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The Latest FCC Call Sign Changes Herald the Return of WRVU (LP) and the End of WIP

As I perused the list of the most recent call sign changes issued by the FCC, I found some interesting tidbits. The call sign for the former Vanderbilt University FM radio station, WRVU, is making a terrestrial radio comeback of sorts (WRVU.org is still used by an online station at Vanderbilt, but the now sold FM station is known as WFCL), as it will be used by a new low power FM (LPFM) station in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Iglesia Del Rey applied for the call sign WRVU-LP and it became effective for the station as of December 6, 2014.

I was sad to see that another station has given up its legacy three letter AM call letters. WIP 610 AM in Philadelphia is now known as WTEL AM, after its new owners had the call letters changed (this became effective as of December 1, 2014) after a deal with previous owner CBS. The owner, WCHZ License LLC, is now opting for call letters once used by another Philadelphia-area station.

The disappointing thing for me about WIP is that the AM station was one of the first commercial radio station in Philadelphia, launched by Gimbel Brothers in 1922. WIP’s history also intersects with the history of radio of Haverford College (which I’m quite interested in). Students at Haverford College established WABQ AM in 1923 and ultimately sold the station to the Keystone Broadcasting Group (WFAN) in 1927. By 1928 WIP and WFAN were sharing 610 AM (apparently following frequency moves made by the Federal Radio Commission) and had formed a partnership by 1931 in order to coordinate programming (see this fascinating dissertation about the origins of department store radio for more details) and by 1932 the call sign WIP was used.

So, farewell to WIP AM in Philadelphia and welcome back WRVU (albeit in Michigan).


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2 Responses to The Latest FCC Call Sign Changes Herald the Return of WRVU (LP) and the End of WIP

  1. Jim ODonnell January 17, 2015 at 8:56 pm #

    CBS retains the WIP calls on 94.1 in Philadelphia. They should be able to put them on another AM if they want to as they did with WJZ and WJZ-FM in Baltimore.

  2. Jennifer Waits January 19, 2015 at 1:56 pm #

    Good to know. Thanks, Jim!

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