WCVE To Take Over 93.1 WWLB/107.3 WBBT-FM Richmond On February 15

88.9 WCVE Richmond 107.3 BBT WBBT 93.1 Hank-FM WWLB Alpha MediaCommonwealth Public Broadcasting will begin operating Classic Country “93.1 Hank-FM” WWLB Ettrik/Petersburg and 80s Hits 107.3 WBBT-FM Powhatan/Richmond VA on Thursday, February 15 at 1pm.

The two stations will eventually assume all of the Classical and Jazz programming currently heard on 88.9 WCVE-FM Richmond, 89.1 WCNV Heathsville and 90.1 WMVE Chase City as those stations will move to Public News/Talk around the clock. WCVE-FM currently airs Classical music from 9am to 3pm and 10pm to 5am with Jazz from 7-10pm weekdays. For now they will be a direct simulcast of WCVE-FM with the programming split set to take place around June.

Alpha Media sold WWLB and WBBT-FM to Commonwealth Public Broadcasting in December for $1.95 million. It completes Alpha’s exit from the market following its sale of then Country “The Wolf” 98.9 WLFV Midlothian and 100.3 WARV-FM Petersburg to Educational Media Foundation in December 2016 for $2 million.

In a move that doubles its capacity to deliver news, public affairs programming and classical, jazz music and other cultural programs to listeners throughout Central Virginia, Commonwealth Public Broadcasting Corporation (CPBC), the nonprofit organization that broadcasts national and local public radio and television programs in the region, agreed to purchase from Alpha Media two additional FM radio stations, WBBT (107.3 FM) and WWLB (93.1 FM).

In the coming months, we will be providing you with twice as many listening options. 88.9 FM will feature news, talk and information around the clock. 107.3 and 93.1 will carry 24 hours of music: classical through the day, jazz during weeknights, along with blues, folk and Americana on the weekends.

While we work to develop staffing and specific program lineup, 107.3 and 93.1 will carry a simulcast of 88.9 WCVE’s current programming.

The new formats are expected to begin on all three stations in June 2018.

More About The Programming Changes
88.9 WCVE will be re-programmed to an all-news and talk format (WCVE News), continuing to broadcast such NPR programs as “Morning Edition”, “All Things Considered”, and “Fresh Air” and American Public Media’s (APM) “Marketplace.” Added to the 24/7 news and talk channel will be programs such as “Marketplace Weekend,” “Here and Now”, “BBC News”, CBC Radio’s “As it Happens”, and cultural talk shows “Only a Game”, “The Big Listen” and “The Splendid Table.”

107.3 WBBT and 93.1 WWLB will simulcast exclusively music programs (WCVE Music), especially those airing classical and jazz music, including APM’s “Performance Today”. Local music hosts will fill more hours of the day with classical music and jazz host Peter Solomon will claim the evenings. With so many more hours available for music, weekend favorites, such as Ian Stewart’s “The World Music Show” and Steve Clark’s “Sound of Swing” will be joined by additional local and national music shows.

Original Report 12/20: Alpha Media has found a buyer for the remainder of its cluster in Richmond VA.

Commonwealth Public Broadcasting, owners of 88.9 WCVE-FM Richmond, will purchase Classic Country “93.1 Hank-FM” WWLB Ettrik and 80s Hits 107.3 WBBT-FM Powhatan for $1.95 million. Upon completion of the sale WCVE-FM will move all of its Classical and Jazz programming to 93.1 and 107.3 while 88.9 will focus completely on Public News/Talk. The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2018.

WCVE-FM currently airs Classical music from 9am to 3pm and 10pm to 5am with Jazz from 7-10pm. Public News/Talk programs On Point, Here and Now, BBC Newshour, As it Happens, Only a Game, The Big Listen and The Splendid Table will be added to the lineup upon the move to Public News/Talk. WCVE-FM simulcasts its current lineup on 89.1 WCNV Heathsville and 90.1 WMVE Chase City.

Alpha Media sold Country “The Wolf” 98.9 WLFV Midlothian and 100.3 WARV-FM Petersburg to Educational Media Foundation in December 2016 for $2 million. Commonwealth Public Broadcasting, which also owns two public television stations in Richmond and one in Charlottesville, is in the process of acquiring WVPT-TV Staunton after netting $182 million in the television spectrum auction.

In a move that doubles its capacity to deliver news, public affairs programming and classical, jazz music and other cultural programs to listeners throughout Central Virginia, Commonwealth Public Broadcasting Corp. (CPBC), the nonprofit organization that broadcasts national and local public radio and television programs in the region, has agreed to purchase two additional FM radio stations, WBBT (107.3 FM) and WWLB (93.1 FM).

The two stations will join WCVE-FM (88.9 FM), which currently broadcasts NPR’s “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered” along with locally produced news and features, classical and jazz music, and other national and local programs, such as Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me, This American Life and With Good Reason.

WCVE-FM will be reprogrammed to an all-news and talk format, continuing to broadcast such NPR programs as “Morning Edition”, “All Things Considered”, and “Fresh Air” and American Public Media’s (APM) “Marketplace” and “Marketplace Weekend”. Added to the 24/7 news and talk channel will be programs such as On Point, Here and Now, BBC Newshour, CPC Radio’s As it Happens , and cultural talk shows Only a Game, The Big Listen and The Splendid Table.

The newly acquired stations, which will be purchased from Alpha Media for an undisclosed price, will simulcast exclusively music programs, especially those airing classical and jazz music, including APM’s “Performance Today”. Local classical music hosts George Maida, Shawn Evans and Mike Goldberg will fill more hours of the day with classical music and jazz host Peter Solomon will claim the evenings. With so many more hours available for music, weekend favorites, such as Ian Stewart’s “The World Music Show” and Steve Clark’s “Sound of Swing”, will be joined by additional local and national music shows.

The transaction is subject to FCC approval, which is expected in the first quarter of 2018. The new formats are expected to begin on all three stations as early as Spring 2018.

“This transaction fulfills a long-held objective, enabling us to meet the dual listening demands of our radio audience,” said Curtis Monk, president and CEO of CPBC. “For the first time ever, we are excited to be able to dramatically expand our programming to our listeners, providing wall-to-wall news and public affairs programming on one station, while delivering the best in classical music, jazz and other music offerings on the other. We are thrilled to be able to give every public broadcasting listener in the region the best of both worlds.”

5 Comments
  1. Charles Everett says


    WCVE-FM currently airs its NPR News/Talk format on 88.9-HD2 and the station’s website.

  2. Aaron says


    The move makes sense. NPR/Classical hybrid formats are becoming dinosaurs and WCVE has 24/7 NPR Talk competition from Radio IQ’s 92.5 translator. This format split should ensure listeners and pledge dollars stay with WCVE, which has a much larger signal than 92.5, and more of a Richmond focus compared to Radio IQ’s statewide approach.

    107.3 is the significant acquisition here. It covers most of the big population centers in the market, although occasionally has issues with co-channel WRQX. 93.1 is more of a southern rimshot. Summit Media is a winner in this deal, as it will have the only remaining full signal Country (WKHK) and Classic Hits (WJSR) stations in the market.

    As a side note, this adds to the glut of non-comms in Richmond, which seems to have a very high non-comm to commercial station ratio for a medium-sized market.

    1. Eric Jon Magnuson says


      The same goes for TV: All of CPBC’s proceeds from the spectrum auction came from its NoVa/D.C. DMA stations (WNVC/WNVT). (WVPT’s simulcaster–WVPY–was also put in the auction, but not while under CPBC ownership.) I can’t think of a market smaller than Richmond where the same owner has had two overlapping non-commercial TV outlets–especially one where both stations were signed on as such.

  3. briansmac says


    Wonder how Trump’s overhaul of NPR and CPB will affect the US public broadcasting forecast?

    1. Steve Varholy says


      The President has no influence on NPR, which is an independent non-profit.

      The President can appoint a new head of CPB. But you will note that Ken Tomlinson did not last long. He can influence the Congressional funding of CPB, but that is a political third rail as we have seen in the past.

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