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WVSG (AM) St. Gabriel Radio (Columbus, Ohio) - office and studio.jpg
CityColumbus, Ohio
Broadcast areaColumbus metro area
Frequency820 kHz
BrandingSt. Gabriel Radio
FormatChristian radio (Catholic)
OwnerSt. Gabriel Radio Inc.
First air date
April 20, 1920 (experimental license 8XI)
Former call signs
WEAO (1922-1933)
WOSU (1933-2011)
Call sign meaning
"Voice of St. Gabriel"
Technical information
Power6,500 watts (day)
790 watts (night)
WebcastListen Live
WebsiteSt. Gabriel Radio

WVSG (820 AM, "St. Gabriel Radio") is an American radio station licensed to Columbus, Ohio and serving the Columbus metro area. It airs local Catholic programming in addition to EWTN Global Catholic Radio. Its programs are simulcast over WSGR, 88.3 FM in New Boston, Ohio.

WVSG broadcasts with 5,000 watts during the daytime, and 790 watts at night, from a transmitter site located near Upper Arlington and Grove City. A single non-directional tower is used during the day, offering secondary coverage to almost half of Ohio–as far west as Dayton and the outer suburbs of Cincinnati and as far north as the outer suburbs of Toledo. At night, six towers are used in a directional pattern to protect the signal of the frequency's clear-channel station, WBAP in Fort Worth, Texas, concentrating the signal around the Columbus area.



The station was originally licensed to Ohio State University, which reported that it was the oldest radio station in Columbus. On March 23, 1920 the university was granted an experimental license with the call sign 8XI,[1] which made a debut broadcast, featuring a speech by president Dr. William Oxley Thompson, on April 20, 1920.[2] In the fall of 1921 8XI's license was deleted,[3] and the university was issued a Technical and Training School station license with the call sign 8YO.[4]

Effective December 1, 1921, the Department of Commerce, which regulated radio at this time, adopted regulations requiring that stations making broadcasts intended for the general public obtain a "Limited Commercial" license.[5] On June 3, 1922, the university was issued its first broadcasting station license, with the call letters WEAO. This call sign was randomly assigned from an alphabetical roster of available call letters,[6] and a later tradition suggested that the call letters stood for "Willing Energetic Athletic Ohio".[2] In 1933, the call letters were changed to WOSU.[7]

For much of the 1960s and '70s, WOSU's programming was mostly locally originated, featuring diverse music programs from classical and jazz, and later included the seasonal Metropolitan Opera radio broadcasts on Saturday afternoons, moderated by its long-time announcer Milton Cross and later by Peter Allen after Cross' death. The station participated with the gradual evolution of National Public Radio (NPR). It also broadcast live remotes from the Ohio State Fair.

By the year 2000 WOSU primarily aired NPR news and talk programming, supplemented by programs from American Public Media and Public Radio International. It was also home to the Ohio State ice hockey and women's basketball broadcasts. On weekend evenings the station featured 12 hours of bluegrass music on a program called The Bluegrass Ramble, hosted by a group of three rotating announcers. In addition to its sports and news coverage, the station produced an award-winning talk show, Open Line with host Fred Andrle, who retired in May 2009 after 25 years in radio. In September 2009 Andrle's program was replaced by All Sides With Ann Fisher, hosted by former Columbus Dispatch reporter and columnist Ann Fisher, who came to WOSU with 20 years of journalism experience.

Ohio State eventually decided to concentrate its radio broadcasting efforts on the FM band. In 2010 the university purchased station WWCD at 101.1 FM, changing its call letters to WOSA and transferring the classical music format on WOSU-FM at 89.7 FM over to WOSA. WOSU-FM then began simulcasting WOSU's NPR news/talk format, with the FM signal branded as the main station, under the moniker "89.7 FM NPR News". The university also announced that it was putting WOSU (AM 820) up for sale.

In September 2011 it was announced that WOSU had been purchased, pending Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approval, by St. Gabriel Radio for $2 million.[8] The sale and transfer of license was approved by the FCC on November 7, 2011.[9] No formal announcement of farewell or final goodbye to listeners was made prior to the final shutdown of WOSU. The station ended its regular NPR and local news broadcasts at 5 p.m. on December 9, 2011, after which it aired a continuous announcement loop by station and NPR staffers that informed listeners that its news and talk format would continue on WOSU-FM. The announcements continued until 9:00 a.m. on December 14th, when the signal was abruptly shut down in the middle of the sentence "I'm Mandie Trimble, W...", ending before the full WOSU call sign was spoken.


The call letters were changed to WVSG on December 15th,[10] and the station returned to the air on December 17th after 3 days of silence. The station made its official debut at 6 p.m. on December 20th.

The introduction of WVSG was part of a series of station acquisitions and deacquisitions by St. Gabriel Radio, Inc. in its work to provide Catholic programming for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Columbus. Named for the Archangel Gabriel – the patron saint of communication workers – St. Gabriel Radio initially purchased WUCO 1270 kHz (now WDLR) in Marysville in 2005 from Frontier Broadcasting, which resulted in WUCO becoming the first full-time Catholic radio station licensed in Ohio since Cleveland's WMIH (now WCCR) was sold to Radio Disney in 1998. After this purchase, WUCO's studios and offices were moved from Marysville to Columbus, the diocese's hub, thus increasing its volunteer and listener base.

In 2007, St. Gabriel Radio began simulcasting WUCO's Catholic programming over WVKO (1580 AM), under a lease agreement with station owner Bernard, Ohio L.L.C. WVKO's superior signal provided better coverage of the Columbus region than WUCO's less powerful directional signal. WVKO had previously aired a liberal progressive talk format, and the initial plan was that St. Gabriel Radio would eventually purchase the station. WUCO was sold in January 2010 to ICS Communications, and after Ohio State University announced that WOSU was for sale, St. Gabriel Radio decided it would purchase that station instead of WVKO. A fundraiser, "Leave a Legacy", focused on raising funds for the purchase.

The transition of St. Gabriel programming from 1580 to 820 AM took place on at 6 p.m. on December 20, 2011 during the broadcast of "The Local Spotlight Show", which began that evening on WVKO and concluded on WVSG. WVKO (now WWCD) then began airing continuing announcements informing St. Gabriel listeners to switch to AM 820, until it returned to a progressive talk format at 6 a.m. on January 2, 2012.

St. Gabriel Radio also owned and operated WFOT 89.5 MHz, licensed to Lexington and serving the Mansfield area as a near-simulcast of the AM station. WFOT made its on-air debut in February 2007. WFOT now broadcasts the programming of Annunciation Radio (originated by WNOC based in Toledo).

St. Gabriel Radio's mission is to reach the entire Columbus diocese, and WVSG almost accomplishes this during the daytime hours, with the exception of the far southern region around Portsmouth.[8] In January 2019, the southern coverage was improved by establishing a simulcast over WSGR, 88.3 FM in New Boston.[11]


  1. ^ "New Stations: Special Land Stations", Radio Service Bulletin, April 1, 1920, page 5. The "8" in 8XI's call sign indicated that the station was located in the 8th Radio Inspection district, while the "X" signified that the station was operating under an Experimental license.
  2. ^ a b "Anniversary—WOSU's 25th", The Ohio State University Monthly, April 1945, page 3.
  3. ^ "Special Land Stations: Strike out all particulars", Radio Service Bulletin, November 1, 1921, page 7.
  4. ^ "New Stations: Special Land Stations", Radio Service Bulletin, November 1, 1921, page 3. The "Y" in 8YO's call sign indicated that the station was operating under a Technical and Training School license.
  5. ^ "Amendments to Regulations", Radio Service Bulletin, January 3, 1922, page 10.
  6. ^ "New Stations", Radio Service Bulletin, July 1, 1922, page 3.
  7. ^ Education's Own Stations (Ohio State University section) by S. E. Frost, 1937, pages 274-291.
  8. ^ a b "OSU sells 820 AM to Catholic station" by Bill Bush, Columbus Dispatch, September 10, 2011.
  9. ^ FCC application and approval for St. Gabriel Radio to purchase WOSU (
  10. ^ "Call Sign History". Federal Communications Commission. Retrieved April 21, 2021. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  11. ^ "St. Gabriel Catholic Radio: About Us" (

External links

This page was last edited on 22 April 2021, at 18:02
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