|Broadcast area||Atlanta metropolitan area|
|Branding||97.1 The River|
|Slogan||Atlanta's Classic Hits Station|
|Frequency||97.1 MHz (HD Radio)|
|Translator(s)||W228CA (93.5 MHz Suwanee - rebroadcasts HD2)|
W249CK (97.7 MHz Duluth - rebroadcasts HD2)
|First air date||1972 (as WFOX)|
|Format||FM/HD1: Classic rock|
HD-2: Alternative rock "The Other Side of the River"
|HAAT||483 m (1,585 ft)|
|Transmitter coordinates||34.125667 -83.858778|
|Call sign meaning||W S RiVer (refers to Chattahoochee River)|
|Former call signs||WFOX (1972-2006)|
|Affiliations||Atlanta Gladiators Radio Network|
|Owner||Cox Media Group |
(Cox Radio, Inc.)
|Sister stations||WALR-FM, WSB, WSB-FM, WSBB-FM, WSB-TV|
WSRV (97.1 MHz "97.1 The River") is a commercial FM radio station in Atlanta, Georgia. It airs a classic rock radio format and is owned by the Cox Media Group. WSRV's studios and offices are in the Cox Television and Radio Facility on West Peachtree Street near the Brookwood neighborhood of Atlanta.
WSRV has an effective radiated power (ERP) of 100,000 watts, the maximum for non-grandfathered FM stations. It transmits from a tower off Eagle Ranch Road in Braselton, at the northeastern edge of Metro Atlanta. WSRV broadcasts in the HD Radio hybrid format, with its HD2 subchannel carrying an alternative rock format known as "The Other Side of The River."
On November 1, 1965, the station signed on as WWQT. It was the FM counterpart to AM 1580 WLBA Gainesville (now WPGY Ellijay). They were owned by the Hall County Broadcasting Company. WWQT was powered at 100,000 watts but only using a 440 foot tower, so it wasn't heard over much of Metro Atlanta.
In 1972, it was bought by Radio Athens, Inc. The station took the WFOX call sign. It was a Top 40 station, still targeting the Gainesville area of Northeastern Georgia. In 1983, the station was acquired by Shamrock Broadcasting, which had plans to make it a large market station.
Move to metro Atlanta
In 1985, the owners moved WFOX's tower closer to the more lucrative Atlanta media market. The height increased to 1,550 feet. WFOX switched at first to adult contemporary music. In 1989, Shamrock was acquired by Chancellor Media. From January 1989 to January 2003, the station flipped to oldies hits as "Fox 97."
In 2000, Chancellor was bought by Clear Channel Communications, which already owned several Atlanta stations. Clear Channel was forced to sell one of its Atlanta properties by Federal Communications Commission rules limiting how many stations that can be owned by one company. It decided to spin off WFOX.
Cox Radio ownership
Cox Radio acquired the station in the divestiture. But it didn't want to keep the oldies format. On January 31, 2003, the station began stunting by simulcasting several of its sister stations from across the country, including WPYM Miami, WAPE Jacksonville, KCCN Honolulu, KKBQ Houston, KHPT Houston, WBLI Long Island, WHZT Upstate South Carolina, KINE Honolulu and WDYL Richmond).
On February 3, 2003, WFOX switched to an uptempo "Urban AC" format as "97.1 Jamz." At first, the station ran with no DJs. Because co-owned WALR-FM (Kiss 104.1) was so popular in the Atlanta market playing a more traditional Urban AC sound, Cox decided to launch 97.1 Jamz with a mix of '80s/'90s R&B, hip-hop and current songs, targeting primarily 25- to 39-year-olds. The station's main competitors were 103.3 WVEE and 107.9 WHTA, with whom it competed for the coveted 18 to 34 demographic, the same demo that WFOX's rhythmic contemporary sister station WBTS targeted.
On January 1, 2006, the station flipped to "97.1 The River," with a mix of classic hits and classic rock, targeting people ages 25–54. The playlist was familiar and hit-oriented, as most classic hits stations. But the titles leaned to rock songs from the late 1960s, 70s and 80s, with no pop or dance music.
On April 17, 2006, the WFOX call sign was changed to WSRV, with the RV representing "River." The WFOX call letters moved to another Cox Radio station, 95.9 the Fox (formerly WEFX), in Norwalk, Connecticut. The "River" branding is a local reference to the Chattahoochee River.
WSRV moved to a more standard classic rock playlist, even though it still identifies itself on the air as "Classic Hits." It plays a few 1990s titles but no 2000s music. The songs are still familiar but more rock-leaning than most classic hits stations. "Rock Blocks," which feature three songs in a row from the same artist/group, sometimes including deep cuts and live material, are featured during the day and on weekends.
On June 19, 2006, Lexie Kaye became The River's first on-air personality, doing weekdays from 5:30 am to 8:30 a.m. Kaedy Kiely, previously of 96Rock and WZGC during its "Z93" days, became morning host on September 18, 2008. In 2011, afternoon host Dave Clapper was named Program Director. Veteran Atlanta radio personality Steve Craig joined in early 2012 as Music Director and took over the morning show in 2017. Kaedy Kiely moved to afternoons with longtime Atlanta DJ English Nick joining in middays. Debra Green is heard evenings.
In September 2013, WSRV upgraded into an interactive playlist. Listeners can control the music by clicking "like" or "dislike" for the songs. They could record themselves, then send their choice to be played on the air. Whatever song has the most likes when the previous one finishes is the next to play.
WSRV is currently broadcasting digital radio using the HD Radio system, and features adult alternative rock on its HD-2 channel branded as "The Other Side of The River". Steve Craig, formerly of 99X, is featured as the host of "The Other Side...". Both stations stream live via WSRV's website.
WSRV's city of license is Gainesville, Georgia, in Hall County. Its transmitter is in the southern tip of Hall County, just across the line from Braselton. WSRV can be considered a "move-in" station, since it originally concentrated on the Gainesville area. While still licensed to that city, its transmitter moved closer to Atlanta to target the larger Atlanta market.
WSRV's broadcast range covers almost all of Northeast Georgia, even heard in a tiny portion of Upstate South Carolina. Other cities covered include Athens, Cartersville, Roswell and Toccoa. Depending on radio propagation conditions, with a good radio and antenna, the station can be picked up as far away as Knoxville, Tennessee, and at times, Greenville, South Carolina. But listeners may have some trouble picking up the signal in Atlanta suburbs south and west of the city. The station has asked the FCC to downgrade to Class CO while moving its transmitter even closer to Atlanta.
WSRV's HD2 digital subchannel carries "The Other Side of the River," an alternative rock format. It feeds two FM translators: W249CK FM 97.7 in Duluth, powered at 75 watts. WSRV-HD2 also feeds W228CA FM 93.5 Suwanee, powered at 230 watts. The translators are heard mainly in Gwinnett and adjacent northeast metro counties.
WSRV was previously the primary station for W243CE 96.5 FM, a translator in Winder, Georgia. Licensed for just five watts of effective radiated power, it is owned by Davis Broadcasting of Atlanta. It was originally permitted in 2004 and started in 2007 by Radio Assist Ministry, a company that speculatively filed for thousands of translator stations and then rented or resold them for profit.
The station had a construction permit to move to the WSRV/WSBB radio tower, increase to the maximum translator power of 250 watts, and exponentially increase its height from 4 to 392 meters (1,286 ft). This would give it the broadcast range of a Class A station. Following a change in rules by the FCC, W243CE was instead moved all the way to Columbus, Georgia, in the west central part of the state, to give an FM signal to WOKS AM 1340.
On April 16, 2018, WSRV-HD3 began simulcasting on translator W222AF 92.3 FM Marietta with an urban contemporary format, branded as "Power 92.3 Jamz." Cox removed the W222AF programming in December 2018, due to a dispute with the programmer who was leasing the translator from its owner.
- Broadcasting Yearbook 1967 page B-42
- Broadcasting Yearbook 1974 page B-53
- Broadcasting Yearbook 1988 page B-72
- Radio & Records Jan. 6, 1989
- Ruggieri, Melissa (September 13, 2019). "Eddie Money has died at 70". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
- Power 92.3 Debuts in Atlanta (For Now At Least) Radioinsight - April 18, 2018
- 97.1 The River WEbsite
- Query the FCC's FM station database for WSRV
- Radio-Locator information on WSRV
- Query Nielsen Audio's FM station database for WSRV