WRR
Wrrlogo.png
Dallas, Texas
United States
Broadcast areaDallas/Fort Worth Metroplex
Frequency101.1 MHz (HD Radio)
BrandingClassical 101 WRR
Programming
Language(s)English
FormatClassical music
Ownership
OwnerCity of Dallas
History
First air date
October 14, 1949[1]
Former call signs
WRR-FM (1949–1978)
Call sign meaning
Inherited from former 1310 AM sister station WRR
Technical information
Licensing authority
FCC
Facility ID11451
ClassC
ERP98,000 watts
(100,000 with beam tilt)[2]
HAAT508 meters (1,667 ft)
Transmitter coordinates
32°35′19″N 96°58′05″W / 32.58861°N 96.96806°W / 32.58861; -96.96806Coordinates: 32°35′19″N 96°58′05″W / 32.58861°N 96.96806°W / 32.58861; -96.96806
Links
Public license information
Profile
LMS
WebcastListen Live
Websitewrr101.com

WRR (101.1 FM) is a municipally-owned radio station in Dallas, Texas. It airs a classical music radio format. The station's studios are located in the Fair Park complex in South Dallas. The transmitter site is on West Belt Line Road in Cedar Hill.[3]

WRR operates with a maximum effective radiated power (ERP) of 100,000 watts. It also transmits an HD Radio signal.[4] Despite its ownership by the City of Dallas, WRR is a commercial station and sells advertising to support its broadcasts. Over the years, private broadcasters in the Dallas-Fort Worth radio market have made numerous but unsuccessful calls for privatizing the station.

History

Early years

WRR-FM began experimental broadcasts in 1948. It officially signed on the air on October 14, 1949.[5] It began operations as a sister station to WRR (1310 AM, now KTCK), which was first licensed for municipal and police transmissions on August 5, 1921.[6] It received an AM band broadcasting station license on March 13, 1922.[7]

In its first few decades, WRR-FM mostly simulcasted its AM counterpart, and the stations were network affiliates of the Mutual Broadcasting System and carried its schedule of comedies, dramas, news and sports during the "Golden Age of Radio." WRR-AM-FM later switched to the NBC Radio Network.

Classical music

As network programming shifted to television, WRR-FM began airing classical music full time, while the AM station concentrated on news, talk and information. The City of Dallas sold WRR to Bonneville International in 1978, who switched the call sign to KAAM. Meanwhile, the Dallas government kept WRR-FM, which continued its classical format.[8]

Also in the 1970s, the station increased its power to 100,000 watts, from its previous output of 68,000 watts.[9]

Dallas City Council

As part of its municipal ownership, WRR began broadcasting Dallas City Council meetings in 1978. They usually took place every other Wednesday at 9 a.m. In later years, however, Portable People Meter (PPM) evidence showed that the meetings, which interrupted the classical format, caused a significant drop in the station's ratings. The station averages more than 11,000 listeners on weekdays, according to Nielsen Audio; that number dropped to 1,900 during council meetings.[10] In 2018, station management was able to convince the city council to end the broadcasts. The meetings are still available on cable television in Dallas, as well as online.

In July 2021, the Dallas city government began seeking applications for a new management structure for WRR. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, advertising revenue dropped; prior to the pandemic, however, the City of Dallas Office of Arts and Culture issued a press release saying the station has been losing money for eight years.[11] The statement said the city government believes steps are needed "to ensure it remains a City-owned classical music format radio station." In recent years, most classical music stations in large U.S. cities have switched from commercial operations to listener-supported models, including WQXR-FM in New York City, KDFC in San Francisco, WCRB in Boston and KING-FM in Seattle. WRR remains one of the few classical stations to earn its revenue from advertisers.

Unusual call letters

While most radio stations in Texas have four-letter call signs beginning with a K, this station has three call letters beginning with a W. Many stations going on the air in the early 1920s received three-letter call signs. The AM station with which WRR-FM had once been partnered dates back to 1921. WRR on the AM side was the first licensed radio station west of the Mississippi and second in the country.

With the introduction of land-based U.S. radio station licensing in late 1912, it had been the practice to assign call signs starting with "K" in the west and "W" in the east.[12] (Ship-based stations were just the opposite.) The original boundary line was located along the Texas-New Mexico border, and it wasn't until the shift in early 1923 to the Mississippi River that new stations going on the air in Texas received K instead of W call signs. However, existing stations were allowed to keep their non-conforming call letters, which included such stations as WRR, WBAP in Fort Worth and WOAI in San Antonio. When WRR put the FM station on the air in 1949, the FCC allowed it to use the same call sign, plus the "-FM" suffix.

After the AM station was sold and its call letters changed to KAAM, WRR-FM dropped the no longer required "-FM" suffix from its call sign, effective May 15, 1978.[1]

Notable personalities

The station was the starting point of John Peel's radio career. Peel, who later became a British disc jockey, notably covered the arraignment hearing of Lee Harvey Oswald shortly before Oswald was shot and killed.

Transmitting tower

The WRR (FM) lattice radio tower was located in the Fair Park complex. The tower was visible across Dallas and in the Fair Park vicinity. The antenna on top of the tower was removed in 2003. The tower was used as a cell tower for the last few years and the tower was eventually dismantled in December 2015. The current transmitter is located at the Cedar Hill Antenna Farm in Cedar Hill.

References

  1. ^ a b "FCC History Cards for WRR (FCC.gov)".
  2. ^ FM Query Results: WRR (FCC.gov)
  3. ^ Radio-Locator.com/WRR-FM
  4. ^ "FMpower - Find ERP for an FM Station Class (FCC.gov)". 17 December 2015. Retrieved November 15, 2018.
  5. ^ Broadcasting Yearbook, 1951 edition, page 296.
  6. ^ "New Stations: Commercial Land Stations", Radio Service Bulletin, September 1, 1921. Limited Commercial license with the randomly assigned call letters WRR was issued to "City of Dallas (Police and Fire Signal Dept.)", which authorized transmissions on the wavelengths of 400, 450 and 500 meters (750, 667 and 600 kHz.)
  7. ^ WRR March 13, 1922 license Limited Commercial license, serial #213, issued to the City of Dallas on March 13, 1922 for a 3 month period for broadcasting on 360 and 485 meters.
  8. ^ Broadcasting Yearbook, 1979 edition, page C-213.
  9. ^ Broadcasting Yearbook, 1980 edition, page C-221.
  10. ^ "WRR Dropping City Council Broadcasts", November 19, 2018, (InsideRadio.com). Retrieved 24-11-2018]
  11. ^ DallasCulture.org "WRR Statement"
  12. ^ "K/W Call Letters in the United States" by Thomas H. White.