Broadcast areaHampton Roads
Frequency95.7 MHz (HD Radio)
Branding95-7 R&B
FormatUrban adult contemporary
SubchannelsHD2: The Bet (Sports gambling)
AffiliationsPremiere Networks
Westwood One
First air date
September 21, 1961; 62 years ago (1961-09-21)
Former call signs
WTAR-FM (1961–77)
WKEZ (1977–82)
WLTY (1981–97)
WVCL (1997–98)
Call sign meaning
former Virginia KooL branding
Technical information[1]
Licensing authority
Facility ID4672
ERP40,000 watts
HAAT268 meters (879 ft)
Transmitter coordinates
36°48′56.0″N 76°28′0.0″W / 36.815556°N 76.466667°W / 36.815556; -76.466667
Public license information
WebcastListen live (via Audacy)
Listen live (via Audacy) (HD2)

WVKL (95.7 FM) – branded 95-7 R&B – is a commercial urban adult contemporary radio station licensed to serve Norfolk, Virginia. Owned by Audacy, Inc.,[2] the station services the Hampton Roads region, and is the market affiliate for The Steve Harvey Morning Show. The WVKL studios are located in Virginia Beach, while the station transmitter resides in nearby Suffolk. In addition to a standard analog transmission, WVKL broadcasts over two HD Radio digital subchannels, and is available online via audacy.com.


WVKL's HD Radio Channels on a SPARC Radio with PSD and EAS.

This station began operations as WTAR-FM on September 21, 1961,[3] owned by Norfolk Newspapers, publisher of The Virginian-Pilot and The Ledger-Star. Norfolk Newspapers also owned Virginia's first radio station, WTAR (790 AM), and the market's CBS network affiliate, WTAR-TV.[4] There had been a previous WTAR-FM on 97.3 MHz that began broadcasting in 1948, but had ceased operations a couple of years later.

From its sign-on, WTAR-FM has had an effective radiated power of 40,000 watts, broadcasting from a tower built for WTAR-TV, giving WTAR-FM a height above average terrain of 879 feet (268 meters), which makes the station overpowered by current standards. On that tower, a Class B station should be limited to around 16,000 watts, but WVKL continues to enjoy a larger coverage area thanks to its grandfathered power.

By the early 1970s, WTAR-FM was separately programmed, airing a beautiful music format; by 1977, WTAR-FM switched its call sign to WKEZ, with the "EZ" in the call letters referring to easy listening music.[5]

As Norfolk Newspapers began acquiring newspapers and broadcast properties in other states, it was renamed Landmark Communications, and later Landmark Media Enterprises. In the 1970s, the FCC began discouraging one company from owning a newspaper, TV station and radio stations, all in the same media market. Landmark was exempt because it owned the properties before the FCC rules went into effect, but decided to sell WTAR-TV to Knight-Ridder in 1981. WKEZ was concurrently moved to a soft adult contemporary format as WLTY, branded The New Y96.[6] The "LT" stood for both "Lite Music" and the slogan "We Listen To You". WLTY shifted to oldies as The New Oldies 96 in May 1989, and then later as Oldies 95.7.[7]

In 1993, Benchmark Communications spent $4.5 million to buy both WLTY and WTAR.[8] In 1997, Benchmark sold WLTY to Heritage Broadcasting, which changed WLTY's call letters to WVCL and re-branded as "Cool 95."[9] The following year, the call sign was modified to WVKL, so instead of "Cool" it became "Kool 95.7."

In February 1998, the Sinclair Broadcast Group acquired WVKL.[10] In December 1999, the station was bought by Entercom.[11] On January 9, 2001, WVKL switched to its current Urban AC format.[12] Entercom has guided WVKL to becoming one of the top stations in the Norfolk-Virginia Beach-Newport News radio market.

On February 23, 2022, WVKL added The Bet to its HD3 subchannel.[13]


  1. ^ "Facility Technical Data for WVKL". Licensing and Management System. Federal Communications Commission.
  2. ^ "WVKL Facility Record". Federal Communications Commission, audio division.
  3. ^ Broadcasting Yearbook 1963 page B-192
  4. ^ "WTAR-TV Marks Its First Year" (PDF). Broadcasting. April 30, 1951. p. 62. Retrieved 26 March 2018.
  5. ^ Broadcasting Yearbook 1978 page C-229
  6. ^ Broadcasting Yearbook 1982 page C-250
  7. ^ http://www.americanradiohistory.com/Archive-BC-YB/1990/B-Radio-NE-Terr-BC-YB-1990.pdf[dead link]
  8. ^ Broadcasting & Cable Yearbook 1995 page B-431
  9. ^ Broadcasting & Cable Yearbook 1998 page D-461
  10. ^ Broadcasting & Cable Yearbook 2000 page D-472
  11. ^ Broadcasting & Cable Yearbook 2002-2003 page D-474
  12. ^ available here
  13. ^ "Audacy Adds The Bet In Eight More Markets". RadioInsight. Retrieved 2022-02-23.