Our History

WCVR DJ Greg Price at the Tunbridge World’s Fair in the mid-1980’s.

Humble beginnings

WCVR signed on November 26, 1968 as an AM daytimer on 1320kHz. The station had a middle-of-the-road music format that leaned country. The original owners were businessmen from White River Junction: Frank Gilman and Nelson Crawford. Their original General Manager was the prominent Vermont radio-newspaper commentator Bob Smith, who staffed the station with a program director from Burlington (Gary D’Arcangelo) and a morning man, Gene Puffer, who had operated a nearby general store. Puffer later purchased his own radio station in Wells River, WYKR (now WTWN). At first, WCVR struggled to gain traction with the local business community, but sales increased over the following years.

WCVR AM/FM studio in 1998.

Group ownership, name and format changes

During the first year, WCVR was sold to Scott McQueen, Ted Nixon, and Randy Odeneal, all Dartmouth College graduates who subsequently built their company, Sconnix, into a very successful ownership group. Sconnix owned WCVR for seven years before they sold the station to Vermont Radio Group in 1976 Vermont Radio Group owned the station for a couple years before selling the station to Ed and Margaret Stokes in November of 1980. Under the Stokes Communications banner, WCVR shifted to a more contemporary country format , adopting the “North Country” brand. In 1982, Stokes launched WCVR-FM as an FM simulcast of the station. With the success of the FM, Stokes changed the AM call letters to WWWT in 1987, adopting the “3WT” branding. By 1988, the station switched to an adult contemporary format, with the country format being heard solely on WCVR-FM. 

In the 1990s, WWWT returned to simulcasting WCVR-FM, which by then was receiving its programming via the Real Country network. 

In 1999, Stokes Communications sold WWWT and WCVR-FM to Excalibur Media, which was sold to Clear Channel Communications the following year. Soon after taking over, Clear Channel returned WWWT to separate programming, airing Jones Radio Networks’ Oldies service, Good Time Oldies. The station switched to a talk format in May 2003; initially a simulcast of WSYB in Rutland, then a relay of WTSL in Hanover, New Hampshire in 2006 (following Clear Channel’s sale of WSYB), at which point the WTSJ call letters were adopted. A few months later, WTSL was also sold, and WTSJ again changed simulcasts, this time to WXZO and WEAV in the Champlain Valley.   In January 2008, Clear Channel agreed to sell its Vermont stations to Vox Communications as part of its plan to divest itself of most of its smaller market radio stations. The sale was completed July 25, 2008. Vox soon concluded that it had no interest in retaining WTSJ and WCVR-FM, and reached a deal to sell the stations to Great Eastern Radio in September 2008. Great Eastern switched WTSJ to a simulcast of Lebanon, New Hampshire’s country station, WXXK. However, it never closed on the deal, and a year later Vox retook the station and reinstated the simulcast of WEAV.

WCVR General Manager and mid-day host, Aaron Gonthier, in 2017.

Back to local control

In March 2010, another deal to sell WTSJ, this time Lebanon, New Hampshire based Koor Communications, was reached. Koor took over the AM station on March 12, and reverted the station to Real Country. The WCVR-AM call letters were reinstated on April 23, and the sale was finalized on June 25. WCVR-FM was sold to Vermont Public Radio, who changed the call letters to WXVR as part of their VPR Classical network.  On November 24, 2016, the Federal Communications Commission granted WCVR-AM a construction permit to move an FM translator acquired from Dennis Jackson, W273BH, from Middlebury to Randolph to rebroadcast WCVR-AM on 100.1 MHz with 250 Watts. The translator was assigned callsign W261DJ.

On February 3, 2017, Koor Communications was purchased by Sugar River Media LLC, also of Lebanon, NH. On March 31st, 2017 at 8PM, WCVR returned to locally generated programming, gaining the “North Country 1320” branding and began playing a mixture of classic and contemporary country music mixed with regional, international and roots country artists.

W261DJ went on the air in May, 2018, modifying the station branding as “North Country 1320 and 100.1, WCVR.”

Sugar River Media is dedicated to keeping the station locally programmed and operated.