|Broadcast area||Metro Richmond|
|Branding||Fox Sports 910|
|Slogan||Richmond's Sports Radio Station|
|First air date||1927|
5,000 Watts daytime|
1,500 Watts nighttime
|Transmitter coordinates||37°36′50.0″N 77°30′53.0″W / 37.613889°N 77.514722°W|
|Callsign meaning||Richmond News Leader (former owner)|
332.5 meters (1926-1927)|
1360 kHz (1927)
1400 kHz (1927-1928)
1200 kHz (1928-1935)
880 kHz (1935-1941)
|Affiliations||Fox Sports Radio|
(CBS Radio East, LLC)
|Sister stations||W241AP, W253BI, WBTJ, WRXL, WRVA, WRVQ, WTVR-FM|
WRNL is a Sports formatted radio station licensed to Richmond, Virginia, serving Metro Richmond and broadcasting on 910 kHz on the AM dial. WRNL is owned and operated by Entercom and features programming from the Fox Sports Radio Network. The station also broadcasts on the HD2 signal of sister station WRVQ.
Station WLBG, broadcasting on 332.5 meters (902 kHz) with 100 watts from Petersburg, was granted a license on December 13, 1926. The owner was Robert Allen Gamble. In 1931, WLBG, Inc. was created to hold the license, and Gamble sold it to local tobacco businessmen the following year.
As WPHR, the station joined the Virginia Broadcasting Network, a five-station group headed by WCHV Charlottesville, on February 1, 1936. Although a planned 16-hour day of common programming failed in three months due to high costs, the network remained to carry Virginia Cavaliers football. The station's FCC record contains several dozen special authorizations to operate after sunset for football games, until it was granted 24-hour operation in September 1940.
On November 14, 1937, the station began broadcasting from Richmond as WRNL (after the News Leader) with a frequency of 880 kHz and 500 watts, daytime-only. Its studios were at 323 East Grace Street in Richmond, and the transmitter was in Henrico County, Virginia.
On November 1, 2017, iHeartMedia announced that WRNL, along with all of their sister stations in Richmond and Chattanooga, will be sold to Entercom due to that company's merger with CBS Radio. The sale was completed on December 19, 2017.
Changes from 1940 ownership merger
On September 1, 1940, The Richmond News Leader merged with the Richmond Times-Dispatch, owner of station WRTD (a 100-watt station on 1500 kHz) in Richmond. (The newspapers remained separate entities, but they were owned by the same company, Richmond Newspapers, Incorporated.) As part of the merger, WRTD voluntarily surrendered its license to the Federal Communications Commission effective midnight August 31, 1940. At the same time, WRNL became the NBC Blue Network affiliate in Richmond. WRNL simultaneously went to 100 watts of power (full-time).
WRNL provided one of the first broadcasting opportunities on a U.S. radio station for the country/folk group the Carter Family. Beginning June 1, 1943, Maybelle Carter and her daughters, using the name "The Carter Sisters," had a program on WRNL that was sponsored by Nolde Brothers Bakery.
Douglas Southall Freeman
In addition to being a journalist and historian, Douglas Southall Freeman was part-owner of WRNL. The editor of The Richmond News Leader, he extended his journalistic activities to broadcasting with twice-daily newscasts at 8 a.m. and noon. Among those interviewed by Freeman was poet Robert Frost, in what Frost said was his first time to knowingly appear on radio. Biographer Charles Johnson wrote about Freeman's first broadcast of each day: "He steps up to the microphone at 8:00, and thousands of Virginians mark the beginning of their day. ... They might just be beginning their day, but he has been observing the world for more than five hours and will tell them what they need to know."
A Gospel quartet that began when its members were students at an elementary school in Richmond, the Harmonizing Four began singing on WRNL in 1943, soon after recording eight songs for Decca in New York City. Described as "the area's top quartet," the group "would have Sunday breakfast with Richmond for nearly two decades, sponsored by People's Furniture."
Schreiner came to WRNL in 1950. Among other duties, he had a program, "The Mailbag." Schreiner also served as program director and covered farm news, winning a Virginia Associated Press Broadcasters' award for his work in 1959.
"A large portion of Richmond’s baby-boom generation grew up with Mr. Soden’s distinctive descriptions of baseball, basketball and football games percolating in the background on radio station WRNL." Soden was general manager and executive vice president at WRNL, but he was best known for bringing sports events into the homes of people in central Virginia. He did play-by-play for the Richmond Braves and Richmond Virginians minor league baseball teams for three decades and broadcast University of Richmond basketball (24 years) and football (11 years) and Virginia Tech football (12 years). Soden's accolades included a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Richmond Broadcasting Hall of Fame, two awards as Virginia's Sportscaster of the Year from the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association and induction into six halls of fame.
Organist Eddie Weaver, who played at the famous Byrd Theater in Richmond, was also heard in many homes via WRNL. His weekday morning program, "Eddie Weaver's Open House," featured music and chatter. The program began in September 1949 and was still going strong a decade later.
- "Radio Service Bulletin" (PDF). Department of Commerce, Bureau of Navigation. December 31, 1926. p. 18.
- "Facility No. 11960 History Card" (PDF). Federal Communications Commission.
- "WRNL Facility Record". Federal Communications Commission, audio division.
- "WLBG In New Hands" (PDF). Broadcasting. June 1, 1932. p. 13.
- "[Virginia Broadcasting System Ad]" (PDF). Broadcaasting. February 1, 1936. p. 5.
- Cox, Jim (2009). American Radio Networks: A History. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland. pp. 113–114.
- Alicoate, Jack, Ed. (1938). The 1938 Radio Annual. Radio Daily Corp. P. 383.
- "New Station In Richmond, WRNL, Now on the Air" (PDF). Broadcasting. December 1, 1937. p. 22.
- "Consummation Notice". CDBS Public Access. Federal Communications Commission. December 19, 2017. Retrieved December 21, 2017.
- "WRTD, Richmond, Quits Operation; WRNL Full-Time" (PDF). Broadcasting. September 1, 1940. Retrieved 16 January 2015.
- Rayner, Bob (September 7, 2000). "Downtown Richmond, Va., Building to Undergo Renovations". Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News. Retrieved 20 January 2015 – via HighBeam Research. (Subscription required (. ))
- Ruhlmann, William (2001). "Carter Family, The". Baker’s Biographical Dictionary of Musicians. Farmington Hills, Michigan.: Gale Group, Inc. Retrieved 20 January 2015 – via HighBeam Research. (Subscription required (. ))
- Wolfe, Charles K. (2000). Classic Country: Legends of Country Music. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 9780415928267. Retrieved 16 January 2015.
- Stoddard, Brooke C. "Words Read 'Round the World". Virginia Living. Retrieved 17 January 2015.
- Johnson, David E. (2002). Douglas Southall Freeman. Gretna, Louisiana: Pelican Publishing Company. ISBN 1-58980-021-4. Retrieved 17 January 2015.
- "Robert Frost & Dr. Douglas Southall Freeman : WRNL Richmond, Va". WorldCat. Retrieved 17 January 2015.
- editor, W.K. McNeil, (2010). Encyclopedia of American gospel music. New York: Routledge. p. 174. ISBN 978-0-415-87569-1. Retrieved 22 January 2015.
- Harrison, Don. "Lonnie's Boys". Style Weekly. Retrieved 22 January 2015.
- "State Press Group Honors Roger Mudd". The Virginian-Pilot. July 20, 1997. Retrieved 20 January 2015 – via HighBeam Research. (Subscription required (. ))
- "air-casters" (PDF). Broadcasting. July 31, 1950. Retrieved 18 January 2015.
- Alicoate, Jack, Ed. (1961). The 1961 Radio Annual. Radio Daily Corp. P. 593.
- "Virginia AP Men Present News Awards" (PDF). Broadcasting. May 4, 1959. Retrieved 18 January 2015.
- Dorr, Vic (October 22, 2013). "Broadcast legend Frank P. Soden dies". Richmond Times-Dispatch. Retrieved 17 January 2015.
- "(photo caption)". Richmond.com. Richmond Times-Dispatch. Retrieved 17 January 2015.
- "Freeman Wins Award For News Commentary". Kingsport News. April 6, 1951. p. 3. Retrieved March 22, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Va. AP Honors WRNL, WSVS For Public Service in Radio". Broadcasting. November 14, 1955. Retrieved 17 January 2015.
- "Area Radio Stations Win 16 Awards". The Danville Register. May 14, 1966. p. 7. Retrieved March 22, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.
- "WDVA Wins Radio Award For Editorial". The Danville Register. May 10, 1969. p. 6. Retrieved March 22, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.
- "WDVA Is Among Award Winners". The Bee. May 9, 1970. p. 5 – via Newspapers.com.