 1979, continuing the music programming (by then album-oriented rock) and news coverage. No longer needed, the original carrier current signal was shut down.
WUVA was run as a self-sufficient commercial station, with no legal association with the University of Virginia, and thus did not receive any student-activity funding. (The University of Virginia directly owns WTJU (91.1 FM) and WXTJ-LP (100.1 FM), which are run as traditional non-commercial college radio stations.) An independent non-profit corporation, WUVA, Inc., was created to hold the FM station's license, and later to manage WUVA's digital operations. The corporation board consists of eleven directors, six of which are University of Virginia alumnae and five of which are current students. WUVA served as a training ground for media studies program students with an interest in commercial radio management or journalism. A student newsdesk evolved into the full-fledged online news operation WUVA News in 2011.
In the unusual position of being under public ownership but still running as a commercial operation, WUVA switched from rock to top-40 to adult contemporary in an attempt to improve ratings. In 1996, the station settled on a locally-originated urban contemporary format under the slogan "92.7 Kiss FM". In the face of still-inadequate revenue, local programming was ended on September 17, 2015, and was replaced by syndicated classic country from Nash Icon. This change came as a competitor, WVAI-LP, was preparing to sign on in the same week; station management indicated they were aware of its launch, which made the decision to flip "easier".
On January 17, 2017, WUVA, Inc. announced the sale of its FM license to Saga Communications of Charlottesville (owners of WWWV, WQMZ, WINA, WCNR, and WVAX), in order to provide long-term funding for the digital operations of WUVA News; the price for the transaction was $1.65 million. WUVA, Inc retained the right to use the "WUVA" trademark, and continued as a digital news organization.
Saga took immediate control of the station under a time-brokerage agreement. On March 1, 2017 it rebranded WUVA as "C-Ville Country 92.7", keeping the 1990s-based country format, but leaving Nash Icon in favor of returning to local programming.
On the day that Saga took legal ownership, April 18, 2017, the station's call letters were changed to WCVL-FM.
- Broadcasting Yearbook, 2010 edition, page D-561.
- "WCVL-FM Facility Record". Federal Communications Commission, audio division.
- Marks, Richard; Draves, Rich. "A Concise History of WUVA". WUVA Media Alumni Interest Group.
- Staff (April 3, 1972). "For the Record" (PDF). Broadcasting. p. 129.
- FCC Reports, Second Series, Volume 34, April 7, 1972 to June 2, 1972. Federal Communications Commission. pp. 123–127.
- "WUVA Ownership Report". Federal Communications Commission. December 29, 2016.
- Baars, Samantha (October 1, 2015). "Switching formats: WVAI picks up where WUVA left off". C-Ville Weekly.
- "Student-Owned WUVA, Inc. Sells FM Radio License to Endow WUVANews.com Video and Print News Enterprise". C-Ville Weekly. January 17, 2017.
- Venta, Lance (January 20, 2017). "Saga Acquires University Of Virginia’s 92.7 WUVA Charlottesville". RadioInsight.
- "WUVA Facility Data". FCCData.
- Venta, Lance (March 2, 2017). "Saga Launches "92.7 C-Ville Country" Charlottesville - RadioInsight". RadioInsight.
- "Media Bureau Call Sign Actions" (PDF). Federal Communications Commission. February 3, 2017.