WRVS-FM 89.9 celebrates its 29th anniversary this month. The university's radio
station began broadcasting in 1986 with a general manager and four staff-- a public
affairs director, a news/sports director, a traffic director/gospel announcer. As
was commonly the case among Historically Black Colleges/Universities, the staff previously
earned experience at another HBCU-Shaw University. Student volunteers also assisted
the staff with duties that ranged from administrative tasks to on-air talent. They
began broadcasting on March 18, 1986 with the popular 1979 selection, "Ain't No Stoppin'
Us Now," which topped the R&B singles chart and the Billboard Top 100.
Today, the station employs five staff and is overseen by Radio and TV Services director,
Melba Brown Smith. WRVs staff say the station has taken great pride in providing listeners
in northeastern North Carolina and lower Virginia with chart topping music and information
relevant to the Albemarle. That's a critical service given the station's location
between Norfolk, Virginia, #43 and Greenville, N.C., # 85, on Nielsen's Top 100 media
markets list. Randy Jones, program director, host of the afternoon, weekday show,
"Neo-Soul Cafe" and the "Viking Sports Network," said the age-old challenge of capturing
and keeping an audience is still a radio station's top priority.
"Radio is viable here in northeast North Carolina. Our diverse programming and affiliation
with National Public Radio (NPR) has increased our audience. With the support of our
listeners, we will continue providing quality programming that stations in the nearest
cities don't provide," Jones said.
Smith said she is proud of the station's evolving role in the community.
"WRVS continues to support the mission and vision of Elizabeth City State University
as well as meet the needs of area residents," Smith said. "Whether its NPR news, music
shows, Chamber Chat, or high school basketball broadcasts, you will find something
here you value."
"WRVS also makes it a priority to engage the community with events such as the annual
Back-to-School Bash & Food Drive. During that event in August, area businesses and
area civic organizations help us provide approximately 350 youths with school supplies
and free haircuts for the boys."
Tune in from 6 a.m., to 7 p.m., Wednesday, March 18th for your chance to win prizes
in recognition of WRVS's 29th anniversary!