launched the New Year and the new decade of 1950 with
a significant change in programming.
On January 2nd, the station began 24-hour operation, its strong night time signal now carrying all through the night to the millions of WWVA listeners throughout the Northeast and Canada. As service to daytime listeners in the Tri-State area, WWVA covered all significant community, school and charitable events and its diligent efforts earned countless certificates, awards, and letters of appreciation.
The Junior Town Meeting of the Air was broadcast to England on April 30, 1950 and on September 10, the Farm & Home Hour celebrated a 15th anniversary on the air.
1951 was a milestone year for WWVA when, in December they happily celebrated their 25th anniversary. Congratulatory messages poured in from all over the U.S., cake and candle marked the happy occasion for the powerful Wheeling station, nationally recognized as a true pioneer in the field of radio.
In September 1953, when Dwight D Eisenhower visited Wheeling, famed newscaster Eric Sevareid covered the event with an on-the-spot report delivered from the WWVA studios.
The Jamboree observed 20 years of consecutive broadcasting in January 1953 and on May 9th, the happy occasion was observed with a special Jamboree show featuring all the Jamboree entertainers. The show was being held each Saturday in the Virginia Theatre on 12th street in downtown Wheeling.
A PULSE survey taken in November and December 1955 revealed that in 42 counties surrounding Wheeling, with 457,000 radio homes therein, WWVA was overwhelmingly chosen as the Outstanding Radio Station in the Big Three Area as well as the Wheeling Metropolitan Retail Market. A total of 10 daytime and evening shows, produced by WWVA, were among the top group of selected programs, all others being CBS Network shows. Results gathered from a survey of Jamboree fans indicated that on May 19, 1956. 1,641 people came to Wheeling from 109 counties in 16 states, some as far away as California and Wyoming.
WWVA continued to make news later in the year when, in a Billboard Magazine Poll, Lee Moore placed 13th and Lee Sutton placed 10th among the nation's favorite Country & Western Disc Jockeys.
A continuing favorite with 1170 fans though the years was Vivian Miller, the talented organist whose "Sundown Serenade" was heard each evening over WWVA. November 26, 1956 marked an important milestone in Jamboree history when the two millionth patron bought a ticket, walked through the doors and into Jamboree history.
The combination of WWVA and CBS was proving to be a high-powered and unbeatable entertainment package. Famous names in comedy, sports, music and drama were heard over 1170 daily and on the local scene, the personable and talented WWVA air personalities and Jamboree stars ranked among the very best in the nation.
With 30 years of continuous growth behind WWVA as December 1956 approached, there was good cause for joyous celebration. Three decades had seen tremendous growth for WWVA, John Stroebel would have indeed been proud of the broadcasting giant that had grown from his little 50 watt home built transmitter, now gathering dust in a forgotten basement in East Wheeling.
During its 30 years of broadcasting, WWVA consistently maintained a selective, high-standard quality of programming, devoting much airtime to community service programs. In recognition of its efforts in this direction, the Wheeling Community Chest honored WWVA, in January 1957, with a silver plaque commemorating "25 years of distinguished service to our community: 1931 - 1956"
In March 1957, WWVA received 4 first place awards at the annual Wheeling Advertising Club awards dinner. These awards were presented in recognition of WWVA's outstanding excellence in the quality of its locally produced radio programs.
During these years of the mid-50's, often remembered as the hey-day of network programming with its much-loved and nationally known radio stars, a popular CBS show was being heard over WWVA, Saturday from 12.30 to 12.55 PM. By now, it's rather a forgotten fact in radio history; the "Gunsmoke" first endeared itself to a host of radio fans before making the move to the TV screen. Launched in 1952, this outstanding western featured William Conrad as Matt Dillon and Georgia Ellis as Kitty.
When National Radio Week was observed May 5-11, 1957, WWVA participated with special programs geared to focus attention on the American system of broadcasting and its many advantages as an effective and valuable advertising tool. Announcers Lew Clawson and Jim Whitaker took the WWVA mike to the streets of Wheeling and conducted live, informal interviews with local people as part of the national recognition of the media.
May 1957 saw a number of Jamboree talent groups take to the road with personal appearances and shows. Their travels tool them to 8 states and Canada, with 68 personal appearances before 24,248 people. At this time, the weekly Jamboree shows were being held in the Virginia Theatre. With a number of Jamboree fans arriving in Wheeling early each Saturday, WWVA broadcast a Jamboree Preview show at 3.30PM from the studios and visitors were invited to stop by, watch the broadcast and meet the stars they would be seeing that evening on Jamboree.
1926 - 1934 | 1935
- 1949 | 1950 - 1958
- 1969 | 1970 - 1976
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