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City Richmond, Virginia
Broadcast area Richmond, Virginia
Petersburg, Virginia
Branding WCVE News
Frequency 88.9 FM MHz (also on HD Radio)
First air date May 8, 1988[1]
Format Public news/talk
Power 10,000 Watts
HAAT 302 meters (991 ft)
Class B
Facility ID 10016
Transmitter coordinates 37°34′45.0″N 77°36′6.0″W / 37.579167°N 77.601667°W / 37.579167; -77.601667
Callsign meaning W Central Virginia Educational
Affiliations National Public Radio
American Public Media
Owner Commonwealth Public Broadcasting Corporation
Sister stations WCVE-TV, WCVW-TV, WWLB, WBBT-FM
Webcast WCVE-FM Webstream
Website WCVE-FM Online

WCVE-FM ("WCVE News", 88.9 MHz) is a public radio station licensed to Richmond, Virginia, serving the Richmond/Petersburg area. WCVE-FM is owned and operated by Commonwealth Public Broadcasting Corporation.[2] CPBC also owns Channel 23 WCVE-TV, the PBS member station in Richmond, as well as other TV and FM stations in Virginia.

WCVE-FM broadcasts two channels in the HD Radio format.[3]

Two additional stations, WWLB (93.1 FM) and WBBT-FM (107.3 FM), broadcast classical and specialty music programming to Richmond under the brand "WCVE Music". WWLB serves the southern portion of the market, while WBBT serves the northern portion.



In May 1957, the Union Theological Seminary of Richmond (now known as the Union Presbyterian Seminary) signed on an FM radio station at 90.1, WRFK.[4] Its non-commercial schedule of classical music, religion and talk programs proved to be popular. The station relocated to 106.5 in the 1960s and boosted its power, first to 16,000 watts, and later 50,000 watts, covering all of Richmond and its suburbs. When National Public Radio debuted in the 1970s, WRFK became a network affiliate, operating as a public radio station, airing programs such as All Things Considered, while owned by the seminary.

Even though it was non-commercial, WRFK, at 106.5 MHz, could be converted to a profit-making commercial station if its owners wanted to make the switch. By the 1980s, FM radio stations in sizable media markets like Richmond were becoming quite valuable. The seminary decided to sell the station, with the money going to fund projects more in line with the seminary's mission. Meanwhile, Richmond's PBS affiliate, WCVE-TV, which signed on in 1964, expressed an interest in operating a public radio station as a companion to Channel 23.


In 1988, WRFK was sold to The Daytona Group of Virginia, Inc.[5] The station switched to a commercial adult contemporary format as WVMX (now urban contemporary station WBTJ). And on May 6, 1988, WCVE-FM signed on at 89.1 as Richmond's new public radio station and NPR affiliate.[6]

Its effective radiated power was 8,300 watts, with its transmitter at the WCVE-TV tower, at 840 feet in height above average terrain. It originally aired classical music much of the day, with some NPR programs, jazz and local news. As time went on, more NPR shows were added, to the point where the station became all news and information on weekdays, with music heard at night and on weekends.

In the early 2000s, WCVE-FM nearly doubled its power, to 17,500 watts, from the same 840 foot tower. In the 2010s, the station reduced its power to 10,000 watts, coupled with an increase in antenna height, now at 990 feet (302 meters).[7] That gives WCVE-FM the same coverage but at less power due to the use of a taller tower.

News and music split[edit]

After twenty years as a full service public radio station with blocks of news and music, all music programming was moved to new acquisitions WBBT-FM (107.3 FM) and WWLB (93.1 FM) on June 1, 2018. WCVE-FM and its repeaters rebranded as "WCVE News", while the two new stations became "WCVE Music".[8]


WCVE-FM built two full-powered repeaters in 2007 to serve outlying parts of its coverage area.[8]

Call sign Frequency
City of license ERP
Class FCC
WCNV 89.1 Heathsville, Virginia 3.8 A FCC
WMVE 90.1 Chase City, Virginia 8 C3 FCC


  1. ^ Broadcasting Yearbook 2010 (PDF). ProQuest, LLC/Reed Publishing (Nederland), B.V. 2010. p. D-569. Retrieved July 10, 2015. 
  2. ^ "WCVE Facility Record". Federal Communications Commission, audio division. Retrieved July 10, 2015. 
  3. ^ http://hdradio.com/station_guides/widget.php?id=56 HD Radio Guide for Richmond, Virginia
  4. ^ Broadcasting Yearbook 1958 page A-387
  5. ^ Broadcasting Yearbook 1989 page B-313
  6. ^ Broadcasting Yearbook 1990 page B-327
  7. ^ FCC.gov/WCVE-FM
  8. ^ a b Griset, Rich (30 May 2018). "WCVE marks 30 years with new stations, gala". Chesterfield Observer. 

External links[edit]