WVXU HISTORY


The 1950s

1957 - ROTC Radio Club begins closed circuit broadcasting to Xavier University campus.

Jay Adrick tells the history of WVXU's beginning

May 16, 1959 - Closed-circuit campus station WCXU introduces and dedicates Albers Hall studio.

Jay Adrick tells about the licensing of WVXU


The 1960s

1964 - WCXU moves to Alter Hall

1969 - Xavier University applies to the FCC for a Construction Permit to begin broadcasting an FM signal at 10 Watts.


The 1970s

August 5, 1970 - WVXU (Voice of Xavier University) begins broadcasting with 10 watts of power

October 1, 1970 - FCC officially licenses WVXU

Jay Adrick talks about the official birthday of WVXU

Jay Adrick talks about the WVXU call letters

Larry Holt tells about his start at the station

Tom Stephens tells about his start at the station

1974 - FCC grants WVXU permission to broadcast at 65 watts, allowing a greater reach into the Cincinnati community.

1974 - Charley Carey's The Story Of Jazz, a weekly Dixieland show, moves to WVXU after one year on WLQA-FM. Carey, also a member of the Xavier University public relations staff, hosted the show up through Saturday, Aug. 20, the second-last day of Xavier's operation. "To the best of my knowledge, 'The Story of Jazz' was the longest-running program on WVXU," Carey told Kiesewetter July 30, 2005.

Jay Adrick talks about the plan to boost the station's signal

Russ Read talks about his Senior Project

Russ Read talks about the long-term benefits of the station

1976 - Pete Rightmire convinces Dr. King to let him play big band and swing music on Saturday afternoons. Rightmire brings his records from home for the premiere of When Swing Was King. The program is still on the air, as Swing with Bill Cartwright (10 p.m. Saturdays).

September 1, 1976 - Dr. James King appointed General Manager.

November 18, 1976 - WVXU's rebuilt transmitter begins broadcasting with 6,390 watts of power, further expanding the station's geographical reach.

1977 - Stereo and 24 hour a day broadcasting begins. Programming includes jazz, big band, and progressive rock music; old time radio shows; and public affairs programming.

1978 - Year-round broadcasting begins. WVXU provided around-the-clock coverage of the blizzard that shut down much of the city.


The 1980s

1981 - WVXU became an NPR affiliate, adding Morning Edition to its daily line-up. This allowed the station to become eligible for funding through the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

1982 - A new transmitter and better antenna allowed WVXU to begin broadcasting at 23,000 watts, allowing for an even wider geographical reach.

1986 - WVXU moves into a building of its own at 1648 Herald Ave., going from 4,000 sq. ft. in Alter Hall to 12,000 sq. ft. in the former U.S. Shoe building.

1988 - WVXU adds its first repeater station in what would become the X-Star Radio Network: WVXC-FM (89.3) in Chillicothe, Ohio, debuts broadcasting on 2,500 watts in the spring.

1988 - WVXU-FM and WXIX-TV combine efforts to produce A Christmas Carol: A Radio Drama at Emery Theater, which aired for years during the holiday season on Channel 19 and WVXU-FM. The televised radio play wins a regional Emmy Award and a Gabriel Award.

September 1, 1989 - WVXU presents Riders in The Sky in a sold-out performance at Emery Theater. After losing their radio partner, Riders in The Sky ask the station to produce their national radio program.


The 1990s

Wanting to bring public radio programming to some smaller communities WVXU began purchasing radio stations to create the X Star Radio Network. At its peak, the network was comprised of the following stations;

91.7 WVXU Cincinnati, OH
96.7 WVXA Rogers City, MI
89.3 WVXC Chillicothe, OH
92.1 WVXH Harrison, MI
97.7 WVXM Maysville, KY
106.3 WVXI Crawfordsville, IN
95.1 WVXG Mount Gilead, OH
89.5 WVXW West Union, OH
89.3 WVXR New Paris, OH
95.3 W237CF Mackinaw City, MI

The radio network was connected via satellite uplink with station equipment, including control boards, uplinks, remote control switchers, satellite dish, transmitters and studios, all built and maintained by WVXU engineer Jay Crawford. 

1990 - Riders in The Sky move their radio production to WVXU. Programs are recorded at the Emery Theater on January 22 and 24, February 12 and 14, March 19 and 21, and April 2 and 4.

1991 - Riders in The Sky record their 100th radio show. The program is carried on 160 public radio stations in U.S., Canada and Australia. WVXU produces Riders Radio Theatre until 1995.

1991 - WVXU releases Cincinnati Radio: The War Years (1941-1945) during fund drive March 15-21. The two-hour double CD or cassette collection included Cincinnati radio performances by Doris Day; Rosemary and Betty Clooney; Andy Williams and the Williams Brothers; newsman Peter Grant, Ruth Lyons and sportscaster Dick Bray. The War Years took two years of research, audio restoration, editing and post production by George Zahn, Mark Magistrelli and Dr. King. The War Years won Gabriel, International Angel and Armstrong awards.   

1991 - WVXU's Herald Avenue building is dedicated as the Lawrence J. Flynn, S.J., Broadcast Center on Aug. 14, 1991.  Fr. Flynn, who died in 1990, was instrumental in the formation of the Xavier communication arts department in 1967, and in the growth and success of WVXU from its start in 1970.

June 6, 1994 - WVXU produced and aired a 12-hour broadcast of D-Day Revisited, which earned the station a Peabody Award among others.

An excerpt from D-Day Revisited

1994 - WVXU brings George Burns to Music Hall for a May 1 concert. Bob Braun was special guest host with Mary Ellen Tanner also on the program.

1997 - Ohio River Flooding prompts increased coverage by the WVXU News Team.

1997 and beyond - WVXU begins to host / present live in-studio concerts featuring musicians that included Over the Rhine, Vic Daniels Quartet, Linda Tillery & Cultural Heritage Choir , Ricky Nye, Secret Garden, Katie Reider, Monk and many more. 


2000 and Beyond!

2001 - In a year filled with local and national tragedy, the WVXU News Team covers the shooting of Timothy Thomas by a Cincinnati Police officer and its aftermath and police reforms; the terrorist attacks on September 11 and the local response; and the start of the war in Afghanistan.  On the evening that the war started, host Lee Hay responded by changing the entire playlist for Audiosyncracies to music whose subject was war.    

2001 WVXU's Ann Thompson goes on assignment to Houston to participate in NASA training and cover UC students as they simulated zero gravity. She rides with them on the "vomit comet" doing 32 parabolas.

2004 - WVXU's Ann Thompson goes on assignment to Japan to cover Ohio's Governor on a trade mission and a drug discovery conference.

August 22, 2005 - WVXU was sold by Xavier University and became part of Cincinnati Public Radio, joining with classical music station WGUC. The format was refined to present a variety of news and information programs focusing on local, national and international events. A fulltime news team was created, and local news and arts magazine programs were introduced. Evenings and weekends feature BBC World News, and music programs showcasing blues, swing and jazz.

2005 - Dr. Jim King is inducted into the Ohio Associated Press Broadcasters Hall of Fame on May 22. He retired from WVXU, and returned to teaching at Xavier, in December 2004, before the sale was announced).  

2005 - WVXU alumni gather in Xavier University's studios on Sunday, Aug. 21, for a final two-hour before Cincinnati Public Radio acquires the signal.

91.7 WVXU signs on as part of Cincinnati Public Radio at Midnight, August 22, 2005

2005-present - WVXU has broadened it's reach by staying current with all technology and social media opportunities. This includes a free mobile app; dynamic presence on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram; easy availability on smart speakers; and an engaging and multi-functional web site.

May 22, 2005 - Dr. Jim King is inducted into the Ohio Associated Press Broadcasters Hall of Fame.

2005 - WVXU alumni gather in Xavier University's studios on Sunday, Aug. 21, for a final two-hour broadcast before Cincinnati Public Radio acquires the signal.

2007 - WVXU launched a digital HD Radio signal and began multicasting two program services. Digital listeners can tune in their favorite news and information programs in crystal clear audio on WVXU HD1, or a AAA mix with emphasis on local music from Radio Artifact on WVXU HD2.

2009 - Cincinnati Public Radio enters into a Licensed Management Agreement with Miami University in Oxford, Ohio to provide simulcast of WVXU on their station, 88.5 WMUB.

2010 - WVXU celebrates its 40th Anniversary with the public art project Play Me I'm Yours.

2010 - WVXU wins award from the Ohio Associated Press for Best Documentary: The Who Concert: 30 Years Later and News Director Maryanne Zeleznik receives the Leo C. Lee award from the Public Radio News Directors Inc. for "lasting commitment to public radio journalism."

2013 - Cincinnati Edition, originally WVXU's weekend news magazine program, becomes a live, daily, call-in talk show. After being hosted by different hosts each day, news reporter Mark Heyne was named permanent host. Upon his departure from radio, local broadcaster/historian Dan Hurley served as interim host until the hiring of local journalist Michael Monks in 2018.

2014 - With the support of the Dater Foundation, WVXU introduces a new civic engagement project called Democracy & Me. Focused on providing high school students with tools and information to become more engaged participants in the democratic process. With the addition of the Democracy & Z podcast, student are given an outlet to share their thoughts and concerns about important topics of the day that impact them.

2017 - WVXU produces its first, original content podcast, Looking Up. Hosted by Dean Regas and Anna Hehman from the Cincinnati Observatory, Looking Up is a space/astronomy podcast featuring special guests, listener questions, and conversation. Some of the higher profile guests have included William Shatner, Ira Flatow, NASA Commander Scott Kelly, and Beakman from "Beakman's World."

2018 - WVXU awarded a Regional Edward R. Murrow Award from RTDNA for Overall Excellence and Newscast. Regional Murrow Awards were also received in 2014 and 2015.  

August 22, 2020 - The 20-year loan for the purchase of WVXU ($15 million plus $1 million for legal and marketing costs) was paid off 5 years early thanks to the support of generous listeners, underwriters, and foundations, plus extraordinary fiscal leadership from staff and board members.

October 1, 2020 - WVXU Celebrates its 50th Anniversary. WVXU continues to broaden its reach by staying current with all technology and opportunities. This includes a free mobile app; dynamic presence on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram; easy availability on smart speakers; and an engaging and multi-functional web site.