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  State population (2000 census)
  Population receiving a FM public radio signal
  (from both in and out-of-state stations)
  Population in uncovered areas
  Stations in State FM stations
    FM translators
    AM stations
  1989 PTFP Study: Population receiving a
    FM public radio signal
85 %  

Broadcast Coverage Maps

FM Stations - Detail         FM Stations - Printable

AM Stations - Detail         AM Stations - Printable

Public Radio Stations in State

Main stations in bold followed by associated repeaters and translators
Translators are shown at the end of the narrative
Facilities in italics operated by out‑of‑state broadcasters
Location in ( ) - actual location of transmitting facilities
N - New facility since 1989 study     # - Station now meets study criteria

FM Stations
Charlottesville WVST
Harrisonburg WCVE
Charlottesville WVTF
   WMLU1 #
Farmville    WVTU
Lexington    WVTW N
Hot Springs    WVTR N
Monterey    WISE3 N
Norfolk WETA4
Washington DC
(Arlington, VA)
AM Stations
WWVT  1260

1 Licensed to Longwood University, Farmville, VA. Operated by WMRA, Harrisonburg, VA.
2 Operated by WVMR(AM), Frost, WV.  
3 Licensed to the University of Virginia’s College at Wise. Operated by WVTF, Roanoke, VA.
4 Operated by WETA, Washington, D --

General Comments

Public radio in Virginia is provided by universities and non-profit community licensees.  Three of the public radio stations serving the state of VirginiaWCVE, WETA and WHRO are licensed to organizations which also operate public television facilities.  Two stations in the western part of the stateWMRA and WVTFoperate regional networks.  Several of the state’s largest population centers, including the Norfolk-Virginia Beach metro area and the city of Charlottesville, are served by multiple stations.  The densely populated areas of Northern Virginia are part of the greater Washington, DC, metropolitan area and, as such, are served by several public radio signals licensed to Washington, DC.

FM Service

The 1989 PTFP study reported six stations and three translators providing public radio service in Virginia.  Currently, 18 stations and 14 translators provide public radio services throughout the state.  Most of the new construction since the 1989 study has been initiated by WMRA Harrisonburg and WVTF Roanoke. WMRA built new stations WMRY Charlottesville/Crozet and WMRL Lexington.  It also built a new translator in Winchester at the north end of the Shenandoah Valley. WMRA entered into an agreement to have its programming rebroadcast on WMLU Farmville.  WVTF established new facilities, WVTW in Charlottesville and WVTR in Marion. WVTF also reached an agreement to provide programming for WISE and its seven translators.

Three stations on the current list were in operation in 1989 but did not meet criteria for inclusion in the previous studyWMLU Farmville, WHRV Norfolk and WNSB Norfolk.  These stations now meet this study’s criteria and are indicated by the # symbol on the station list.

WMRA and WVTF improved public radio coverage to areas of the Shenandoah Valley, Blue Ridge Mountains and Appalachian Plateau in western and southwestern Virginia that were previously uncovered or received spotty public radio coverage.

Two new stations in Virginia, WCHG Hot Springs and WVLS Monterey, are operated by WVMR(AM) of Frost, West Virginia.  These stations are engineered to operate within the National Radio Quiet Zone (NRQZ) a 13,000 square mile region straddling the West Virginia-Virginia border. The NRQZ protects the radio environment around the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Green Bank. 

Four translators on the Appalachian Plateau in the far southwest corner of the state are operated by WMMT, Whitesburg, Kentucky.  

The percentage of Virginia residents receiving a public radio signal has increased from 85% in 1989 to 91.5% currently.  The number of unserved people has decreased from 782,000 in 1989 to 599,953.

AM Service

WVTF operates WWVT(AM) 1260 kHz in Christiansburg, Virginia, 30 miles southwest of WVTF. The station broadcasts during the daytime only at 2.8 kW and covers the southern portions of the Blue Ridge and Appalachian Mountains. The signal of WVMR(AM) Dunmore, West Virginia covers portions of Highland and Bath counties in Virginia.     

Service from Adjacent States

Seven counties in northern Virginia are included in the Washington, DC, metropolitan area Alexandria, Arlington, Fairfax, Fauquier, Loudon, Prince William and Stafford counties. WETA operating in Arlington, Virginia, covers these areas, which are also covered by WAMU and WPFW.  These three stations are licensed in Washington, DC, but provide extensive coverage to these Virginia counties.  In addition to the two FM stations in Virginia operated by WVMR(AM) Dunmore, West Virginia, there are also several translators in the state operated by public broadcasters in Kentucky.  Residents in border areas of Virginia also receive public radio signals from Maryland, North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, and West Virginia.

Unserved Areas

Region A

Public radio does not reach over 160,000 Virginia residents living in the state's fast growing counties near Washington, DC.  Unserved populations include portions of Loudoun (12,250), Fauquier (22,902), Culpepper (32,550), Spotsylvania (62,770) and Stafford (30,146) counties.  The eastern ridge of the Shenandoah Valley limits public radio signals west of Washington, DC.  The purchase of WJTM Frederick, Maryland, by public radio station WYPR Baltimore will extend public radio coverage across the Potomac River to Virginia residents in western Loudoun County.  

Region B  

The Northern Neck region of Virginia is an area southeast of Washington, DC, and bordered by the Potomac River, Rappahannock River and Chesapeake Bay. This region includes three counties -- Richmond (8,809), Middlesex (9,932) and Lancaster (11,567) -- which are the only counties in Virginia without public radio coverage.  These counties lie between the service contours of public radio stations in Washington, DC, and Richmond, Virginia.  If Westmoreland (15,237) County is included, over 45,000 unserved residents live in the Northern Neck of the state.  Across the Potomac in the state of Maryland, about 75,000 residents of St. Mary’s and Calvert counties are without any public radio service.  

Region C

Intermittent public radio coverage, identified in 1989, remains an issue for Virginians living southwest of Richmond and continuing all the way to the state’s border with North Carolina. This region contains more than 15,000 people without public radio service living in the counties of Appomattox (4,698), Buckingham (2,051), Charlotte (4,672) and Price Edward (4,398).  Richmond’s channel 6 television station may compromise signal performance in this region.  

Region D

Public radio coverage is spotty in the south-central region of the state along the border with North Carolina.  Lunenburg County has almost no coverage at all for its 13,000 residents.  Altogether, this area lacks public radio service for about 70,000 residents in Patrick (9,889), Mecklenburg (12,730), Halifax (14,372), Nottoway (9,789), Pittsylvania (10,187) and Lunenburg (12,918) counties.

Region E

The south/southwest area of the state along the Kentucky/West Virginia borders has more than 61,000 people with no public radio service in Buchanan (15,575), Tazewell (36,472), and Russell (9,588) counties.  Lee County in the far southwest corner of the state has 15,000 residents without public radio.

Region F

Hampton Roads Educational Telecommunications Association (HRETA) is the licensee of WHRO and WHRV and has attempted to improve coverage to southeast Virginia from Hampton Roads north to the Virginia counties on the eastern and western shores of Chesapeake Bay.  This area has more than 35,000 people without public radio service living in the counties of Accomack (9,321), Mathews (7,598), Gloucester (8,496) and Northampton (10,350).  WHRO's current operating power is limited by 20% from full Class B power due to an unresolved mutually exclusive application with a broadcaster in North Carolina.  If frequencies become available in the future, HRETA could use its network of ITFS towers in these under-served regions as a way of reducing the cost of installing new transmitting facilities. 

Translators listed by operating station
Facilities in italics operated by out‑of‑state broadcasters

WMMT Whitesburg, KY W209AA N
W201AJ  N
Big Stone Gap W212BP1 N
W201AI N
Coeburn W211BE1 N
W216BO N
Hansonville W208AP N
W202AL N
Norton W219CJ1 N
WMRA Harrisonburg, VA W209AG N
W233AA N
Winchester W217BF1 N
WVTF Roanoke, VA W215BJ1   N
St. Paul
W211BF1 N
Big Stone Gap

1 Licensed to The University of Virginia’s College at Wise, Wise, VA. Operated by WVTF, Roanoke, VA.

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