Real Oldies 1480 and 850 (AM)
|City of license||WGVU: Kentwood, MI
WGVS: Muskegon, MI
|Broadcast area||WGVU: Grand Rapids, MI
WGVS: Muskegon, MI
|Branding||Real Oldies 1480 / 850 AM|
|Slogan||The Way Oldies are Meant to be Heard|
|Frequency||WGVU: 1480 kHz
WGVS: 850 kHz (also on HD Radio)
|First air date||WGVU: May 22, 1992
2,000 watts (Daytime)
5,000 watts (Nighttime)
WGVS: 1,000 watts
|Facility ID||WGVU: 24785
|Callsign meaning||Grand Valley State University|
|Former callsigns||WGVU: (?-7/20/92)
|Owner||Grand Valley State University|
WGVU-AM is a radio station that serves the Greater Grand Rapids, Michigan area. The main broadcast frequency is 1480 kHz, which is licensed to Kentwood, Michigan, a Grand Rapids suburb. It is simulcast on WGVS-AM 850 kHz, which is licensed to Muskegon. The format is oldies. Both WGVU and WGVS are owned and operated by Grand Valley State University, along with WGVU-FM and WGVS-FM (which feature a talk/jazz format). Additionally the station’s audio simulcasts on the digital subchannels of WGVU/WGVK on channel 35.4/52.4, which features scrolling television schedules along with visual song/artist information for the radio audio.
WGVU began broadcasting on May 22, 1992. The station since its inception has served as a public broadcaster and is a National Public Radio affiliate, with NPR News on the hour (although the station does not air NPR long-form news programming such as Morning Edition and All Things Considered, which were dropped from the schedule with the format change from news/talk to oldies).
AM 1480 was for many years the home of WMAX, which was in the late 1950s and early 1960s the leading Top 40 music station in Grand Rapids. Afterward the station played mostly middle of the road and adult contemporary music (and briefly used the WAFT calls for a time in the late 1960s), although WMAX did briefly return to a Top 40-style presentation from about 1972 to 1975 as “GOOD MAX MUSIC 1480.” The station dropped its music format in January 1976 for a news/talk format. WMAX NEWSRADIO 1480 operated as a locally produced all-news radio format from 1976- 1984, with a staff of 11 reporters. Later the station dropped the news/talk format for Gospel, then Contemporary Christian. It was the radio home for the Detroit Red Wings in Grand Rapids. WMAX changed transmitter locations (adding a directional night-time signal) and was reassigned from Grand Rapids to Kentwood in 1984. The station went silent until Grand Valley returned it to the air in 1992.
Until Grand Valley State University took control of the station (and 95.3 FM in Whitehall, Michigan) in late 1998, AM 850 was the home of Muskegon’s heritage radio station, WKBZ, which dates back to 1926 when it began at 1500 AM in Ludington, Michigan. WKBZ now broadcasts at 1090 AM (formerly WMUS-AM) with a news/talk format.
On August 27, 2009, WGVU AM and WGVS flipped to the oldies format—a first for a public radio station. The format encompasses hits from the mid-1950s through the early 1970s and features many seldom-heard songs not typically played on commercial oldies stations, including some titles by local Michigan artists. Big band and traditional pop favorites of the 1940s and 1950s are also featured on Sunday mornings during the Sunday Morning Standards program. Other weekend programs include the syndicated Cool Bobby B’s Doo Wop Stop and Car Talk.
Victor Lundberg, a newscaster at WMAX 1480, had a Top 10 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1967 with a spoken-word piece titled “An Open Letter To My Teenage Son.” The WMAX calls were originally granted for a station in Ann Arbor in 1922, and now belong to a Catholic-formatted AM station in Bay City, Michigan (in addition, 96.1 FM licensed to Holland, Michigan and serving the Grand Rapids market operates as WMAX-FM, but it has no relationship to 1480 AM).
The WGVU 1480 AM towers are located at Kalamazoo Avenue and M-6.