Thursday, February 15, 2007


There are a number of oddities in West Virginia I could mock. They have the highest percentage of toothlessness per capita in America. They have a very ironic town named Vegan. They are one of three states unimaginably named after other states...

But today I discuss their very unique ease in naming calls for themselves. They are one of only five states which name their call signs after their state abbreviations. Wisconsin, Wyoming, Kansas, Kentucky, and West Virginia that's: WI, KS, KY, WV, and WY.

But uniquely West Virginia is obsessed with the usage. There are only 194 radio stations in West Virginia, 30 of them begin with, end with or otherwise contain the sequential WV state abbreviation. That is 15%.

For comparison WI was at 6%, KS at 11% , WY at 6% and KY at a very excusable 3% considering they are on the wrong side of the Mississippi River to work about a third of the combinations. On June 30th, of 1922 there were only three radio stations in West Virginia out of the 378 licensed US stations. These were WAAO, WAAR, and WHD; notice there is no "V".

The first WV call precedes radio. It was the Merchant Steamer Vigilancia. It's calls were simply WV. It operated at 350 meters way back in August 1, 1907. But the first in West Virginia was WWVA-AM in Wheeling.