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WMXB
Wmxb-fm.png
City of license Richmond, Virginia
Broadcast area Richmond, Virginia
Petersburg, Virginia
Branding "Mix 103-7"
Slogan "The Best Mix of the 80s, 90s and Today!"
Frequency 103.7 MHz
First air date 1961
Format Hot Adult Contemporary
ERP 20,000 watts
HAAT 256 meters
Class B
Facility ID 37230
Transmitter coordinates 37°30′31.0″N 77°34′37.0″W / 37.50861°N 77.57694°W / 37.50861; -77.57694
Callsign meaning W MiX B
Owner Cox Radio, Inc.
Sister stations WKHK, WKLR, WDYL
Webcast WMXB Webstream
Website WMXB Online

WMXB is a Hot Adult Contemporary formatted broadcast radio station licensed to Richmond, Virginia, serving the Richmond/Petersburg area. WMXB is owned and operated by Cox Radio, Inc.

Contents

History (1961-2007)

The station first came on the air in 1961 as a classical music station WFMV (with call letters which stood for Fine Music Virginia). One of its first announcers was Dick Hemby who was still in high school at the time. He would later become one of the well known personalities in the Richmond market. The station acquired a large classical music library which became one of its assets. It operated from an old refrigeration plant, which turned out to be a good thing due to the buildings heavy insulation against heat also working for sound.

The station was later sold to a group of Fidelity Bankers Life Insurance Company, which worked out a Local Management Arrangement with brothers J. Sargeant Reynolds and Major Reynolds who were on the Fidelity board and already owned local station WGOE. WFMV was then co-located with WGOE in their Willow Lawn studios in Henrico County and continued their classical music format. The station was later sold to Ben Thomas, of Greencastle, Pennsylvania, who moved the station into two very "used" trailers at the transmitter site in Bon Air, Virginia.

In 1969 the station was sold to EZ Communications, a company founded by Art Kellar that pioneered "easy-listening" radio in major markets including WEZR (FM) (Manassas, Virginia) in Washington, DC. EZ Communications changed the call sign to WEZS. After a brief skirmish and with loyal WFMV listeners and assistance from the new owners in moving the classical format to WRFK (FM), a non-profit station, the easy listening format was very successful in Richmond as it had been in the Washington, DC metro market. Richmond television news anchor Sabrina Squire started her career at WEZS as an overnight DJ, and renowned talk show host Bob Lassiter spent six months there in the mid 1970s.

In 1970, the station started the first local progressive rock show on FM in Richmond on Friday and Saturday nights between Midnight and 3 AM called "Veronica Lake" (inspired by a Hollywood actress of the 1940s) which was hosted by local movie critic Jerry Williams. The show would start out with Williams saying "Quack Quack..Veronica Lake". The show garnered a cult audience, but only stayed on the station until early 1971 when the station decided to take its "Easy listening" format to 24 hours a day.

Other EZ Communications stations which used the easy listening format to find profitability in emerging FM markets were WEZC (FM) 104.7 MHz in Charlotte, North Carolina, and WEZB (FM) 97.1 MHz in New Orleans, Louisiana. In the years following, EZ Communications grew from a five station chain to the Federal Communications Commission FCC maximum limit of the era, with stations in FM markets from Miami, Florida to Seattle, Washington. In 1982,as many stations around the country were facing the influx of younger baby boomers coming into the target age group of the Easy listening format, WEZS ditched the old "Easy" instrumental format and switched to a soft adult contemporary format as EZ104, playing music by such artists as The Carpenters, Kenny Rogers, and Barry Manilow and using the a "Four in a Row" format,and eventually promoting themselves as "Four in a Row, Four-ever EZ104 FM."

By 1985, EZ Communications was #12 in the Top 25 Radio Groups in the U.S. measured by numbers of listeners as measured by Arbitron (Spring 1995). Very popular WTVR-FM morning personality Bill Bevins spent 15 years at the station—first in mornings, then afternoons, then back to mornings. Local legend Steve "Mr. Beach" Leonard's popular "Sunday Night Beach Party" ran on the station until 1996. In 1987, EZ sold the station to Ragan Henry Broadcasting of Philadelphia. At that time it changed calls to WMXB and dropped the "Four in a Row" stance and became known as "B103.7, The Best Mix of the 60s, 70s, and 80s".

In 1990, the station was sold to Radio Ventures which moved format intro a more up tempo "Mainstream Adult Contemporary" format, jettisoning the softer tracks like The Carpenters & Manilow for more up-tempo artists like Gloria Estefan, Ace of Base, and Bruce Springsteen. Liberty Broadcasting (in which entertainer Merv Griffin was an investor) took over the station in 1993 and the format became "Hot Adult Contemporary" under veteran programmer Steve Davis, adding more contemporary titles as well as vintage Top 40 hits from the 1980s. WMXB enjoyed a period of consistent ratings success at this time beating legacy CHR Q94/WRVQ in total audience.

In 1991, top-rated WWBT-TV (NBC) news anchor Bill Oglesby joined the station with a popular daily feature called "Where Were You." The concept was to spotlight a day in recent history ("recent" meaning within the station's format) and remember local headlines in news, sports and entertainment. Each edition ran twice a day and finished with a top ten song from that day in the spotlighted year. In 1994, other activities forced Oglesby to relinquish his announcing duties on the show, but he continued to write the show's script and narrations were carried on by Production Director Jym Geraci. "Where Were You" ran on WMXB until 1996.

At the end of 1995, longtime morning personilty Bill Bevins (who had been reassigned to the midday shift to make way for new morning man Mike McCarthy) ended his run at the station to take on Mornings at crosstown WTVR-FM /Lite 98. In 1996 the station was sold to SFX Broadcasting, jettinsoned what was left of the mainstream music, and the station shifted to a more "Modern" adult format with a Modern rock lean that included such artists as No Doubt, Collective Soul and Alanis Morissette. (The new owners also dropped the longtime "Sunday Night Beach Party" as well). The station ownership went thru several corporate mergers, from SFX, to Capstar, and finally AMFM. When AMFM merged with Clear Channel, WMXB, along with several other stations owned by both AMFM and Clear Channel, was spun off to Cox Radio who adjusted the station back to a mainstream Hot A/C format. In March 2003, in an attempt to dethrone market leader Soft Adult Contemporary WTVR-FM (Lite 98) the station dumped the hot A/C format and B-103 logo for a soft A/C format that leaned toward eighties, nineties, and current titles and called it "Mix 103.7". Unable to make headway against WTVR-FM, the station since then has gradually added back more uptempo titles.

Today

WMXB has not seen ratings success since becoming Mix 103.7. The station let go morning co-host Linda Thomas, 16-year afternoon drive host Jon Barry, longtime news and public affairs director Leslie Taylor (the last surviving personality from the station's EZ Communications days), transferred longtime middays host Sheri Blanks to sales, and most recently Traffic Reporter Kyla Thomas, who did traffic reporting for the whole Cox Radio Richmond cluster In April 2007, the station re-launched with a similar format to its B-103 days, with many more up-tempo titles.

The current on-air staff consists of Jack Indigo & Jen Towner in the morning, Madison James in middays, Program Director Fisher in afternoon drive, Angie ( from sister station WDYL ) in evenings and Richard Jacobs on the weekends.

Sources

External links

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