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WJMA

WJMA-FM

WJMA-FM is a country formatted broadcast radio station licensed to Culpeper County, Virginia.

History

WJMA-AM (1340 kHz) in Orange, Virginia, began broadcasting at noon on September 10, 1949 as a Class 4 AM radio station with 250 watts of broadcast power day and night. WJMA was named for the James Madison Association—the original licensee of WJMA-AM. James Madison, the father of the US Constitution and fourth President of the United States was a resident of Orange County, Virginia.

Woodbury S. Ober, one of the original stockholders, became the sole owner when bought shares of the other stockholders in October 1956. In 1958 Ober merged WJMA with Charlottesville Broadcasting, owners of WINA-AM/FM in Charlottesville, VA. Arch Harrison and WJMA Incorporated purchased the license from Charlottesville Broadcasting on July 1, 1961. WJMA-FM (96.7 mHz) went on the air November 22, 1971 as a simulcast of WJMA-AM. WJMA began using the slogan "Radio Orange" in the mid 1970s. Many consider the 1975-1982 period the "golden years" for WJMA which sometimes considered itself a rural version of WMAL-AM, Washington, DC. WJMA had a strong local news and sports commitment. The music was middle of the road (MOR) which evolved into adult contemporary (AC) by the late 70s. In 1978 the news staff won 7 of the 8 Virginia Associated Press news awards for non-metro radio stations. Between 1973 and 1984, WJMA won 18 Associated Press awards. In addition to lots of high school sports, WJMA carried the Washington Redskins, Baltimore Orioles, the Virginia Squires of the American Basketball Association, University of Virginia (football and basketball) and Virginia Tech (football) schedules. During the brief existence of the United States Football League, WJMA carried the Washington Federals.

Digby Solomon and Solomon & Lowe purchased WJMA AM/FM on April 1, 1984. In December 1984, WJMA-FM changed call letters to WVJZ, (Z96.7), playing Adult Contemporary music while continuing to simulcast with WJMA-AM. Solomon & Lowe sold to Carl Hurlbaus and Capitol Radio Holdings in 1988. The news and sports coverage was reduced and the music took on a more Top 40 flavor with the slogan "Jammin 96".

After a period of decline, the stations were purchased by a group of local business owners under the name Piedmont Communications on January 1, 1993. The format was changed to country music with the slogan "Country Mix 96" and the FM call was changed back to WJMA FM in February of 1990. In 1994, News Director Phil Goodwin won a national Radio-Television News Directors Association Edward R. Murrow award for the best small market feature story

In June, 2001 a three station shuffle to allow WSIG-FM in Mount Jackson, VA, and WREL-FM in Lexington, VA, to increase power, WJMA-FM moved to 98.9 with a new slogan of "Your Place In The Country". WJMA-AM changed call letters to WVCV-AM and featured oldies and talk programs. The station now plays standards and soft hits.

In the fall of 2002, Piedmont Communications traded the 98.9 frequency to North Carolina station owner Tom Joyner for Joyner's two Culpeper, Virginia stations: WCVA-AM (1490 kHz) and WCUL-FM (103.1 mHz). At approximately the same time, Piedmont Communications purchased WLSA-FM in Louisa, VA. On March 1, 2004 the WJMA-FM programming was added to the WCUL-FM tower on Clark Mountain in Culpeper County on the WCUL frequency of 103.1. At midnight on April 15, 2004 WJMA-FM at 98.9 was turned off thus ending almost 34 years of an FM station licensed to Orange, Virginia. The main studio and AM tower site remain in Orange and city of license for WJMA FM is Culpeper. The WJMA-AM call letters were abandoned when the AM station became WVCV. WVCV plays satellite delivered adult standards and soft hits, plus ABC and local news, as well as Paul Harvey. WVCV is simulcast with WCVA (1490 kHz) in Culpeper. WCVA is also a Class 4 AM station.

References

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