WSRV (97.1 FM; "97.1 The River") is a rock-leaning classic-hits–formatted radio station that plays music from the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. It is broadcast from the Cox Media Group facility on West Peachtree Street near the Brookwood area (between Midtown and Buckhead) of Atlanta in the United States. It transmits from a broadcast tower at the northeastern edge of metro Atlanta, which it now shares with sister station WSBB-FM, and a permit for a broadcast translator for WSB-TV on physical (RF) TV channel 46.
The station took the WFOX broadcast callsign in 1972. It was a top-40 station targeting Gainesville, Georgia (its city of license) until 1985, when it moved into the Atlanta media market and switched to adult contemporary. From 1989 to early 2003, the station was oldies "Fox 97". In 2000, Cox Radio acquired the station from AMFM, which divested it in order to complete the merger between AMFM and Clear Channel Communications.
On January 31, 2003, the station began stunting by simulcasting its sister stations from across the country (including WPYM, WAPE, KCCN, KKBQ, KHPT, WBLI, WHZT, KINE and WDYL). On February 3, WFOX switched formats to R&B "97.1 Jamz". The station ran with no DJs as a supplement for another Cox Radio property, WALR-FM (Kiss 104.1) which played older-skewing R&B, while Jamz was a mix of older R&B/hip-hop and current songs, targeting primarily 25- to 39-year-olds. The station's main competitors were WVEE and WHTA, with whom it competed for the coveted 18 to 34 demographic, which is the same demo that WFOX's rhythmic contemporary sister station WBTS targeted.
On January 1, 2006, the station flipped to "97.1 The River", a classic hits station targeting people ages 25–54. The playlist is currently a mixture of the classic rock from stations WKLS and WZGC, as well as some of the progressive/new wave music on Cox Radio's own WSB-FM. On April 17, 2006, the WFOX call sign was changed to WSRV. The WFOX calls moved to another Cox Radio station, 95.9 the Fox (formerly WEFX), in Norwalk, Connecticut. The "River" branding is a local reference to the Chattahoochee River. It is now full-fledged classic rock, from the late , , and , but with little 1990s rock and without 2000s music. "Rock Blocks", which feature 3 songs in a row from the same artist/group, often including former play list, deep cut, and live material, are played at regular day time intervals and on week ends.
On June 19, 2006, Lexie Kaye became the River's first on-air personality doing mornings weekdays from 5:30 am–8:30 am. Kaedy Kiely, previously of WZGC during its "Z93" days, became morning host on September 18, 2008. In 2011, Afternoon host Dave Clapper was named Program Director. Veteran Atlanta radio personality Steve Craig joined in early 2012 as Music Director and can be heard on weekends along with longtime Atlanta hosts English Nick and Deborah Reece.
WSRV is currently broadcasting digital radio using the HD Radio system, and features adult alternative rock on its HD-2 channel branded as "The Other Side of The River". Steve Craig, formerly of 99X, is featured as the host of "The Other Side...". Both stations stream live via WSRV's website.
Its city of license is Gainesville, Georgia in Hall County, although as one of metro Atlanta's first move-ins, it now transmits from the southern tip of Hall County, just across the line from Braselton. Its broadcast range covers almost all of northeast Georgia, from just southwest of Atlanta, and a tiny portion of upstate South Carolina. This includes Atlanta, Athens, Cartersville, Roswell, and Toccoa. Weaker portions of the signal include Rome and Dalton in northwest Georgia, Peachtree City south of Atlanta, and Anderson, South Carolina. Depending on radio propagation conditions, with no other stations located on 97.1 FM, and with a good radio antenna, the station can be clearly heard as far away as Knoxville, Tennessee and at times, Greenville, South Carolina.
The station has volunteered to downgrade to class C0 in exchange for moving its transmitter closer to the Atlanta metro area.
WSRV's HD3 digital subchannel carries "The Other Side of the River", providing a legal fiction for it to be broadcast on W249CK FM 97.7 in Duluth, despite the prohibition on such broadcast translator stations carrying their own programming. Previously located between Braselton and Buford, Georgia along with WSRV itself (which would obviously not require a translator station where its signal is already extremely high), it is now heard mainly in Gwinnett and other adjacent northeast metro counties.
WSRV HD2 is also the supposed primary station for W228CA FM 93.5 Suwanee on the same WSRV tower, which allows it to circumvent the prohibition on any commercial radio translator airing a station outside of its range by simulcasting sister station WALR FM 104.1, which is located at the opposite extremity of the southwest metro area.
WSRV was previously the primary station for W243CE (96.5 FM), a "translator" having Winder, Georgia as its city of license, and transmitting from west-northwest of Winder, about halfway to Auburn, Georgia. Licensed for just five watts of effective radiated power, it is owned by Davis Broadcasting of Atlanta. It was originally permitted in 2004 and started in 2007 by Radio Assist Ministry, a company that speculatively filed for thousands of translator stations and then rented or resold them for profit.
The station had a construction permit to move to the WSRV/WSBB radio tower, increase to the maximum translator power of 250 watts, and exponentially increase its height from 4 to 392 meters (1,286 ft). This would give it the broadcast range of a class-A station, while allowing Cox to circumvent U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) caps that prevent the excessive concentration of media ownership in a market, if the station relays a digital channel from WSRV (or is reassigned to retransmit another station). The translator was and would still be entirely within the main station's range, making it redundant if were to retransmit the main analog audio of WSRV.
Davis actually owns a different station in the area: WLKQ-FM, which ironically has a translator station (W264AR) owned by a different company. That station transmits from near W243CE's current location, and is also upgrading and moving.