WVRN (TV)

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WVRN
Richmond, Virginia
Channels Analog: 63 (UHF)
Affiliations silent broadcast license deleted
Owner Act III Broadcasting
Founded January 1, 1984
Last air date September 9, 1988
Call letters' meaning We're ViRgiNian
Former callsigns WTLL (1984 - 1986)
Former affiliations religious (1984 - 1985)
independent (1985 - 1988)

WVRN Channel 63 was a television station in the Richmond, Virginia television market. It was on the air from January 1, 1984 to September 8, 1988, first as a religious station, then a general entertainment independent station.

History[edit]

The Christian Broadcasting Network received a construction permit for a television station in Richmond in 1980. The station was to adopt a general entertainment format with cartoons, sitcoms and westerns, as well as religious shows, similar to its other independent stations, including flagship WYAH-TV in Hampton Roads (now WGNT). It was also to run Pat Robertson's The 700 Club three times a day.

However, CBN then donated the station to National Capital Christian Broadcasting, which launched the station on January 1, 1984 as WTLL. It aired religious programming previously shown on WRLH-TV. The format featured such Christian programming as The PTL Club, Jimmy Swaggart and many televangelists. For about 7 hours a day weekdays and Saturdays, WTLL featured a mix of classic sitcoms, westerns, and some children's programs. In the fall of 1984, a few recent cartoons were added weekdays. The station was about 60% Christian and 40% secular. On Sundays, the station only ran Christian programming.

National Capital sold WTLL to Sudbrink Broadcasting in March 1986. The station changed call letters to WVRN, and took on a full-time general entertainment format, competing directly against WRLH. However, Richmond wasn't big enough at the time to support two independent stations. As a result, both stations became increasingly unprofitable, and Sudbrink soon encountered financial problems for other reasons, filing for chapter 11 bankruptcy in late 1986. WVRN was subsequently sold to Act III Broadcasting in 1987.

In an attempt to boost WVRN's ratings, Act III offered to buy WRLH's programming, on the condition that WRLH be sold to a different owner and converted to a non-commercial operation. WRLH's owner at the time, Gillett Broadcasting, declined, but instead offered to sell WRLH outright to Act III.

Act III took over WRLH in September 1988, and merged WVRN's stronger programming onto WRLH's schedule. WVRN was then shut down and its license was returned to the FCC and deleted.

The original broadcasting tower in Midlothian, Virginia that had been used by WVRN is now owned by Motorola and leased as a transmitter tower by two separately owned local FM radio stations: Clear Channel-owned Urban Contemporary WBTJ and Mainline Broadcasting-owned oldies station WBBT.