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City of license Middletown, New York
Broadcast area Newburgh-Middletown, New York
Slogan The New Rock Alternative
Frequency 92.7 MHz
First air date 1966
Format Modern Rock
ERP 6,000 watts
HAAT 82 meters
Class A
Callsign meaning W Rock ReVolution (old slogan)
Former callsigns WALL-FM (1966-79)
WKGL (1979-88)
WKOJ (1988-95)
Owner Cumulus Media

WRRV is a modern rock radio station licensed to Middletown, New York and serving the lower Hudson Valley and Catskills of New York state plus nearby areas in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The station is owned by Cumulus Media and broadcasts at 6 kilowatts ERP from a tower on the northwest edge of Middletown.

WRRV's programming is a simulcast on 96.9 WRRB Arlington, New York which serves the Mid-Hudson Valley and vicinity. Though on paper WRRV is seen as the primary station, in reality it is a two-frequency station. To an extent, WRRB is the dominant frequency based on total audience and sales (and the fact that, since 2000, the station has been run out of the longtime studios of sister WPDH on Pendell Road in Poughkeepsie).

History to 1995

92.7 signed on the air in 1966 as WALL-FM, sister to WALL and originally ran easy listening, then simulcast the popular top 40 format of the AM side. WALL top 40 alumni include Howard Hoffman (now behind the scenes at KABC, most notable as WABC's last music jock), Dave Charity, Larry Berger (both future of WPLJ), and future game show announcer Randy West in his first on-air job and Jimmy Howes

Around 1979, the WALL stations were sold to a group headed by New York City disc jockey Bruce Morrow ("Cousin Brucie"). The Middletown, NY Armory became “One Broadcast Plaza,” where Robert F.X. Sillerman and Morrow headquartered the Sillerman-Morrow Group, which purchased, operated and then sold radio and television stations around the country at a handsome profit. With Morrow making the programming decisions, 92.7 changed format to an adult contemporary/oldies hybrid as WKGL "92 Karat Gold". When the Morrow-led group left radio ownership in 1985 and sold WALL/WKGL to Bell Broadcasting, "92 Karat Gold" was replaced by "92rock7", a Top 40/Rock hybrid which leaned heavily on new rock and energetic air personalities around the clock. "92rock7" was well ahead of a late 1980s "Rock 40" radio industry trend and developed a cult following. Regardless of this following, Bell Broadcasting fell into financial difficulties from their Sillerman-financed mortgage and sold WKGL and WALL in 1988 to Orange & Rockland Utilities, the locally based gas and electric provider for much of the station's coverage area and today a unit of Con Edison.

Orange & Rockland,eliminated the on air personalities at the station, in turn giving them a reason switch the station's format. By 1989, WKGL evolved into "The Orange" (with the new WKOJ calls) with a mainstream rock approach. It never really clicked with the audience. WKOJ featured a rock format without any hard rock or outrageous personalities. DJs were mostly limited to reading liner cards and did not talk over any music, production was sparse and the audience skewed toward women, not the traditional male AOR listener. By 1993, ratings had slipped, and WKOJ fell far behind rival WPDH - which prompted more changes.

Orange & Rockland had relied heavily on an outside consultant from the beginning of their venture into broadcasting, as station General Managers reported to management in a non-regulated natural gas division. Faced with several underperforming properties, in mid 1993 the utility hired a successful and experienced broadcaster to oversee its radio properties in New York, New Jersey, Maine and Illinois. With new management in place in 1994, WKOJ had updated its play list, secured the local rights to Woodstock '94, jettisoned most pre-1975 titles, added Joe Kelly as the station's voice, built a new morning team and became "Today's Best Rock." The station’s new approach yielded an immediate ratings rebound and a strong showing in the 18-34 demographic. However, O&R was anxious to leave radio ownership amid a management scandal at the parent company. Ownership deregulation brought lucrative offers to their doorstep. O&R sold all of their radio holdings in 1995. Rather than compete with WKOJ, WPDH owner Rob Dyson's Crystal Radio Group bought WALL/WKOJ and positioned the FM station to take audience from K-104 and simultaneously protect WPDH from an active rock competitor. On April 3, 1995 at 10:00 a.m., WKOJ's format gave way to "The Rock Revolution" of WRRV; Boris was the Rock Revolution's first DJ. His former co-host "Jen" recently died of sarcoma in June of 2009.

Evolutions of WRRV's format

At the outset, WRRV's format actually included more classic rock than the station had featured in WKOJ's final year. "The Rock Revolution" was an unusual blend of new and classic rock, both heavy metal and new alternative rock. The station gave listeners conflicting signals, featuring Ozzy Osbourne in produced imaging pieces while playing Green Day and Blues Traveler in heavy rotation. In late 1995, “Music All Morning with Boris” took over the morning drive slot. By 1996, the station had dropped "The Rock Revolution" for "Pure Rock Alternative," focused exclusively on new alternative rock and the station took off. In June 1997, Crystal bought the 96.9 frequency, which had simulcast WDST into Poughkeepsie, and began a simulcast of WRRV.

In February 1999, WRRV made a quiet but sudden shift to a Modern AC-heavy approach; this move was the opposite of the leaning of other stations in the format in a harder direction akin to active rock. At the time, the move seemed curious, but many of the stations that moved in the harder direction ended up changing their format entirely. In time, the station evolved back to a more mainstream alternative sound. In comparison to the format as a whole, WRRV still leans slightly towards some modern pop. Since 1996, following an uneven first year, WRRV's ratings have been successful, regardless of approach, and it is among the higher rated of modern rock stations in the US. The station has been highly successful from a business perspective over that time as well. The station has withstood brief challenges from 96.1 The X in 1996 and from active rock-formatted 92.9 Rock from 2002 through 2004.

As with the other Crystal stations, WRRV and WRRB were sold to Aurora Communications in October 2000 which, in turn, was bought out a year later by current owner Cumulus Media. WRRV is notable in being only one of two stations (WKNY in Kingston the other) from the Aurora purchase to face no major changes by Cumulus.

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