WRWR was built in 1961 by Port Clinton newspaper publisher—and 1956 Ohio governor candidate—Robert W. Reider. It signed on October 4, 1961 using the assigned frequency of 94.5 MHz. with an effective radiated power of 6,700 watts and an antenna height of 193 feet. The station’s studio and transmitter were located at 2104 East State Road, at the southeastern side of Port Clinton, in a tiny, one-story, flat-roofed building that seemed to be about twenty feet wide and twenty feet long.
August 17, 1961: Federal Communications Commission grants a construction permit to RWR Inc. for a radio station to be built in Port Clinton, Ohio.
August 23, 1961: Ground is broken for the radio station’s studio and transmitter building at 2104 State Road, Port Clinton. Frank W. Swartz, program director of WFRO-AM in Fremont, Ohio, is named the new station’s first program director.
August 29, 1961: Call letters WRWR are formerly given to the station by the Federal Communications Commission.
September 6, 1961: Shelby H. Bristow, 20-year radio veteran, chief engineer of WTTF, Tiffin, Ohio, is named WRWR’s first chief engineer.
September 19, 1961: WRWR’s 193-foot tower arrives from California and is erected in one day.
September 21, 1961: WRWR tests transmitting equipment.
October 3, 1961: WRWR completes equipment tests and is given Federal Communications Commission permission to begin broadcasts on Wednesday, October 4, 1961.
October 4, 1961: WRWR signs on at 7:00 A.M., concluding its first broadcast day at 7:00 P.M.
Robert W. Reider chose WRWR’s call letters. Reider’s Ohio Radio Incorporated operated four stations in Ohio:
- WRWR (Port Clinton)
- WLKR (Norwalk)
- WAWR (Bowling Green, named for his wife, Annette Wendt Reider) (later WKIQ and now WRQN)
- WKTN (Kenton)
WRWR went on the air as a monaural (single audio channel) station, but converted to multiplex stereo on its first anniversary, making it a fairly early FM stereo programmer.
Robert W. Reider died suddenly on March 4, 1976, but his wife, Annette W. Reider, took over as Ohio Radio president. The station referred to itself as “Radio Active R-94” around this time. It also used the slogan “We Reach With Radio” to promote its advertising services.
WRWR played an important role in keeping Ottawa County residents informed during the Blizzard of 1978, which struck the area very hard on January 26th. The storm stranded WRWR’s morning personalities at the station for the next few days. They stayed on the air commercial-free, broadcasting messages to and from citizens and local governments (between intermittent power outages).
Annette Reider sold Ohio Radio Inc. properties between 1977 and 1979. On July 31, 1979, WRWR, Inc., a subsidiary of Triplett Broadcasting, took over. Triplett Broadcasting, a family corporation headed by brothers Wendell and Robert Triplett of Bellefontaine, Ohio, operated several radio stations in Ohio in a manner similar to the Reider family.
WRWR becomes WOSE
On May 21, 1980, Triplett changed the call letters to WOSE, covering Ottawa, Sandusky, and Erie counties. The station increased power using the original WRWR tower, became a CBS radio network affiliate, began operating 24 hours per day, and started playing only country music in 1981. This seems to have been a limited success, for the station and its parent company’s other radio stations went through bankruptcy the same year. WOSE switched back to Top-40 hits in approximately fall 1983.
WOSE moved its transmitter around 1983, to a new site about 0.7 miles southwest of Port Clinton, off Fremont Road, increasing coverage to Sandusky and Toledo. Around 1985 or 1986, the station moved its studio and office to 202 West Market Street in Sandusky, attempting to tap that area’s advertising revenue more effectively.
WOSE becomes WXKR
Suffering from financial stress, on February 26, 1990, WOSE sold ownership and control to Venice Broadcasting, Inc. doing business as Venice Broadcasting Corporation, which changed the call letters to WXKR June 18, 1990, and its format to classic rock, catering to the Toledo market. Venice Michels, wife of the owner of the Port Clinton McDonald’s restaurant franchise, owned and operated Venice Broadcasting.
Venice, during 1992, moved the studio to Northwood and the transmitter to a new site about 1.75 miles northeast of Elmore, Ohio, (between South Elliston-Trowbridge Road and South Graytown Road) and began using a bi-directional antenna favoring a northwest-southeast direction. The new antenna allowed the station to provide a “city grade” signal both to its city of license (Port Clinton) and its city of interest (Toledo).
The format of the station remained various forms of classic rock during the 1990s. In 1997, Venice sold the station to Cumulus Licensing Corporation, a subsidiary of Cumulus Broadcasting, one of the largest national radio broadcasting companies, thus ending local control of the station.
WXKR operates a website. The transmitter remains at the same site near Elmore.
The call letters WRWR were unused by radio stations from early 1990 until 2010, when a station in Warner Robins, Georgia adopted them.