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City of license Petersburg, Virginia
Broadcast area Metro Petersburg
Branding "News/Talk 1240 WTPS"
Slogan "The People's Station"
Frequency 1240 kHz
First air date 1945
Format News/Talk
Power 1,000 Watts day and night
Class C
Facility ID 60474
Transmitter coordinates 37°14′1.0″N 77°22′36.0″W / 37.23361°N 77.37667°W / 37.23361; -77.37667
Callsign meaning W The People's Station
Owner Radio One
(Radio One Licenses, LLC)
Sister stations WCDX, WKJM, WKJS, WPZZ

WTPS is a News/Talk formatted broadcast radio station licensed to Petersburg, Virginia, serving Metro Petersburg. WTPS is owned and operated by Radio One.


Early years

This station originally signed on the air in 1945 as WPID, owned and operated by The Petersburg Progress Index Newspaper, but the paper sold WPID and the station callsign was later changed to WSSV ("Wonderful South Side Virginia"). WSSV broadcast a mostly R&B based format through the late 1940s, 1950s and early & mid 1960s. Max Robinson, who later became a national news anchor for ABC News, was a DJ at WSSV in the 1950s, calling himself "Max The Player".

The WSSV Top 40 Years

By 1967, the station was owned by Roger Bean, who signed on WSSV-FM at 99.3, and simulcasted with the AM station. In 1968 the station decided to switch to Top 40 seeing the success of rival (and weaker signaled) WHAP-AM in nearby Hopewell.

In 1970 the stations were purchased by Eure Communications, owned by William L. Eure Jr. The station continued into the 1970s with the Top 40 format, but in 1973 the simulcast was broken off and WSSV-FM became Easy Listening WPLZ.

In the mid 70s, the WSSV branded itself "Musicradio 1240 WSSV". About this time the station added extra loud processing and sped up its records to make it sound more "energetic" than its competitors. WSSV's Top 40 format was very successful for the station through the end of the 1970s. At one point in the mid seventies it was said that WSSV sounded better than their larger Richmond Top 40 counterparts, WRVQ, and WLEE-AM. Joe Van Ryper, Mike Ogburn, Nick O'Neal, Russ Brown, David Lee Micheals, Cosmic Jon Barry, Frank Kelly, Norman "Bob-A-Lou" Freedlander (later a popular DJ and Program Director at WRVQ), Dennis O'Mara, J. Mark Raleigh, and Nick Allen were some of the more popular DJs on WSSV during the seventies. Terry Young, currently on XM Radio's "60s at 6" channel, did a short stint at WSSV in late 1977.

WSSV for many years was the home to Petersburg High School and Virginia State football and basketball and also later carried The Washington Redskins and The Baltimore Orioles. In the late 70s the station also carried the syndicated "American Top 40" radio program.

By 1980, with the advent of more FM competition WSSV's ratings and revenues had fallen off. In 1981 the station switched to a Soft Adult Contemporary Format. In mid 1983, the station remained Adult Contemporary but added more uptempo titles. Personalities on WSSV during the early eighties included Art Goodwin, Rick Sands, John Elliott, Randy Gill, Jim Longworth, Chip Cook, Steve Leonard, Gordon Finney, Dave Adkins, and Don Sebera.

1985, Targeting a new audience

By mid 1985, the station was totally overwhelmed by FM competition and ratings & advertisers had sank to rock bottom . The determination was made in July 1985 that the station simply wasn't serving the local community anymore and needed to start targeting the station directly towards the large African America community in Petersburg. Over the 1985 Labor Day weekend, WSSV's "pop" era ended, and the station quietly changed to an African American "block" format, running black adult comtemporary music in the morning and afternoon and gospel in the middays and at night, and simulcasting successful FM sister station WPLZ "Magic 99" in overnights (WPLZ-FM had switched to the Urban format in 1981). (It's interesting to note that Mike Ogburn, the only survivor from WSSV's 1970s Top 40 era, remained in afternoon drive after the format change, but he later moved behind the scenes as Commercial Traffic Director).

The Gospel Years

In 1986, the stations were sold to Paco-John Broadcasting, headed by Philadelphia attorney Glenn Mahone for 6.5 million dollars. Mahone changed WSSV's call letters to WPLZ-AM, and later to WGCV. By the end of 1986, the station was a 24 hour black gospel station.

In the early 90s, Paco-John filed for bankruptcy and the stations were turned over to a receiver named Charles Giddens. The station were later purchased by Sinclair-Telecable, owners of Urban WCDX, which, after switching to Urban in 1987, had surpassed WPLZ in the ratings. WGCV was placed in an LMA (Local Management Arrangement) with Hoffman Communications, which owned religious stations WDYL-FM & WGGM-AM in nearby Chester, and the station continued with its black gospel format from Hoffman's Chester Studios. In the late 90s, WPLZ & WGCV were sold to Radio One, who retained the LMA with Hoffman for the AM station, operating seven days a week from 6a to 12 midnight.

The Radio One Era

In 2006, Radio One terminated the LMA with Hoffman (who moved the Gospel format to their co-owned AM station WGGM) and WGCV became WROU, "The People's Station", and an affiliate of Radio One's new "Syndication One" network and became a News/Talk station targeting African American audiences during the day, and playing Classic R&B at nights and on weekends. The station returned to broadcasting 24 hours a day.

In 2007, the station changed call letters once again to WTPS to better reflect its "The People's Station" branding. This occurred when Radio One sold a station with the WTPS call letters in Florida to a new owner who changed them.

Current programs on WTPS include Warren Ballentine, The Rev. Al Sharpton, and The 2 Live Stews, along with classic R&B on nights & weekends.

External links



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