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WAVA-FM 2015.png
CityArlington, Virginia
Broadcast areaMetro Washington, D.C.
Branding105.1 WAVA
SloganLife Changes Here
Frequency105.1 FM MHz (HD Radio)
First air dateAugust 1, 1948 (as WARL-FM at 105.5)
FormatFM/HD1: Christian talk and teaching
HD2: WAVA (AM) simulcast
HD3: WWRC simulcast
Power33,000 watts (Analog)
3,300 watts (Digital)
HAAT184 meters (604 ft)
Facility ID4644
Transmitter coordinates38°53′30.0″N 77°7′55.0″W / 38.891667°N 77.131944°W / 38.891667; -77.131944
Call sign meaningWashington Arlington VirginiA
Former call signsWARL-FM (1948–1960)
WAVA-FM (1960–1978)
WAVA (1978–2005)[1][2]
Former frequencies105.5 MHz (1948–1949)
OwnerSalem Media Group
(Salem Communications Holding Corporation)
Sister stationsWAVA, WRCW, WWRC
WebcastWAVA-FM Webstream
WebsiteWAVA-FM Online

WAVA-FM (105.1 MHz) is a commercial radio station licensed to Arlington, Virginia, and serving the Washington metro area.[3] The station is owned and operated by the Salem Media Group, and airs a Christian talk and teaching radio format. Religious leaders pay WAVA-FM for their time on the air and then seek donations to support their ministries. Hosts include Chuck Swindoll, Jim Daly, Charles Stanley, John MacArthur, Rick Warren, David Jeremiah, Tony Evans [4], David Anderson [5] .

Studios and offices are on North Lynn Street in Arlington.[6] The transmitter is off 19th Road NW, also in Arlington.[7] WAVA-FM broadcasts in the HD Radio format. The HD2 and HD3 subchannels rebroadcast two co-owned AM stations, WAVA AM 780 and WWRC AM 570.[8] WAVA (AM) also carries a Christian talk and teaching format, but with different shows. WWRC airs conservative talk.



In 1946, Northern Virginia Broadcasters, Inc., which owned AM 780 WARL (now WAVA), received a Federal Communications Commission construction permit to put an FM radio station on the air. On August 1, 1948, the station first signed on as WARL-FM.[9] It was originally located at 105.5 MHz on the FM dial and was powered at only 1,000 watts, a fraction of its current output. WARL-FM mostly simulcast its sister station. Because the AM station was a daytimer, WARL-FM was able to continue airing the stations' programming after sunset, even though few radio listeners owned FM receivers in those days.

In the 1950, WARL-FM switched to its current frequency at 105.1 MHz. That was coupled with a boost in power to 20,000 watts. In 1960, WARL-AM-FM were acquired by the United States Transdynamics Corporation.[10] The new owners switched the call signs to WAVA and WAVA-FM.


In the 1970s, WAVA-AM-FM decided to compete with AM 1500 WTOP (now WFED) as one of Washington's two all-news radio stations. Even though 780 WAVA was still a daytime-only station, the all-news format was heard on 105.1 WAVA-FM around the clock; as such, that made WAVA-FM the only all-news station on the FM dial in those days, when many home and car radios could only receive AM signals.

Meanwhile, WTOP was owned by the Washington Post, was a CBS Radio Network affiliate and had a 50,000 watt signal; because of this, WAVA-AM-FM were at a competitive disadvantage as an all-news outlet. (Ironically, WTOP, still an all-news station to this day, moved to the FM dial in 2006.)

Rock era[edit]

In 1977, the two stations were sold; AM 780 went to the American Bible Society, airing a Christian radio format as WABS, while FM 105.1 kept the WAVA call letters and was sold to the WAVA Limited Partnership, airing a soft rock format.[11] After three years of low ratings, in 1980, WAVA-FM switched its format to AOR, branded as Rockradio 105 WAVA. However, the new format also failed to gain many listeners. Doubleday Broadcasting bought the station in 1982 and planned a format flip.[12]

Top 40[edit]

On October 28, 1983, WAVA-FM switched to a CHR/Top 40 format, the first FM station to play all the hits in the D.C. market. Branded as All Hit 105 WAVA, HitRadio 105 WAVA', and Musicpower 105 WAVA, it was one of D.C.'s top-rated FM stations.

In 1986, WAVA was acquired by Emmis Broadcasting. In 1992, due to financial problems after the purchase of the Seattle Mariners, Emmis decided to sell many of its stations at lower-than-market-value prices.

Salem Media ownership[edit]

WAVA-FM was sold to the Salem Media Group for $20 million.[13] On February 12, 1992, at midnight, after playing a montage of station memories, WAVA went off the air, with "Goodbye" by Night Ranger as the final song. The station returned to the air the next day, stunting with Contemporary Christian music. A few days later, it adopted a Christian talk and teaching format.

The Washington D.C. radio market was left with no Top 40 station until 1996, when Z104 was launched.[14]


  1. ^ "FCC History Card for WAVA".
  2. ^ "Call Sign History". Federal Communications Commission, audio division. Retrieved July 6, 2015.
  3. ^ "WAVA Facility Record". Federal Communications Commission, audio division. Retrieved July 6, 2015.
  4. ^ "Welcome to WAVA 105.1 FM - Washington, DC | 105.1 FM WAVA - Washington D.C., VA". wava.com. Retrieved Sep 16, 2019.
  5. ^ "Welcome to WAVA 105.1 FM - Washington, DC | 105.1 FM WAVA - Washington D.C., VA". wava.com. Retrieved Sep 16, 2019.
  6. ^ "Contact Us". 105.1 FM WAVA. Jan 24, 2017. Retrieved Sep 16, 2019.
  7. ^ "WAVA-FM 105.1 MHz - Arlington, VA". radio-locator.com. Retrieved Sep 16, 2019.
  8. ^ "Arbitron Station Information Profiles". Nielsen Audio/Nielsen Holdings. Retrieved July 6, 2015.
  9. ^ Broadcasting Yearbook 1950 page 306
  10. ^ Broadcasting Yearbook 1960 page A-242
  11. ^ Broadcasting Yearbook 1978 page C-225
  12. ^ Broadcasting Yearbook 1984 page B-49
  13. ^ Broadcasting & Cable Yearbook 1993 page B-67
  14. ^ "The Final Hour of CHR on WAVA". Feb 12, 1992. Retrieved Sep 16, 2019.

External links[edit]