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WBRW Logo.jpg
City of license Blacksburg, Virginia
Broadcast area New River Valley
Branding "105.3 The Bear"
Slogan "The New River Valley's Rock Station"
Frequency 105.3 MHz
First air date 1964
Format Active Rock
Power 12,000 Watts
HAAT 479 Meters
Class C3
Facility ID 37° 11' 12" N 80° 28' 54" W
Transmitter coordinates 37°11′12.0″N 80°28′54.0″W / 37.18667°N 80.48167°W / 37.18667; -80.48167
Callsign meaning W BeaR W
Former callsigns WVMJ - 06/01/1995 WBRW - 03/24/1999
Affiliations Virginia Tech Sports Network
Owner Cumulus Media
(Cumulus Licensing, LLC)
Sister stations WFNR, WNMX, WPSK-FM, WRAD, WWBU
Website WBRW Online

WBRW is an Active Rock formatted broadcast radio station licensed to Blacksburg, Virginia, serving the New River Valley. WBRW is owned and operated by Cumulus Media.



WBRW was formerly Rock 105 WVVV on frequency 104.9 FM. In the mid 1990s, WVVV changed call letters to WVMJ, and adopted a Hot AC music format. In 1997, WVMJ switched frequencies with a Roanoke radio station on 105.3 FM in a move that improved the signal coverage for both stations. In March 1998, owners Travis Broadcasting changed the format to oldies, and enjoyed instant ratings success. But under the new ownership of New River Valley Radio Partners, WVMJ switched to a classic rock format in the spring of 1999 with new call letters, name, and slogan: WBRW The Bear The Valley's Classic Rock Station. For the entire weekend prior to the format change, the station aired a heartbeat with a periodic sound of a bear growling. This naturally led to numerous calls to the station inquiring about what they were hearing, and rather than telling the callers about the stunt, they recorded the callers and aired their questions in-between the bear growl sound effect. They continued to air callers all weekend but revealed no answers until Monday morning when the new format was officially launched.

In 2002, the station abandoned the 100% classic rock format and began integrating newer and harder rock from the 1990s and 2000s. By 2004, The Bear had completely moved away from classic rock in favor of an active rock format. Also in 2004, The Bear switched to syndicated morning talk show The Bob & Tom Show after a 4-year run with the Lex & Terry Show. In October 2006, WBRW dropped Bob & Tom in favor of Shut Up and Rock! Mornings —an all-music morning show with no DJ host.

Iowa native Valerie Hiatt was brought on-board in October 2005 to anchor the 10am-3pm mid-day shift, but left in April 2008 to return to her home state. AJ, formerly of the Bear Nighttime, took over mid-days for Hiatt and every weekday at Noon she features 1980s and early 1990s rock during the Retro Lunch.


The Bear has been programmed by Joe "Big" Johnson since April 2005 and is the host of the mid-day time slot, 10am-3pm. He joined the bear staff after stints in Mississippi and Florida. Johnson broadcasts live every Wednesday night from local Blacksburg comedy club Attitudes Bar & Café.

WBRW is the flagship station for Virginia Tech Sports, including all broadcasts of Hokies Football and Men's Basketball, and weekly Monday night call-in show the Hokie Hotline.


Hard Drive

The new era of the Bear Nighttime began on August 31, 2009, locally DJ'd Bear Nighttime ended with the addition of syndicated show Harddrive.

External links


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