97.9 WREN is Charlottesville’s New Oldies Station

We are new and developing! We are essentially still in a test and building stage so you may hear us off the air at times. You will also be hearing almost nothing but music with nice little pauses while the CD changer moves to a new track. Now that is basic programming! We will soon be using the expensive digital automation once we get our real, full digital music library in place. We will be playing an Oldies mix of rock and pop music from the mid 1950s to roughly 1980. Things should be normalizing by mid-April.

We are an FCC licensed non-commercial low power FM station (LPFM). That said, we do cover Charlottesville and most of Albemarle County with areas of usable signal into Greene County and Fluvanna County. We share an antenna on the top of the Century Link tower on Rio Road with other independent members of the Virginia Radio Coop. It is the tower which is located adjacent to the Sears store located in the Fashion Square shopping mall. For a bit more info, please see our ‘About‘ page.

If you would like to volunteer for either on-air or behind the scenes work, please fill out the Volunteer Form located under the ‘Volunteer!‘ tab. We’ed love to hear from you whether you have radio experience or not. We would love to see you in the now empty studio picture shown with this post!

While we are non-commercial, we do offer underwriting which is basically a somewhat limited type of advertising. Information about that is available under the ‘Underwriting‘ menu item at the top of the page.

Ben Chambers your 6-10 AM morning host is shown at home in his WREN ‘environment’ in this posts photo!

Thanks for your interest! We welcome you as a listener, volunteer, or sponsor!

31 thoughts on “97.9 WREN is Charlottesville’s New Oldies Station

  • March 27, 2016 at 8:01 pm
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    Thank you. I love oldies!

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    • April 13, 2016 at 3:47 am
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      Thanks for your comment! Much more is to come in the next few weeks! Best Wishes, Jon Hall WREN

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    • April 20, 2016 at 3:30 am
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      Robin, Thanks! It will get a lot better soon! I am going to get our music library tomorrow and our imaging liners will be here too. Gone will be the pauses from our big CD jukebox. The music will be the same and there will be more songs and artists too. Best Wishes, Jon Hall 97.9 The WREN

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  • April 19, 2016 at 7:26 pm
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    I love this station! It is my favorite! keep the oldies coming!

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    • June 10, 2016 at 12:56 am
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      Thanks Robin! Sorry for the delay! Jon

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  • May 7, 2016 at 12:13 pm
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    Very nice mix. And whether you intend to keep it or not, I am finding the longish pauses between songs nostalgic – as if a 45 rpm record changer were cycling to the next disk in the stack. . .

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    • May 8, 2016 at 5:57 am
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      Kirk, Thanks for your note! The pauses will be gone soon. What you are hearing is a slightly more modern version of pauses between 45RPM records. It is pauses between a 200 disc CD player finding the next selection! There are 120 discs in the changer. We have the music for our computer system in but it needs to be catagorized. It will soon sound more like an actual radio station! What you are hearing though is fairly representative of what you will hear sans the pauses! We play to play hits from the 50s-70s with a very few later songs that fit the format. Best Wishes, Jon Hall 97.9 The WREN

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  • June 10, 2016 at 2:32 am
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    Love this station. Please turn up the wattage. Playing songs I love and have not heard
    since childhood.

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    • June 17, 2016 at 5:40 am
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      Hi! We are limited as to power albeit there may be a notable increase coming in 2019 (we hope!) We will soon have a high quality stream at our new website, 979theWREN.org which may help too. Thanks for your comment! Jon

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  • June 21, 2016 at 6:32 pm
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    Stony Point area checking in… reception good!
    Been lisenting or a while now, and LOVIN’ IT. Didn’t mind the pauses (kinda surreal!), but the transitions now are super smooth.

    Suggestions:
    1. keep talk to a minimum (station IDs, whatever the law requires)
    2. please try to go with no ads (or “enhanced underwriting”), if at all possible.
    3. how ‘bout recording listener story snippets? Share memories of the songs and the times. I know this conflicts with #1, but hey, life is a paradox!

    Keep it going!

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    • July 11, 2016 at 5:50 am
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      Eventually we will be opening the mic about 4 times an hour. The talk quantity will be fairly low. No matter where our underwriting goes, we will never have the 16 minutes an hour of advertising that many commercial stations have! PS – Want to volunteer? Thanks for your comments!

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  • June 25, 2016 at 10:19 pm
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    Turn it up. I am in Orange and might have to move closer!

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    • July 11, 2016 at 5:48 am
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      We are limited in our power but we hope to have an additional signal that will reach into much of Orange in the near future. There may be some improvements coming in 2018-2019 depending on FCC moves too.

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  • June 29, 2016 at 3:30 am
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    Great variety of music from my 3 favorite decades of music; 50s, 60s and 70s. Love that we are hearing some deep cuts, and not just the number one songs or the big hits. Even the novelty or quirky tunes are fun to hear. Keep playing it!

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    • July 11, 2016 at 5:46 am
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      Thanks! We are going for a pretty big play list. Most oldies stations have about 700-1,400 songs. As of now, we are at about 4,000. They aren’t all equally weighted, of course, but at least it won’t just be the same thing over and over and over…

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    • July 11, 2016 at 5:44 am
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      Thanks! It is still a work in progress. Your love is appreciated!

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  • August 4, 2016 at 3:06 am
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    Love the sound – keep it up. Does your license allow for repeaters? Say in Keswick and Crozet.

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    • August 20, 2016 at 3:50 am
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      Thanks for your comment! We can have up to two translators. The FCC does things in ‘windows’ where they only accept certain types of new licensing. They are presently allocating translators to AM stations as a method of AM ‘improvement’. It will likely be 2018-2020 before we will be able to apply for translators. We may get a modest power increase about then too.

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  • September 17, 2016 at 2:52 pm
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    So grateful to have a high-quality station like this in Charlottesville — thanks for filling a big void! The one gap in TJU’s Rock programming, for my needs, is amply filled by WREN! So very welcome – thank you!

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    • October 3, 2016 at 6:22 am
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      We do hope to add some specialty shows as time moves forward. Some may include a roots show, a Frank Sinatra non-rock show, and rock from the ‘progressive’ era from about 1966-1971 (or so). We are a non-commercial station so we will need to find knowledgeable people for some of these shows to come to fruition. Thanks for your comments!

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  • September 17, 2016 at 5:12 pm
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    This radio station is amazing! is there somewhere I can see a list of the songs that have been played in the last hour or so?

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    • October 3, 2016 at 6:17 am
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      We are going to have that soon. It will be a list of the last 20 songs that have been played. Thanks!!

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  • September 29, 2016 at 5:13 pm
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    Great playlist. I’m hearing rare songs that I haven’t heard on any station of any format for a loooong time. And I like that you have the “ears” to play both The Rolling Stones and artists that oldies stations too often overlook, like Bobbie Gentry and Harry Nilsson. Heck, the other day you played “Rubber Biscuit” by the Blues Brothers – I haven’t heard that amazing song since my “Briefcase Full of Blues” cassette melted on my Camaro dashboard 35 years ago. Keep up the good work, and please don’t resort to the lazier oldies format of just playing The Beatles, Peter Frampton, and “Sultans of Swing” over and over. You rock! (and pop, and a little country!)

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    • October 3, 2016 at 6:16 am
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      Thanks!! We even play the much lesser known original 1956 doo-wop version of ‘Rubber Biscuits’ by ‘The Chips’. We try to spice things uop with a lot of songs that ‘you aren’t supposed to play’! We do play The Beatles (nearly everything!), Peter Frampton, and Dire Straights ‘Sultans of Swing’ but our library (so far) has about 3,700 songs rather than the 700-1,400 that most oldies stations play so you won’t hear most thongs over and over.

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  • September 30, 2016 at 5:09 pm
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    Found your station while waiting in the eye doctor’s office — thank goodness — there wasn’t any “oldies” station anymore or “easy listening”. Enjoying the 50’s and 60’s music – too bad I can’t dance while driving! ! ! Not a big fan of the 70’s music but would love to hear some from the 40’s — big band style. Keep up the good work — I’m telling all of my “older” friends about your station.

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    • October 3, 2016 at 6:10 am
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      Thanks for listening! It is difficult to decide exactly what to play. We would welcome someone to do a first half of the 1950s show featuring artists such as Frank Sinatra, Perry Como, and other similar artists. We do play a few ‘standards’ in the AM.

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  • November 8, 2016 at 12:17 am
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    Hi 97.9. I stumbled on your station last night and stayed tuned in for 5 hours and LOVED it all…where have you been??? The radio stations in the Charlottesville area are atrocious playing the same tired hits from the same old tired artists along with repetitive, brainwashing commercials. Saturday evening, I heard music I haven’t heard in years –Jan and Dean, Strawberry Alarmclock, Johnny Cash and so many other great artists. Loved the variety. Needless to say I slept well. Thank you for rescuing my psyche.

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    • November 10, 2016 at 10:16 pm
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      James,

      We have been on 97.9 since mid March. We do have a large playlist. I personally love oldies (even before I was one!) and one of the worst things that is usually done in modern oldies formats is to have only between 70-1,400 songs. We have a LOT more than that and it is still actively growing. We also have a wide variety of oldies styles with crossover R&B and country as well as the all of the usually songs (and did I mention that there are more of those than anywhere else too!)

      Thanks for your kind comments!

      Jon Hall
      WREN Radio

      Reply
  • February 1, 2017 at 7:13 pm
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    Best station around. Finally someone will play the hits of 50 & 60’s. Keep it up.

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    • February 6, 2017 at 3:05 am
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      Thanks for your praise! It is appreciated!! Jon

      Reply

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