ECSU radio station celebrates 30 years

On Friday, March 18, WRVS-FM, 89.9 will celebrate 30 years of service to Northeastern North Carolina. 

"It doesn't seem like 30 years since WRVS began serving Elizabeth City and Northeastern North Carolina.  I get chills thinking about the first time I popped the mic to do the official ‘FCC’ sign on and playing McFadden & Whitehead's ‘Ain't No Stopping Us Now’ which was chosen as a song of victory and motivation after the ups and downs of trying to launch a station,” said David C. Linton, founding general manager of WRVS.

At the time of its launching in 1986, WRVS operated as 90.7-FM, a 10,000 watt, 18-hour station.    

The station was the brainchild of former Chancellor Jimmy Jenkins. He hired Linton, from WSHA-FM at Shaw University to help Elizabeth City State University realize his dream. Linton was brought in as Special Assistant to the Chancellor for Media Development and worked with the FCC, engineers, and others to get the station on the air.  Linton, who served as the station’s first General Manager and Program Director coined the slogan, “Making a Difference in Your Life” as well as the station moniker, Wonderful Radio Viking Style.  The original staff consisted of: Paula Sutton (Public Affairs Director), Andre Smith (Sports Director), Dorothy Keith (Gospel announcer), and a group of talented students.  

As a training facility for ECSU students pursuing careers in radio broadcasting, WRVS has seen many of its students go on to launch professional careers in radio at organizations such as  iHeart Media,( formerly Clear Channel Communications), Radio One, WHUR, and Voice of America.  Some have even returned to ECSU to impart the same quality one-on-one training received as students of the station with current students now sharing the same dream.  Randy Jones (Program Director, Sports Director, and On-Air Host) along with Clay Mercer (Production Director and On-Air Host) are proud of the legacy they are leaving as former students and now, members of the station’s professional staff.       

In 1990, the station received several upgrades, including a new transmitter allowing an effective radiated power of 41 kW as well as a new frequency of 89.9 MHz.  On July 3, 1996 the station went dark for weeks due to water and smoke damage to equipment caused by an electrical fire that occurred upstairs in Williams Hall. The station signed back on in October and later went to a jazz based format as "Jazzy 89-Nine." In 2003, the station reverted to its original and current Urban Adult Contemporary based format and then moved from an 18-hour format to broadcasting 24 hours a day.  On September 25, 2008, WRVS-FM, 89.9 completed its digital conversion project and on September 28, 2008 launched its digital broadcasting stream using iBiquity Digital Corporation's HD Radio TM technology. The station is currently staffed with five permanent employees and a host of community volunteers, student interns, and work-study students.

WRVS is a public-supported, National Public Radio (NPR), Public Radio International (PRI), and African-American Public Radio Consortium (AAPRC) affiliate station.

Join WRVS on Friday, March 18 to commemorate 30 years of Wonderful Radio Viking Style between the hours of 6 a.m.-7 p.m. for a fun-filled day of on-air giveaways, feature interviews, and more.  Listeners in Northeast North Carolina and Southeast Virginia can tune in to 89.9FM and listeners worldwide can tune in online at www.ecsu.edu/wrvs.

Elizabeth City State University was named by Washington Monthly as one of the ‘Best Bang for the Buck’ institutions.   Washington Monthly also ranked ECSU number one for the fourth consecutive year on its list of ‘Best Baccalaureate Colleges.’ ECSU has 28 undergraduate degree offerings and four graduate degree programs, flexible study options, and research opportunities.