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WLVR logo.jpg
City of license Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
Broadcast area Lehigh Valley
Branding WLVR-FM
Slogan "Your #1 Preset"
Frequency 91.3 MHz
First air date 1948
Format Freeform
Language English
ERP 13 Watts
HAAT 212 meters
Class C
Facility ID 36984
Transmitter coordinates 40°36′4.00″N 75°21′34.00″W / 40.60111°N 75.35944°W / 40.60111; -75.35944
Callsign meaning W Lehigh Valley Radio
Owner Lehigh University
Website Official Site

WLVR-FM is a freeform college radio station owned by Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, in the Lehigh Valley region of Pennsylvania in the United States. WLVR broadcasts locally at 91.3 MHz FM, and its programming is also available through online streaming on the station's website.



Scheduling for WLVR revolves around academic calendar of Lehigh University. While the University is in session students generally populate the programming. When Lehigh University is out of session, typically the summer months and around winter holidays, members of the community are responsible for WLVR's programming.


The first readily available piece of information on the station's history begins with a piece entitled "Minutes of the meeting of the Promotion Staff of the Brown and White" dated December 3, 1946.


Campus radio station

Robert Lewison, of the promotion staff, "entertained a motion on behalf of the Radio Committee that "Brown and White construct and operate a campus radio station." The motion passed unanimously. The motion was submitted to the Board of Publications who studied the feasibility taking into consideration proposed budgets, sample programming schedules, a proposed constitution, staff positions and names of candidates to fill the positions, and plans for building the station. The committee wrote up a report on the proposed station. Their projected cost for the set up would be $3,233.00. If the University supplied the labor, the cost would be reduced to about $1,600. The money to start the station was proposed to come from the funds of the Brown and White, the Board of Publications, and, perhaps, Arcadia.


In programming, the staff met and discussed the problem of records. "We found that several students on campus had very large collections and could also get records from collections of friends who had equally large collections. We were also promised the use of the records Tone musical society has on hand. This gives the station the use of approximately 10,000 records." Questionnaires were sent out to Lehigh Students in the form of "Frequency Data Charts." The students were asked to tune their radios "once a night to the 540 kc. to 700 kc. range for the next two weeks" indicating whether the frequency was clear, had static, was receiving code, had low (weak) reception of some station, or high (strong) reception of a station. 640 kHz was the eventual choice. The first organizational meeting of the station was held in Drown Hall in the offices of the Brown and White on December 17, 1946.


By April 1, 1948, "Report on the status of WLRN; The Brown and White Broadcasting System" was published to explain the "delay in opening of operations and the broadcasting of programs to the university campus living groups."

"The campus station has had many problems from the beginning," the report said. "The first of these was and still is money. The station has had to take steps to save every penny possible, in many cases at a considerable loss in time. The estimate of a commercial firm to install a studio and transmitting equipment was about $4,000. and as you can tell by the money allotted so far, we are doing the job for much less. When the idea of a campus station was first brought before the Board of Publications some estimates were made as to the possible minimum costs of equipment and studios necessary for a campus station. Since that time it has been necessary to increase the number of loans beyond the bare minimum figures due to increase in the prices of radio parts and because certain of the cheaper parts are not available and finally because of a change in the design of our set up...WLRN is almost ready to go up on the air. However, to put the station on the air properly there are no funds left in our account."

"Make It Do"

Thus begins the true tradition of the Lehigh Radio Network, "Make It Do." It is quite possible the network would not exist today if it were not for the electrical engineers who saved the network untold amounts of money and made tech station as sophisticated as it is.


Equipment was first tested on March 19 and 20, 1948. "This test broadcast was very successful and the program could be heard all over campus. The special events staff presented Vice President Smiley, Coach Sheridan and some of the team members to the student body along with a complete description of the meet. Of course this was and has not been publicized as it was only a test broadcast."


The history of WLRN in tech 1950's is so sparse that perhaps we're to believe the 50's was a do-nothing decade. Some time in the 60's, WLRN gave birth to WLR. "WLR was organized to create and perfect a format that could be successfully employed on the FM station contemplated. WLR, then, if essential to the WLRN-FM of the future."


During the second half of the 1960s, the programming on WLRN at 640 kHz was Top 40. WLVR at 690 kHz featured mainly "middle of the road" music, but had flexibility to include classical, folk, and "underground rock." The quality of programming on both stations was quite high, owing in part to the efforts of people who eventually had considerable success in radio. These include Rick Starr (KDKA and other Westinghouse stations), Doug Welldon (WFIL and various station clusters for Clear Channel and Nassau Broadcasting Patners), Jim Cameron (NBC Radio News), and Art Chimes (Voice of America). Today, WLVR plays everything from Blues to Hispanic Rhythmic.


The change in format, and the eventuality of FM, spawned a station with a completely different personality and outlet to the community. WLVR-FM officially went on the air following the FCC FM go-ahead at 11:30am on May 8, 1973. In this year, WLVR went FM, WLRN went cable, and WLVR went stereo cable.

WLVR has made countless leaps and bounds since the 70's and now stands as one of the best radio stations in the Lehigh Valley. WLVR stands out as one of the very few college radio stations that is run predominantly by its students. Run by a dedicated student and community staff, WLVR continues to grow both in size and popularity.


WLVR is has won the Lehigh Valley Music Award for best College/Community Radio Station three consecutive years running. Popular DJ A.J. Fritz has also won the Lehigh Valley Music Award for Best College/Community Radio Personality six consecutive years running.

External links


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