|Broadcast area||Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex|
|Frequency||101.1 MHz (HD Radio)|
|Branding||Classical 101 WRR|
|Owner||City of Dallas|
|Operator||North Texas Public Broadcasting, Inc.|
|KERA (FM), KERA-TV, KKXT|
First air date
|October 14, 1949|
Former call signs
Call sign meaning
|Inherited from former 1310 AM sister station WRR|
|HAAT||508 metres (1,667 ft)|
Public license information
WRR (101.1 MHz) is a municipally-owned non-commercial FM radio station in Dallas, Texas, which provides a full-time classical music radio format, and operated by North Texas Public Broadcasting, Inc. North Texas Public Broadcasting is the owner of public radio News/Talk station KERA (FM) (NPR), public television station station KERA-TV (PBS), and Triple-A formatted KKXT. The station's studios are located in the Fair Park complex in South Dallas. The transmitter site is on West Belt Line Road in Cedar Hill.
WRR-FM began experimental broadcasts in 1948. It officially signed on the air on October 14, 1949. It began operations as a sister station to WRR (1310 AM, now KTCK), which was first licensed for municipal and police transmissions on August 5, 1921. It received an AM band broadcasting station license on March 13, 1922.
In its first few decades, WRR-FM mostly simulcasted its AM counterpart, and the stations were network affiliates of the Mutual Broadcasting System and carried its schedule of comedies, dramas, news and sports during the "Golden Age of Radio." WRR-AM-FM later switched to the NBC Radio Network.
As network programming shifted to television, WRR-FM began airing classical music full time, while the AM station concentrated on news, talk and information. The City of Dallas sold WRR to Bonneville International in 1978, who switched the call sign to KAAM. Meanwhile, the Dallas government kept WRR-FM, which continued its classical format.
Also in the 1970s, the station increased its power to 100,000 watts, from its previous output of 68,000 watts.
Dallas City Council
As part of its municipal ownership, WRR began broadcasting Dallas City Council meetings in 1978. They usually took place every other Wednesday at 9 a.m. In later years, however, Portable People Meter (PPM) evidence showed that the meetings, which interrupted the classical format, caused a significant drop in the station's ratings. The station averages more than 11,000 listeners on weekdays, according to Nielsen Audio; that number dropped to 1,900 during council meetings. In 2018, station management was able to convince the city council to end the broadcasts. The meetings are still available on cable television in Dallas, as well as online.
In July 2021, the Dallas city government began seeking applications for a new management structure for WRR. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, advertising revenue dropped; prior to the pandemic, however, the City of Dallas Office of Arts and Culture issued a press release saying the station has been losing money for eight years. The statement said the city government believes steps are needed "to ensure it remains a City-owned classical music format radio station." In recent years, most classical music stations in large U.S. cities have switched from commercial operations to listener-supported models, including WQXR-FM in New York City, KDFC in San Francisco, WCRB in Boston and KING-FM in Seattle. WRR was one of the few classical stations to earn its revenue from advertisers. In June 2022, Dallas City Council voted to award management of the station to North Texas Public Broadcasting, which runs KERA (FM), changing the funding model from commercial to sponsorships while continuing to broadcast classical music. WRR dropped its remaining brokered programming on November 25, and transitioned to KERA management on January 3, 2023.
Unusual call letters
While most radio stations in Texas have four-letter call signs beginning with a K, this station has three call letters beginning with a W. Many stations going on the air in the early 1920s received three-letter call signs. The AM station with which WRR-FM had once been partnered dates back to 1921. WRR on the AM side was the first licensed radio station west of the Mississippi and second in the country.
With the introduction of land-based U.S. radio station licensing in late 1912, it had been the practice to assign call signs starting with "K" in the west and "W" in the east. (Ship-based stations were just the opposite.) The original boundary line was located along the Texas-New Mexico border, and it wasn't until the shift in early 1923 to the Mississippi River that new stations going on the air in Texas received K instead of W call signs. However, existing stations were allowed to keep their non-conforming call letters, which included such stations as WRR, WBAP in Fort Worth and WOAI in San Antonio. When WRR put the FM station on the air in 1949, the FCC allowed it to use the same call sign, plus the "-FM" suffix.
After the AM station was sold and its call letters changed to KAAM, WRR-FM dropped the no longer required "-FM" suffix from its call sign, effective May 15, 1978.
The station was the starting point of John Peel's radio career. Peel, who later became a British disc jockey, notably covered the arraignment hearing of Lee Harvey Oswald shortly before Oswald was shot and killed.
The WRR (FM) lattice radio tower was located in the Fair Park complex. The tower was visible across Dallas and in the Fair Park vicinity. The FM antenna on top of the tower was removed in 2003. The tower was used as a cell tower for the last few years and was eventually dismantled in December 2015. The current transmitter is located at the Cedar Hill Antenna Farm in Cedar Hill.
- "FCC History Cards for WRR (FCC.gov)".
- "Facility Technical Data for WRR". Licensing and Management System. Federal Communications Commission.
- FM Query Results: WRR (FCC.gov)
- "FMpower - Find ERP for an FM Station Class (FCC.gov)". December 17, 2015. Retrieved November 15, 2018.
- Broadcasting Yearbook, 1951 edition, page 296.
- "New Stations: Commercial Land Stations", Radio Service Bulletin, September 1, 1921. Limited Commercial license with the randomly assigned call letters WRR was issued to "City of Dallas (Police and Fire Signal Dept.)", which authorized transmissions on the wavelengths of 400, 450 and 500 meters (750, 667 and 600 kHz.)
- WRR March 13, 1922 license Limited Commercial license, serial #213, issued to the City of Dallas on March 13, 1922, for a 3 month period for broadcasting on 360 and 485 meters.
- Broadcasting Yearbook, 1979 edition, page C-213.
- Broadcasting Yearbook, 1980 edition, page C-221.
- "PPM Ratings Cited To Justify WRR Dropping City Council Meetings". Insideradio.com. November 19, 2018. Retrieved December 17, 2022.
- DallasCulture.org "WRR Statement"
- "KERA to manage Dallas-owned classical radio station WRR". FOX 4. June 9, 2022. Retrieved December 17, 2022.
- "WRR To Go Classical Christmas Ahead Of Non-Comm Shift". RadioInsight. Retrieved November 21, 2022.
- "K/W Call Letters in the United States" by Thomas H. White.
- Nicholson, Eric (February 12, 2013). "At WRR, Dallas' Classical Music Station, Employees Blame the Bloodletting on City Hall". Dallas Observer. Dallas, TX: Voice Media Group. Retrieved November 15, 2018.
WRR on Radio-Locator