|City||Virginia Beach, Virginia|
|Broadcast area||Southside of Hampton Roads|
|First air date||1954|
|Last air date||September 7, 2018|
(date of license surrender)
|Power||5,000 watts daytime|
9 watts nighttime
|Callsign meaning||VirginiA Beach|
|Former callsigns||WBPA (1954)|
|Former frequencies||1600 kHz (1954–1960)|
|Owner||Birach Broadcasting Corporation|
WVAB was a broadcast radio station licensed to Virginia Beach, Virginia. When broadcasting, WVAB serveed the Southside of Hampton Roads. WVAB was owned and operated by Birach Broadcasting Corporation.
WVAB had a long history in Virginia Beach, moving from a popular music station to strictly news and finally gospel programming. The late Sidney Kellam, a scion of political and economic power in Princess Anne County and Virginia Beach during mid-20th century, and members of the Kellam family, were the original owner and founders of WVAB. The studio or offices were long-located over the Jewish Mother Restaurant on Pacific Avenue, its headquarters for the first 34 years of its existence. WVAB had been a pop and rock music station, relying on a series of itinerant disc jockeys to purvey their various musical tastes to a limited local audience. Don Beckstrom was a constant figure on WVAB both on the air and as Program Director during this period.
Since March 19, 2008, the station has been off the air, following financial problems and an apparent vandalism incident of March 16. The Norfolk Virginian-Pilot newspaper reported that the stations, WVAB (1550), which had carried local gospel programming, and WBVA (1450), both were off the air and there was no word on when or if they will return.
According to Virginia Beach police, on March 16, 2008, someone felled the stations' 200-foot tower. Margie Long with the Virginia Beach Police Department was quoted in local media as saying "The tower, approximately 200 ft. of it, collapsed to the ground. It appears there were numerous lines, support lines that were cut. We are investigating this as a destruction of property. There are no suspects, he said, but the investigation is ongoing." The tower stood in the 500 block of de Laura Lane, just off North Witchduck Road and north of Virginia Beach Boulevard.
On January 22, 2018, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) designated WVAB and WBVA's license renewals for a hearing. According to the FCC's records, WVAB operated for a total of 357 days in the two license terms between April 1, 2008 and November 30, 2017, and was silent for the remaining period of nearly nine years. When it did operate, in order to avoid automatic deletion of its license after one continuous year of silence, it was at 6 watts from a temporary transmitter site at the western edge of Virginia Beach, Virginia; the FCC estimated that WVAB covered two percent of its licensed service area from that site. Birach has claimed since acquiring the stations that it has been unable to get zoning approval for a new tower. The full board of five commissioners will determine whether renewing WVAB and WBVA's licenses will serve the public interest.
Before the FCC came to a decision, Birach attempted to donate WVAB's license and audio equipment – but not any transmission equipment or facilities – to two different nonprofits. When both donations fell through, Birach surrendered the WVAB license on September 7, 2018. The FCC cancelled the station's license on September 10, 2018.
- Trent, John C. "Re: Surrender of Radio Station License WVAB (AM) Virginia Beach, VA (Fac Id. 57611)". CDBS Public Access. Federal Communications Commission. Retrieved September 10, 2018.
- FCC History Cards for WVAB
- "WVAB Facility Record". Federal Communications Commission, audio division.
- WTKR NewsChannel 3: News, Weather and Traffic in Hampton Roads and North Carolina | Two AM Radio Stations Now Silent In Virginia Beach[permanent dead link]
- WVAB-AM and sister Beach station off air after tower felled
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-06-08. Retrieved 2008-03-19.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- WVAB-AM and sister Beach station off air after tower felled | HamptonRoads.com | PilotOnline.com
- WAVY TV 10 : Virginia and North Carolina News -Vandals may have targeted radio tower in Va. Beach[permanent dead link]
- "FCC's Silent Station Crackdown Targets Virginia AMs". Insideradio.com.
- "Hearing Designation Order" (PDF). Federal Communications Commission.
- "WVAB Facility Data". FCCData.
- "[Re: Donation of Radio Stations]". FCC CDBS.
- Query the FCC's AM station database for WVAB
- Radio-Locator Information on WVAB
- Query Nielsen Audio's AM station database for WVAB