|Broadcast area||Hampton Roads|
|Slogan||Smooth R&B from Yesterday and Today|
|First air date||September 21, 1961|
|Format||Urban Adult Contemporary|
|HAAT||268 meters (879 ft)|
|Transmitter coordinates||36°48′56.0″N 76°28′0.0″W / 36.815556°N 76.466667°W|
W Virginia KooL|
Entercom Communications |
(Entercom License, LLC)
|Sister stations||WNVZ, WPTE, WWDE-FM|
WVKL (95.7 MHz) is a commercial FM radio station licensed to Norfolk, Virginia, and serving Hampton Roads. WVKL is owned and operated by Entercom Communications. It airs an urban adult contemporary radio format. WVKL carries The Steve Harvey Morning Show, nationally syndicated weekdays by Premiere Networks.
Early Years as WTAR-FM
On September 21, 1961, the station signed on as WTAR-FM. It was owned by Norfolk Newspapers, publisher of The Virginian-Pilot and The Ledger-Star, along with Virginia's first radio station, WTAR (then on AM 790, now on AM 850), and Norfolk's CBS network affiliate, WTAR-TV (now WTKR). There had been a previous WTAR-FM on 97.3 MHz that began broadcasting in 1948. But few people had FM radios in those days and the station went off the air a couple of years later. WGH-FM now uses the 97.3 dial position.
From its sign-on, WTAR-FM has had an effective radiated power of 40,000 watts. It broadcasts from a tower that was built for WTAR-TV, which had gone on the air in 1950. That tower gave WTAR-FM a height above average terrain of 879 feet (268 meters), which makes the station overpowered by current standards. On that tower, a Class B station should be limited to around 15,000 watts. But because the Federal Communications Commission maximum power rules were not strictly enforced in those days, WVKL continues to enjoy a larger coverage area, thanks to its grandfathered power.
Easy Listening and Soft AC
By the early 1970s, WTAR-FM was separately programmed, airing a beautiful music format of mostly instrumental versions of pop songs, as well as Hollywood and Broadway show tunes. In 1977, WTAR-FM switched its call sign to WKEZ, with the "EZ" in the call letters referring to Easy Listening music.
As Norfolk Newspapers began acquiring newspapers and broadcast properties in other states, it was renamed Landmark Communications, and later Landmark Media Enterprises. In the 1970s, the FCC began discouraging one company from owning a newspaper, TV station and radio stations, all in the same media market. Landmark was exempt because it owned the properties before the FCC rules went into effect. But in 1981, Landmark decided to sell WTAR-TV to Knight-Ridder, but it also moved WKEZ to a soft adult contemporary format renaming it as WLTY, under their new moniker as "The New Y96". The "LT" in the call sign stood for Lite Music, but not only that "WLTY" was also short for "We Listen To You" as well. Then in May 1989 WLTY shifted to Oldies as "The New Oldies 96" and then later as "Oldies 95.7".
From Oldies to Urban AC
In 1993, Benchmark Communications spent $4.5 million to buy both WLTY and its sister station, AM 790 WTAR. In 1997, Benchmark sold WLTY to Heritage Broadcasting, which changed WLTY's call letters to WVCL and rebranded as "Cool 95.7." The following year, the call sign was modified to WVKL, so instead of "Cool" it became "Kool."
In February 1998, the Sinclair Broadcast Group acquired WVKL. In December 1999, the station was bought by Entercom. On January 9, 2001, WVKL switched to its current Urban AC format. Entercom has guided WVKL to becoming one of the top stations in the Norfolk-Virginia Beach-Newport News radio market.
- "WVKL Facility Record". Federal Communications Commission, audio division.
- Broadcasting Yearbook 1963 page B-192
- "WTAR-TV Marks Its First Year" (PDF). Broadcasting. April 30, 1951. p. 62. Retrieved 26 March 2018.
- Broadcasting Yearbook 1978 page C-229
- Broadcasting Yearbook 1982 page C-250
- Broadcasting & Cable Yearbook 1995 page B-431
- Broadcasting & Cable Yearbook 1998 page D-461
- Broadcasting & Cable Yearbook 2000 page D-472
- Broadcasting & Cable Yearbook 2002-2003 page D-474
- 95-7 R&B Online
- Query the FCC's FM station database for WVKL
- Radio-Locator information on WVKL
- Query Nielsen Audio's FM station database for WVKL