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City of licenseArlington, Virginia
Broadcast areaWashington, D.C. Metro Area
Branding"WAVA Radio"
Slogan"Life Changing Talk Radio"
Frequency780 kHz
105.1 MHz
First air date1946 - AM
1948 - FM
Format Religious
Power5,000 Watts daytime - AM
33,000 Watts - FM
HAAT184 Meters - FM
ClassD - AM
B - FM
Transmitter Coordinates38°58′35.0″N 77°6′52.0″W / 38.976389°N 77.114444°W / 38.976389; -77.114444 - AM
38°53′30.0″N 77°7′55.0″W / 38.891667°N 77.131944°W / 38.891667; -77.131944 - FM
Callsign meaningArthur V. Arndul
(WAWA call sign was not available, so Arthur W. Arndul settled for WAVA, see Reference)
Could also mean Arlington, VirginiA
Owner Salem Communications
(Salem Media of Virginia, Inc.)
WebcastWAVA Webstream
WebsiteWAVA Online

WAVA and WAVA-FM are Religious formatted broadcast radio stations. Both stations are licensed to Arlington, Virginia and serve the Washington, D.C. Metro Area. Both WAVA and WAVA-FM are owned and operated by Salem Communications.



The station played a role in the history of all-news radio in America. In the mid-1960s, when all-news radio began on XETRA-AM Tijuana, broadcasting to audiences in San Diego and Los Angeles, personnel from that station fanned out to launch similar formats in other cities. One of the first of these was the former WARL Arlington, Va., which dropped a folk music format to become WAVA News (pro. "WAY-vah"). Founded by broadcasting pioneer, Arthur W. Arundel, the station ran network newscasts at the top and bottom of the hour, followed by local wire service reports read by announcers "at the all-news anchor desk," followed by sports, business news and features.

Arundel acquired the WAVA call letters from Randolph-Macon College, Ashland, Virginia, where the letters were being used by the College’s student radio station “Campus Radio.” The WAVA letters at Randolph-Macon College had been created and registered at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in Washington in summer 1957 by Randolph-Macon College student Donald Groves Franklin who had been named program director of Campus Radio’s upcoming second school year staff. The key letters were chosen by Franklin to stand for Ashland, VA, the home town of the College. WAVA Radio operated at Randolph-Macon for a few years until the WAVA call letters were sold, for a small amount of cash and studio equipment, to Arundel who sought call letters to represent Arlington, Va. From Randolph-Macon College at Ashland, the WAVA call letters moved north to Arlington, Virginia in the National Capital Area for Arundel’s new, and now historic, all news radio venture to replace the letters of WARL -- the station Arundel had purchased on Lee Highway at George Mason Drive. WAVA would now represent Arlington, VA.

A large number of U.S. radio network anchors worked first at WAVA, including Carl Kasell, the well-known NPR morning news announcer, who was the program director of WAVA in addition to being a news anchor there. WAVA was also one of the first stations in the country to broadcast live traffic reports from a fixed-wing aircraft. The original dawn-to-dusk AM station eventually simulcast with an FM station, making WAVA the first FM all-news station in the country.

Presidents Johnson and Kennedy reportedly had a radio in the Oval Office permanently tuned to WAVATemplate:Fact. But by the 1970s a second all-news station, WTOP, had overtaken WAVA in the ratings, and when NBC launched its News & Information Service, an all-news radio network, its Washington, D.C., affiliate WRC also outdrew WAVA.

The station was sold in 1977 to Doubleday Broadcasting, laid off the news staff, and became a popular AOR (Album-Oriented Rock) station under the name "Rock Radio 105". Most Doubleday stations employed rock formats. Although it had gain some modest success, it was unable to dethrone the market's AOR leader DC-101.

By 1983, WAVA was at a crossroads as AOR was in a state of flux due to the success of the then-current pop music. In addition, longtime Top 40 outlet WPGC-FM had switched over to Adult Contemporary, leaving format rival WRQX (Q107) as the market's only hit music outlet. Sensing a one-man race, WAVA decided to gradually switch over to CHR beginning that fall, despite telling industry reporters that "they were still Album Rock". On October 28, 1983 at 5 p.m., WAVA finished it's adjustment to CHR and adopted the "All Hit 105" moniker. This move (and the eventually success) caused the other Doubleday AOR stations to later switch to Top 40 as well.

In 1985, Don Geronimo was hired as an afternoon DJ/personality. A few months later another WAVA DJ Mike O'Meara joined Don Geronimo as new hosts of "The Morning zoo" (later renamed the Don and Mike show). Initially they played a moderate amount of music, but by 1989 they were down to only a couple songs per hour. This wildly successful show was syndicated after the pair moved to WJFK-FM in 1992 and dropped music from the show altogether. "Truckin" Tom Kent, who now hosts a nationally syndicated Oldies radio show out of Cleveland, also did a stint at WAVA in the 80s.

In 1986, WAVA, along with other Doubleday Radio stations, was sold to Emmis. WAVA would remain a mainstream CHR radio station under the "Power 105" moniker from 1987–1988 and "105 WAVA" from 1989 to 1992. Ratings were good, but the format was perceived as hard to sell, so advertising was only mediocre.Template:Fact

In late 1991, Emmis decided to sell several stations partly in order to fund future acquisitions; though in reality, Emmis was losing money due to its (then) ownership of the (then) fledgling Seattle Mariners baseball team.Template:Fact WFAN 660 in New York City was sold to Infinity (now CBS Radio). WAVA was sold to Salem Broadcasting early in 1992. On February 12, 1992, WAVA's sale would be final and would switch from the CHR format to Contemporary Christian Music with plans to add Christian teaching and talk gradually. This change was due to the agenda of its new owners and not a reflection of the station's performance. The station was otherwise still getting good Arbitron ratings at the time. As would be expected this change was shocking to the station's loyal listeners, many of whom had grown up in the 1980s listening to Top 40 WAVA.

The AM station was originally WAVA, in Arlington, Virginia. On this station, in the 1940s, the phrase "country music" was first used to describe the style of playing. In the 1960s, WAVA was one of the first all-news stations. WAVA was sold in the 1980s and began Christian sermon and music programming. Its callsign changed to WABS, which stood for "American Bible Society." It was bought by Salem Communications in the early 2000s and shares programming with WAVA-FM. In 2005 WABS changed their call letters back to WAVA.

Current Format

By the end of 1992, WAVA was playing music about half the day and running Christian features the other half. In 1993, music was dropped altogether on weekdays and WAVA began running Christian Call in talk shows in the morning and afternoon drive times. Middays, evenings, and overnights were used to sell time to various Christian broadcasters. Saturday and Sunday afternoons feature Gospel music.


"Washington Market Profile" by Rolleye Bornstein:Billboard Magazine-July 7, 1984

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