History of WTNJ, Mount Hope

Several photographs are here.

The following article was supplied by the station around 1988.

In 1975, Nick Joe Rahall, II, filed for an FM station to be licensed to Mount Hope, Beckley and Oak Hill. Rahall was employed as account executive at WWNR, Beckley, at that time owned and in the process of being sold by his family. There were two other applicants for that FCC allocation.

In 1976 Rahall was urged to file for a run as a candidate for U.S. Congress. He wasn’t expected to win, since he had to run against an 18 year incumbent, Ken Hechler. However, he did win the Democratic nomination and subsequently was elected Congressman from the fourth Congressional District of West Virginia.

At this time, A.P. “Tony” Gonzalez became his partner, forming West Virginia Broadcasting, Inc., with operation of the station falling to Gonzalez as general manager.

In 1979, West Virginia Broadcasting, Inc. was selected over the other two applicants for the license and received a construction permit from the FCC dated that same year.

On June 1, 1980 WTNJ stereo 106 went on the air. With 50,000 watts coverage, WTNJ serves Fayette, Raleigh, Nicholas, Wyoming, Summers and Greenbrier counties. From day one, WTNJ has adhered to a modern country music format.

WTNJ is strong on contests and promotions, having given away thousands of dollars and four automobiles since going on the air in 1980.

During the daytime hours from 6 A.M. to 6 P.M., WTNJ broadcasts live and from 6 P.M. to 6 A.M. as well as weekends, features country programming from the Transtar Satellite Network. WTNJ carries West Virginia University Sports, broadcasting both football and basketball and carrying all games. With a full time Sports Director, Fred Persinger, the station carries all of the (Beckley) Woodrow Wilson High School football and basketball games plus various games of area schools.

WTNJ originated the first state-wide network for the West Virginia State High School Basketball Tournament, organizing and managing its broadcasts from 1981 until 1984. Fred Persinger and Jack Fleming were the play-by-play sportscasters and are now a part of the Metronews Sports crew for the tournament games. The news department consists of Metronews for statewide coverage; ABC affiliate for national and international news; as well as a local news department. Paul Harvey is carried four times daily from the ABC Network.

Tony Gonzalez is a Past President of the West Virginia Broadcasters Association. His wife, Betsy, active in the station’s operation, is a past member of the WVBA Board of Directors.

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