Origins of Broadcast Call Letters in West Virginia

This page attempts to list call letters which have been in use in radio and television in West Virginia, together with the meanings of the calls. The following people helped with this page: Geoff Allen, Jeff Batten, Michael Blair, Rick Callebs, Emmett Capper, Chris Carmichael, Randall B. Clark, Harold Cremeans, Paul Elder, Jonathan Fox, Bob Gooslin, James Given, Mike Graham, F. Harper, Clarke Ingram, Chris Johnson, Bruce Kennedy, Jerry King, Ronald King, Alan Kingery, Chuck Leavens, Jack Logar, Dave Loudin, Randy Mallory, Scott Martin, Mack Miles, Gordon Miller, Keith Miller, Bob Moore, Tom Moore, Bob Nelson, William Newbrough, Don Niles, Jim Owston, Scott Reppert, Ed Schumacher, Al Sergi, James H. Shott III, Fred Schroyer, Sid Shumate, Vernon Stanfill, John M. Taylor, Keith Thompson, Jeff Vankirk, Steve Watson, Bill Stahnke, Tom Taggart. If you can improve this page in any way, please contact Jeff Miller.

This page was last revised on June 13, 2013

WAAO Charleston sequentially assigned
WAAM Parkersburg ?
WAAR Huntington sequentially assigned
WADC Parkersburg to sound like WABC (see note below)
WAEY Princeton correspond to co-owned WAAY, Huntsville AL
WAEZ Milton easy listening
WAFD Webster Springs ?
WAJR Morgantown Agnes J. Reeves Greer, owner
WAMN Green Valley amen
WAMX Milton album mix
WANJ Wheeling Anthony (Gonzales) and Nick Joe (Rahall), owners
WANR Wheeling Apparently to go with WANJ
WATQ New Martinsville Wayne A. Thomas (owner), Q104
WAUA Petersburg ?
WAXS Oak Hill wax
WBBD Wheeling big band
WBBN Clarksburg big band and news
WBDY Bluefield country buddy
WBES Charleston beautiful entertainment in stereo
WBES Dunbar for earlier WBES Charleston and for "best"
WBEY Beckley Beckley (was to be a UHF TV, never went on air)
WBGS Point Pleasant big country (?)
WBKW Beckley (FM 99.5) airport designator for Beckley Airport
WBKW Beckley (AM 1070) for Beckley, W. Va., or for the earlier WBKW
WBLK Clarksburg Bruce Lee Kennedy, wife of owner John Kennedy
WBOY Clarksburg ?
WBPU Clarksburg ?
WBRB Buckhannon the bear
WBRW Welch John W. Blakely, L. E. Rogers, and J. R. Werness
WBTH Williamson Francis Wagner, William Booker, George Taylor, and William Hogg, owners
WBTQ Buckhannon ?
WBUC Buckhannon Buckhannon
WBYG Point Pleasant Big River Radio Inc. (?)
WBZE Wheeling Busy
WCAW Charleston Charleston and West Virginia (?) (see note below)
WCBC Keyser for WCBC(AM) Cumberland MD, owned by Cumberland Broadcasting Co.
WCDE Elkins Davis & Elkins College
WCEF Parkersburg C. E. Franklin, owner
WCEF Ripley for the earlier WCEF Parkersburg
WCFC Beckley See note
WCHS Charleston Charleston
WCIR Beckley Christianity in radio, or Christ is risen (see note below)
WCKA Sutton named by owner Jim Millikin, C for Cortney (his daughter), K for Katie (his niece), A for Adam (his nephew)
WCKV Ceredo Wayne, Ceredo-Kenova, Vinson, the three high schools in northern Wayne County
WCLG Morgantown C. Leslie Golliday, owner
WCMX Clarksburg Clarksburg mix
WCOM Parkersburg (your) community (station)
WCOZ St. Albans cozy (see note below)
WCPI Wheeling Columbia Pictures Industries (?)
WCST Berkeley Springs Charles Samuel Trump, attorney, one of the original owners
WCWV Summersville We Cover West Virginia
WCZR Charleston Charleston's Z-rock
WDBD Martinsburg ?
WDBS Sutton The Boss 97 FM
WDCI Bridgeport Dolphin Communications Inc.
WDHC Berkeley Springs We're down home country
WDMX Vienna MIX
WDNE Elkins Davis and Elkins College
WDTV Weston for the earlier WDTV Pittsburgh (now KDKA-TV)
WDZN Romney Disney radio
WEEL Wheeling Wheeling
WEGG Moorefield ? (station may never have gone on the air)
WEGW Wheeling the Eagle
WEIF Moundsville "wife" radio
WEIR Weirton Weirton
WELC Welch Welch
WELD Fisher ?
WELK Elkins Elkins
WEMM Huntington Dr. E. M. Mortenson, owner
WEPM Martinsburg West Virginia Eastern Panhandle Martinsburg
WERL East Rainelle East Rainelle (station may never have gone on the air)
WESM Martinsburg corresponds to co-owned WEPM
WETT Bridgeport ?
WETZ New Martinsville Wetzel county
WEWV Martinsburg Eastern West Virginia (?)
WEXP Clarksburg Clarksburg Exponent (was to be original call of WBLK, apparently never used)
WEYS Institute We entertain you soulfully (?)
WFBY Clarksburg The FBI (fingerprint lab moved to Clarksburg)
WFGH Fort Gay Fort Gay High School
WFGM Fairmont We're Fairmont's Good Music
WFGM Barrackville ?
WFSP Kingwood Free State of Preston (County)
WFYZ Ravenswood ?
WGGE Parkersburg Froggy 99
WGIE Clarksburg Froggy
WGKV Charleston Greater Kanawha Valley
WGLZ West Liberty West Liberty State College
WGNT Huntington the giant
WGYA Logan ? (see note)
WGYE Mannington Froggy 102.7
WHAJ Bluefield (current FM station) Hugh and Jim Shott
WHAJ Bluefield (AM station in 1922) sequentially assigned
WHAK Clarksburg ?
WHAR Clarksburg Harrison county
WHAW Weston Harold A. McWhorter or Harold and Wilda (see note below)
WHBR Parkersburg The Bear (?)
WHCM Parkersburg hometown country music
WHD Morgantown sequentially assigned
WHEZ Huntington Huntington EZ listening
WHFI Lindside ?
WHGC Princeton (Robert L.) Harrison and (Dr. F. C.) Goodall Company
WHIS Bluefield Hugh Ike Shott, owner
WHJC Matewan We herald Jesus Christ
WHLL Wheeling Wheeling
WHLX Bethlehem for WHLL (see note)
WHMS Charleston West Virginia's hit music station
WHNK Parkersburg for Hank Williams (?)
WHPW Huntington Huntington public wadio (couldn't get the R)
WHRD Huntington Thundering Herd, Marshall University team
WHTN Huntington Huntington
WIBE Martinsburg sequentially assigned
WIBR Weirton sequentially assigned
WIBZ Parkersburg to sound like WBZ (see note below)
WITB Salem in the basement (see note below)
WIWS Beckley Ira W. Southern, owner
WJAW St. Marys John A. Wharff, III, owner
WJCF Westover Craig Falkenstein, owner
WJGF Romney for John George Freeland, original licensee
WJJB Romney JIB-100, for owner's love of the sea
WJKK Beckley Judy, Karen, and Kristen, wife and daughters of owner
WJLS Beckley Joe L. Smith, father of owner Joe L. Smith Jr.
WJPB Fairmont J. Patrick Beacom, owner
WJRM Elkins Jennings Randolph, owner (station had a CP for 1240 during World War II)
WJYP South Charleston joyful praise
WKAZ Charleston corresponds to co-owned WSAZ
WKAZ Miami for WKAZ Charleston
WKAZ St. Albans for WKAZ Charleston
WKCJ Lewisburg ?
WKEE Huntington Key Broadcasting
WKEZ Bluefield ?
WKGA Grafton ?
WKGI New Martinsville ?
WKJL Clarksburg We Know Jesus Lives
WKKW Clarksburg kicking country
WKLC St. Albans Initials of owner Ray Kandel's children (?)
WKLP Keyser the four nearest incorporated towns: Westernport (MD), Keyser, Luke (MD), and Piedmont
WKMM Kingwood No significance (see note below)
WKMY Princeton corresponds to co-owned WKOY
WKMZ Martinsburg ?
WKNA Charleston airport designator for Kanawha Airport
WKOY Bluefield ?
WKQV Richwood ?
WKRP Charleston ?
WKSD Huntington Kan't Stop Dancing or Kool Sound of Disco
WKWK Wheeling ?
WKWS Charleston ?
WKYG Parkersburg call chosen to force clear enunciation
WKYR Keyser Keyser
WKZG Keyser ?
WLFB Bluefield Living Faith Ministries
WLOG Logan Logan
WLOH Princeton we love our hills
WLTP Parkersburg Lite 1450 (?)
WLYJ Clarksburg We love you, Jesus
WLZT Charleston light (?)
WMCD Welch McDowell county
WMGA Kenova ?
WMGG Huntington Magic 101
WMGP Parkersburg magic radio in Parkersburg
WMJT Moundsville ?
WMLJ Summersville ?
WMMN Fairmont Matthew Mansfield Neely
WMNF Richwood Monongahela National Forest
WMOD Moundsville see note
WMON Montgomery Montgomery
WMOV Ravenswood Mid-Ohio Valley
WMQC Westover We're Morgantown's Quality Choice
WMRE Charles Town memories
WMSP Elk Hills ?
WMTD Hinton ?
WMUL Huntington Marshall University labs
WNBL Huntington ?
WNEU Wheeling New 1470
WNMR New Martinsville New Martinsville radio
WNPB Morgantown West Virginia public broadcasting
WNST Milton Naseeb S. Tweel, owner
WNUS Parkersburg U. S. 107
WOAY Oak Hill WOAK was intended, but handwritten application was misread by FCC
WOBG Clarksburg Oldies but goodies
WOBG Salem ?
WOBU Charleston sequentially assigned
WOHZ Wheeling Radio AAHS
WOKU Hurricane ?
WOTR Lost Creek Old Time Radio
WOVE Welch ?
WOVK Wheeling Ohio Valey "K"ountry
WOWK Huntington Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky
WPAR Parkersburg Parkersburg
WPAZ Charleston sequentially assigned
WPBY Huntington Public broadcasting for you
WPCN Point Pleasant ?
WPDX Clarksburg ?
WPHP Wheeling Wheeling Park High Patriots
WPIB Bluefield ?
WPLH Huntington Work, play, and live in Huntington
WPMW Mullens Pineville, Mullens, Wyoming county
WPNS Hurricane We play new songs or Putnam News Service (?)
WPQZ Clarksburg ?
WPVO Princeton ?
WQAB Philippi Alderson-Broaddus College
WQAW Parkersburg ?
WQBE Charleston cube?
WQBJ Clarksburg sequentially assigned
WQBZ Weirton sequentially assigned
WQWV Fisher ?
WQZK Keyser ?
WQZP Keyser ?
WRDS South Charleston for owner, William, daughter Ronnie, son Daniel Stone
WRGT Clarksburg Robinson Grand Theatre
WRJL Oak Hill Robbie, John & Leah (Thomas)
WRKP Moundsville Ron King Productions, a recording studio in Washington, Pa., which had been owned by the station owner Ronald W. King
WRLB Rainelle Rainelle Lewisburg
WRLF Fairmont Nick Louis Fantasia (WNLF was unavailable and this was his next choice); or for Rosemary L. Fantasia, his relative
WRNR Martinsburg We (are) Rock 'n' Roll (see note)
WRON Ronceverte Ronceverte
WRRD Blennerhassett ?
WRRL Rainelle Rainelle, Rupert, Lewisburg (?)
WRRR St. Marys Seven Ranges Radio Company Inc. (?)
WRSG Middlebourne Ruth Stealey Green, her foundation financed the construction of the station operated by Tyler Consolidated High School
WRVC Huntington River Cities
WRVZ Pocatalico corresponds to co-owned WRVC
WRWB Huntington Red, white, and blue
WRZZ Ravenswood Ravenswood Z-106 (later licensed to Elizabeth)
WSAZ Huntington sequentially assigned (originally lic to Pomeroy, Ohio)
WSCW South Charleston South Charleston, West Virginia
WSGB Sutton Sutton, Gassaway, Burnsville
WSHC Shepherdstown Shepherd College
WSHE Martinsburg ?
WSLW White S. Spr. White Sulphur Springs/Lewisburg
WSPZ Spencer ?
WSSN Weston ?
WSTD Webster Springs ?
WSTG Princeton ?
WSWP Beckley Southern West Virginia public television
WSWW Charleston ?
WTAP Parkersburg With total area programming, according to longtime CE Charles Helmick
WTBZ Grafton Taylor-Barbour Broadcasting Inc.
WTCR Huntington Town and country radio (see note)
WTCS Fairmont town and country station
WTGR Charleston tiger radio
WTGR Point Pleasant for the earlier WTGR Charleston
WTIO Charleston corresponds to co-owned WTIP
WTIP Charleston tops in programs
WTKZ Huntington talk radio
WTNJ Mount Hope Tony (Gonzales) and Nick Joe (Rahall), owners
WTRF Wheeling two radio frequencies (AM and FM began in 1947)
WTUS Mannington Today's U. S. Country
WVAF Charleston West Virginia FM
WVAH Charleston West Virginia - almost heaven, or Al Holtz, founder
WVAQ Morgantown West Virginia
WVAR Richwood West Virginia Richwood
WVBC Bethany Voice of Bethany College
WVBD Fayetteville West Virginia's Big Daddy, i.e, Robert C. Byrd
WVCM Miami ?
WVEP Martinsburg West Virginia public broadcasting
WVFX Clarksburg West Virginia's Fox station
WVGV Lewisburg West Virginia Greenbrier Valley
WVHF Clarksburg Flora Vespoint, Bob Hilber, and Jim Fawcett, owners of Harrison Corp.
WVHT Elkins ?
WVHU Huntington West Virginia Huntington
WVJO Mullens West Virginia Joe
WVKM Matewan West Virginia, Kentucky music
WVKV Hurricane West Virginia Kanawha Valley
WVLY Moundsville The Valley
WVMA Oak Hill West Virginia music authority
WVMR Frost West Virginia mountain radio
WVNP Wheeling West Virginia northern panhandle
WVNS Charleston West Virginia ninety-six (FM)
WVNS Lewisburg West Virginia news station
WVOW Logan Voice of West Virginia
WVPB Beckley West Virginia public broadcasting
WVPG Parkersburg West Virginia public broadcasting
WVPM Morgantown West Virginia public broadcasting
WVPN Charleston West Virginia public broadcasting
WVPW Buckhannon West Virginia public broadcasting
WVQM Huntington West Virginia (or voice of) quality music
WVRC Spencer Voice of Roane County
WVRP Ripley Ripley
WVRW Glenville ?
WVSR Charleston West Virginia super radio
WVSX Lewisburg West Virginia Super Fox
WVTS Charleston West Virginia's Talk Station
WVUC Barrackville West Virginia's Ultimate Country
WVVA Bluefield West Virginia and Virginia
WVVV Williamstown ?
WVVW Grafton ?
WVVW St. Marys ?
WVWC Buckhannon West Virginia Wesleyan College
WVWV Huntington West Virginia Educational Broadcasting Authority
WWBB Madison Boone Broadcasting
WWHY Huntington ?
WWNR Beckley Nick Rahall, father of original owners
WWVA Wheeling Wheeling, West Virginia
WWVU Morgantown West Virginia University
WWYO Pineville Wyoming county
WXAF Charleston ?
WXCC Williamson coal country (see note)
WXEE Welch named for WIXY, Cleveland
WXIL Parkersburg Christ is Lord (?)
WXIT Charleston exciting
WXKX Parkersburg for "kicks"
WXKX Clarksburg ?
WXVA Charlestown West Virginia
WXVK Hurricane ?
WYKM Rupert Your kind of music (?)
WYMJ New Martinsville Magic (?)
WYQC Charleston ?
WYVN Martinsburg ?
WZAC Madison for the father of station owner Wayne Price, whose name is Zachary
WZAO Moundsville ?
WZJO Dunbar JO = jammin' oldies
WZKM Montgomery Kanawha Montgomery
WZMM Wheeling ?
WZNW Bethlehem The Zone, Wheeling
WZST Westover Star 100.9
WZTQ Hurricane ?
WZWA Clarksburg ?
WZZW Milton ?

ADDITIONAL NOTES

WADC, WIBZ. Mark, who viewed this web page, writes, "The orgin of the wadc/wibz call letters are not totally accurate. i was in on a late night brain storming session with calvin dailey when he bought the stations, along with ray reich, fm manager and don west who was a salesman. wibz's selection had nothing to do with wbz - everyone thought they just sounded good. same with wadc. it was bought up at that meeting that there had been a station in akron ohio earlier with the same calls which used the slogan "where advertising dollars count". don west thought that was really neat. if there every was a cennection to another station or call letters - it was wadc in akron not wabc." However, Andy Blatt writes, "I know WADC was programmed to sound like WABC. They used the same jingle company, same format, same one of ABC's news formats and stressed the same approach."

WCAW. This page previously indicated that the call stood for "country and western." However, Mack Miles writes:

My dad, Paul Miles, ran WCAW and Capitol Broadcasting Corp. from 1959 until the late 80's or so. WCAW didn't program country music until around 1966, so it was just luck that CAW stood for County And Western. I believe that the name came from a tie-in with their on-air mascot "Maty" the crow or "Maty 680". Maty the crow would say "caw, caw!" They even had a crow living in the studio for years and my dad used it as the logo. Our cars all had WCAW and the Maty painted on them for years.

In 2004, Bob Moore wrote:

Bill Stone told me he was formerly an original partner in Capitol Broadcasting, owner of WCAW and it originally stood for 'Charleston And West virginia'. The bird of course, which came later only added to the station's stature.

In a 2009 email, Chambers Williams wrote:

I learned all about radio hanging out at WCAW in Kanawha City as a teenager, and spent many hours there on the weekend doing work for them for free just to learn the business. They told me then that the call letters were a combination of Charleston and West Virginia, and that someone realized later on that the "CAW" was the sound a crow makes, so they created "Matey the Crow" as the station mascot. They got a real crow -- and it sat in a cage in a corner of the control room. Ed Rabel was there for a while when I was hanging out at WCAW.

WCFC. A 1947 newspaper article stated: “The letters were selected first for ease in pronunciation, understandibility, and in being remembered. Then several slogans were selected which fit the call letters WCFC. West Virginia's Cleanest and Finest City or, for use during the summer months, West Virginia's Coolest and Finest City, which the Beckley Newspapers Broadcasting Service believes fits and describes Beckley; and WCFC, the World's Cleanest and Finest Coal, describing the famous Smokeless Coal for which the Beckley area is famous. Other call letter combinations were also considered. One of them was WVSC for West Virginia Smokeless Coal but this combination was not available. The firm also sought a combination of letters which would fit the two newspapers which it publishes but nothing satisfactory could be found due to the fact that there are two newspapers to be considered rather than one.”

WCIR. The original owner, Thomas Waldron, told me that WCIR could be interpreted as either "Christianity in radio" or "Christ is risen." The station originally carried Christian programming in the midddays and all day on Sundays. --jm

WCKV. This page previously stated that WCKV stood for Ceredo-Kenova Video. However, Vernon Stanfill, general manager and chief engineer of WFGH writes, "Here is a correction. There "was" a business Ceredo-Kenova Video, BUT there were not an over the air entity. WCKV Stood for Wayne Ceredo-Kenova Vinson, which were three of the high schools in the northern end of Wayne County. The station was to be affiliated with WFGH at Fort Gay and was actually given a Construction Permit with the WCKV call but never got on the air because there was no money for equipment at the time."

WCOZ. Chris Johnson, former General Manager of WKLC Rock 105 and WCOZ 1300AM writes, "The WCOZ call letter was "parked" on 1300 am by the current owner Lynn Martin. Originally it stood for "COZY" and used in conjunction with an easy listening format that Lynn had on one of his stations in the Lexington, KY market. When he changed the format on the Lexington station to adult contemporary he moved the WCOZ call to the St. Albans station. At the time, it was programmed with as a 100% simulcast of WKLC/ROCK 105 (105.1 FM, St. Albans). This was done so that the company could keep the WCOZ call letters and not have to release them (he felt they still had some value in the general radio market place). However, in doing so, he gave up the 1300 am call letters of WKAZ which had been on the station since Bristol Broadcasting gave them up for WQBE. In the long run the WCOZ letters are of no value because the easy listening formats that would have used a "Cozy" theme are long gone. The WKAZ call letter was immediately taken by West Virginia Radio Corp. and put on their "oldies" formatted 107.3 in Charleston. The WKAZ calls, because of their heritage in the market, proved in the long run, to be much more valuable."

WGYA. WGYA was the original call for WVOW Logan when it had a construction permit in 1950. I do not know whether the call was ever used.

WHAW. The original owner was the Lewis Service Corporation, whose pricipal was Harold A. McWhorter. Harold established WPAR Parkersburg in 1935, and WHAW Weston in 1948. Harold wanted his inititals as the call letters, WHAM, but Stromberg Carlson had those on 1180 in Rochester. He chose WHAW, telling some they stood for "Harold and (his wife) Wilda," others that he had just turned over the "M" in McWhorter.

WHLX. Chris Carmichael wrote in 2011: “The WHLX call letters were for WHLL. WHLX's owner Neal Fondas was the sales manager for WHLL. When he launched WHLX, he had wanted the WHLL calls, but they were unavailable. I worked for Neal from 1991 until the station was sold to Osborne Communications in 1996. Mr. Fondas passed away, from lung cancer, the same day that Osborne took over.”

WITB. A reader of ths page writes, "My roommate at Salem College West Virginia was our school's radio station manager. The radio station was located in the basement of the administration building. W In The Basement"

WKMM. This page previously stated that WKMM stood for "Kingwood Mountain Music." However, in May 2004 Mike Graham wrote, "I can tell you, as the first official advertising sales person at WKMM, back in the days before the the soundproofing was done in the studio in the original building (and, also being the brother-in-law of the original owners son), WKMM does not stand for Kingwood Mountain Music. During a discussion in the early days with Sandy Garlitz (the original owner), I had asked if the call letters had any special meaning and she told me no, the original call letters she wanted were WMAX (her husband's first name). WKMM were actually at the time the only call letters available that she liked. At that point, my mother (the station's first news director), Sandy, Greg Bolyard (the station's original morning DJ) and I spent about an hour coming up with phrases created from the call letters. The favorite at the time was We're Kingwood's Music Maker."

WMOD. John M. Taylor, whose father Jake Taylor who owned WMOD around the early to mid 1950's, writes, "The call letters were aired under the phrase 'Worth More On Daytime radio,' to emphasize both the call letters, and the radio station's marketing for Daytime Radio Advertising." I suspect this is a slogan later adopted to match the call letters, and that the call letters perhaps could have been an abbreviation for "Moundsville" or "modern."

WRNR. In 2007, Albert McGilvray, the WRNR news director, wrote, “When WRNR-AM went on the air 31 years ago, the call letters stood for We (are) Rock 'n Roll. With the advent of FM, AM740 began a gradual shift to the news/talk format. We are not related in any way to WRNR-FM in Annapolis, MD.”

WTCR. Judy Jennings of WTCR writes, "WTCR call letters actually stood for Town and Country Radio.. originated by the owner Connie B. Gay, an orginal founding member of the Country Music Association and the Country Music Hall of Fame of which he was inducted and has a bronze memorial plaque. Connie was instrmental in bringing the "pop" cross-over sound to country radio and he wanted to convey the music was for the town and the country audience. In the more recent decade, we began to use Tri-states Country Radio, in some instances.

WXCC. Harold Cremeans, former engineer and builder of the station, writes that WXCC was one of ten calls that became available early in 1977. The calls were retired Navy ship calls from the 1940s. He writes, "Not realizing what a jewel he had, owner Robert 'Bob' Harvit always regretted not registering the slogan 'Coal Country.' It was too expensive!"


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