WKVA went on the air Sunday, December 4, 1949 & was owned for most of its history by the Central Pennsylvania Broadcasting Company. Our 1,000 watt daytime, 500 watt regional signal has served generations of our listeners living in seven primarily rural counties surrounding Lewistown. The Mifflin Co. Historical Society has provided us with newspaper articles from the Lewistown Sentinel about the launch of WKVA & about how WKVA helped to make Goose Day an official Mifflin Co. holiday. To download this piece of history, click HERE (PLEASE NOTE: This is a LARGE Adobe .pdf file & will take several minutes to download, depending on your Internet connection).
Today, WKVA is the "Heritage" station in the "Hometown Stations" cluster that includes WCHX-FM ("CHiX 105") and WVNW-FM ("Star Country") which is owned by Mifflin County Communications, Inc., a Nittany Media Company.
WKVA has featured a wide range of musical genres from traditional Country & Western to nostalgia hits of yesteryear. One thing that has always been a part of WKVA's programming is the local communities we serve. Currently, WKVA is the region's source for "Gold Hits" of the 60s & 70s.
WKVA has led the region in news coverage. At one time the ABC Radio Network provided national & world news to our listeners. Most recently, WKVA chose to affiliate with the CBS Radio Network to provide our listeners with the most dependable news from a reliable & trusted news source.
In 1982, WKVA was awarded the singular distinction of "The best all-around sports coverage for a small market Pennsylvania radio station" by the Associated Press. That tradition continues with our committment to local sporting events that populate from our region's pround high schools--particularly to Lewistown Area High School & Indian Valley High School.
In 1976, WKVA pulled an on-air stunt that will forever live in the minds of Mifflin Countians. For one week prior April 1, WKVA reported--typically as a final "human interest" story--the escape of a school of fresh water dolphins from a Baltimore, MD aquarium & their progress up the Chesapeake Bay, into the Susquehanna River, & ultimately into the Juniata River. The "pay off" came on April Fool's day when, after "fishing in" the listeners, reported that some of the stray dolphins would pass under Lewistown's Memorial Bridge early that afternoon. Amid many calls to the station & the buzz that these "reports" generated, close to 50 gathered at the river bridge to catch a glimpse of these runaway dolphins only to find out that they had all been "had".
Author/educator/historian, Forest Fisher of the Mifflin Co. Historical Society, writes about the Great Dolphin Hoax saying:
As I recall, there were those who thought it was great fun and others who were not as impressed. A headline on the front page of the Lewistown Sentinel dated April 2, 1976 - "Fish tale on All Fools Day...Dolphins in the Juniata?"
Sentinel reporter Nancy Luce from the newspaper's Juniata County office, noted groups of people were gathered on the bridge crossing the Juniata River at Mifflintown peering into the murky waters swirling below, hoping for a glimpse of the dolphins.. One lady brought her daughter and had been there since 8:15 am, saying, "The sight of dolphins swimming up the Juniata River would be a once-in-a-lifetime experience."
The newspaper indicated this was the scene on bridges at Mifflin and Mifflintown and at Lewistown. Stopping to ask another group why they were there, the reporter wrote that one lady said, "They were talking about it at school. My son came home and told me about it and I just laughed." Her friend standing with them said, "I don't think they would be telling kids about it if it wasn't true." They stood, waiting to see the dolphins.
One person thought it was all a "big fish story" saying, "A guy told me about it last night in church and I said he shouldn't be telling such stories inside a church!"
Reporter Luce concluded her article, writing, "Throughout yesterday's dolphin watch even the firm believers knew there was one fact which could not be denied...the incident was taking place on April 1, commonly known as April Fool's Day."
Love it or hate it, it's now part of our Mifflin County heritage.
In February of 2007, WKVA launched a re-vamped morning show, KVAToday, that strives to provide "The Gold Standard in Community Radio" between 6am-10am weekdays. Our committment to the local community is on display each workday as we open our microphones to individuals, groups, businesses, & non-profit organizations to spotlight events & happenings from within our hometowns.
On WKVA's 63rd birthday, the announcer who was behind the board when WKVA went on the air in 1949 stopped in for a visit & to talk about that first day on the air...and on the job. Bob Hyle also posed for a photo. You can hear his interview that was broadcast on WKVA on December 5, 2012 using the player below.
The man who was on the air when WKVA first went on the air in 1949: Bob Hyle, visiting the WKVA studio 63 years later.