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City Harrisonburg, Virginia
Broadcast area Metro Harrisonburg
Branding "88–7 WXJM"
Frequency 88.7 MHz
First air date October 1, 1990[1]
Format Variety
ERP 390 watts
HAAT 19 meters (62 ft)
Class A
Facility ID 4247
Transmitter coordinates 38°26′22″N 78°52′21″W / 38.43944°N 78.87250°W / 38.43944; -78.87250
Callsign meaning WX James Madison
Former callsigns WZJM (1989)
WXJM (1989–present)
Owner James Madison University
(James Madison University Board of Visitors)
Sister stations WEMC, WMRA, WMRL, WMRY, WMLU
Webcast WXJM Webstream
Website WXJM Online

WXJM (88.7 FM) is an American non-commercial educational radio station licensed to serve Harrisonburg, Virginia, USA. The station, established in 1990, is owned and operated by James Madison University. The station's broadcast license is held by the James Madison University Board of Visitors.[2]

WXJM station management reports to the JMU Media Board, which is under the jurisdiction of the University Board of Visitors.[3] WXJM also receives guidance and technical support from WMRA.


WXJM broadcasts a variety music format to the greater Harrisonburg metropolitan area.[4] WXJM's tower and antenna sits atop Burruss Hall on the JMU campus. The station operates with an effective radiated power (ERP) of 390 watts. Although the "official" range (60 dBu contour) of the station is about 6 miles (9.7 km), it can be heard at times in Staunton, which is approximately 20 miles (32 km) southwest of the station.[5]


The forerunner of WXJM was the audio stream played over a few James Madison University campus buildings' public address systems to give interested students some practice with broadcasting. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the "Dining Hall DJ's" advocated for airbore-broadcast capability. Early planners sought a callsign of WJMR for (W) James Madison Radio but were dismayed to learn that the letters were already taken by an existing station in Wisconsin, WJMR-FM.

The Board of Visitors of James Madison University filed an application with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to construct a new FM radio station in March 1988.[6] This station would broadcast with 260 watts of effective radiated power from an antenna 14.5 meters (48 ft) in height above average terrain (HAAT). The FCC granted the original construction permit for this new station on September 1, 1989, with a scheduled expiration date of March 1, 1991.[6]

The station was assigned the callsign "WZJM" by the FCC on October 31, 1989.[7] Just a few weeks later, on November 17, 1989, this was changed to the current "WXJM" callsign.[7] FM radios could pick up the signal, but reception off-campus was seldom possible.

In March 1990, the station sought an upgrade to an ERP of 390 watts and an antenna HAAT of 20 meters (66 ft). The FCC authorized these changes in July 1990.[8] In October 1990, the station was nearing completion and asked the FCC to allow it to lower its antenna slightly to 19 meters (62 ft) in HAAT.[9]

On October 10, 1990, WXJM applied for its license to cover. After the authorized modifications to the antenna were completed, the FCC granted the station its broadcast license on August 6, 1991.[10]

Some of the early student radio announcers banded together in a club called the "Freak Possie". The radio Freaks turned media arts class performance-art projects into pickets and absurdist attention-getting events to get publicity and to advocate for a stronger off-campus broadcast capability.[11] [12] Events included mass weddings to bananas and speeches by fursuit-wearing performers including a Three-Eyed Antlered Pig who mocked the university's official mascot, the Duke Dog.[13][14]

In 2003, WXJM was levied a $3,000 forfeiture[15] by the FCC due to public file documents which were "either filed late or are missing". The FCC declared the matter resolved with a notice of apparent liability in February 2008.[16]

WXJM web-streaming started circa 2005. WXJM's original slogan, "Music Your Mother Won't Like", changed circa 2006 to "Electrifying Wilson Hall".

In May 2011, WXJM enhanced its overnight broadcast automation capability so that when live announcers are not present, listeners hear Bluegrass music provided by Possum Music Service instead of dead air.


Main article: MACRoCk

Every spring since 1997, WXJM helps support the Mid-Atlantic College Radio Conference (MACRoCk) at various venues in and around Harrisonburg. Some MACRoCks have drawn over 100 bands and over 4,000 concertgoers.[17]


  1. ^ http://www.wxjm.org/about.html
  2. ^ "WXJM Facility Record". Federal Communications Commission, audio division. 
  3. ^ "JMU Media Board". James Madison University. August 29, 2008. Retrieved July 17, 2009. 
  4. ^ "Station Information Profile". Arbitron. Retrieved February 11, 2011. 
  5. ^ Lassiter, Chris (June 15, 2003). "JMU radio, WNRN offer area's only shows for fans". Daily News-Record. Harrisonburg, VA. p. A1. Retrieved February 11, 2011. 
  6. ^ a b "Application Search Details (BPED-19880321MD)". FCC Media Bureau. September 1, 1989. Retrieved February 11, 2011. 
  7. ^ a b "Call Sign History". FCC Media Bureau CDBS Public Access Database. Retrieved February 11, 2011. 
  8. ^ "Application Search Details (BMPED-19900328IB)". FCC Media Bureau. July 2, 1990. Retrieved February 11, 2011. 
  9. ^ "Application Search Details (BMPED-19901010IB)". FCC Media Bureau. February 14, 1991. Retrieved February 11, 2011. 
  10. ^ "Application Search Details (BLED-19901010KB)". FCC Media Bureau. August 6, 1991. Retrieved February 11, 2011. 
  11. ^ Gary Smith and WHSV News (Oct 31, 1991). "(archive video) "JMU Banana Wedding and Antlered Pig Rally" on ABC News (local: WHSV-TV3)". Retrieved June 7, 2012. 
  12. ^ Staff Reports (Nov 19, 1991). ""JMU fans fight to replace bark with an oink" in Roanoke Times & World News (pg. A-1)". Retrieved June 7, 2012. 
  13. ^ Steve Smallshaw and Dateline 29 News (Oct 31, 1991). "(archive video) "Dignified Mascot" on NBC News (local: WVIR-TV29)". Retrieved June 7, 2012. 
  14. ^ Stacey Chase (Oct 30, 1991). ""Will Duke Dog yield to antlered JMU pig?" in Richmond Times-Dispatch (pg. D-10)". Retrieved June 7, 2012. 
  15. ^ http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-03-3070A1.pdf
  16. ^ "Application Search Details (NAL-20031107AFW)". FCC Media Bureau. February 4, 2008. Retrieved February 11, 2011. 
  17. ^ Horst, Patrick (April 7, 2001). "The MacDaddy Of Music". Daily News-Record. Harrisonburg, VA. Retrieved February 11, 2011. MACRoCk, in its fifth year, is a festival of independent music organized by James Madion University's student-run radio station, 88.7 FM, WXJM. 

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