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WMVR-FM (105.5 FM, "Hits 105.5") is a commercial radio station licensed to Sidney, Ohiomarker, broadcasting an Hot AC music format. Its studios, offices, and transmitter are located on Russell Road, just outside of Sidney, Ohiomarker.

Early history...WMVR-AM 1960s

Founded in 1963 as a daytime station at 1080 kHz on the AM band. Its founder and original owner was The Van Wert Broadcasting Company, which was also the original owner and founder of WERTmarker in Van Wert, Ohiomarker (currently owned by First Family Broadcasting) and made its inaugural sign-on during Thanksgiving Day November 21, 1963 after nearly a year of field tests and much anticipation. Prior to WMVR's founding, the only other two radio stations serving the Upper Miami Valley were WPTW in Piquamarker (which up to that point operated an auxiliary studio in the Ohio Building) and the former WOHP (now WBLL) located to the east in Bellefontainemarker.Its first on-air personalities were Clif "Lil Monster" Willis (later of WIMA-TV now WLIOmarker) and Larry Levy. Willis was also the first program director and station manager. Its original studios and offices were located on the second floor of the Taylor Building at the corner of Main Avenue and Poplar Street in downtown Sidney while its transmitter and three towers were erected near the intersection of Russell and Kuther Road. Its 250 watt daytime signal was enhanced with a north to northeast directional antenna pattern which can be heard as far north as Bowling Greenmarker and as far northeast as Crestlinemarker near Mansfield.marker A 1965 tornado knocked down one of its AM directional towers but it remained on the air after special permission was granted by the FCC to do so. The fallen tower was re-erected the following year. Its proximity to 1070 kHz was the reason for the direction pattern to protect the 50,000 watt daytime signal of neighboring WIBC (now WFNI) in Indianapolis. The 50 thousand watt night time skywave signal of WTICmarker (also at 1080) in Hartford, Connecticut was the reason for WMVR-AM having to sign off at local sunset.

WMVR-FM...1960s

WMVR-FM first came on the air in the spring of 1965, at first as a simulcast and continuation of WMVR-AM's programming into the evening hours after local sunset sign-off time on its AM frequency.It was later that year when Dean and Ida (Wagner) Miller incorporated as The Dean Miller Broadcasting Corporation (its licensee) which purchased the stations from Van Wert Broadcasting. Eventually a full-time air studio was built at the Russell Road site while the downtown offices and studio focused on news, sales, promotion and audio production.

Before coming to Sidney, Dean Miller (1924-2004) had been a television personality and actor in Hollywoodmarker. He was best known for the role of Matt Henshaw on the Desilu-produced CBS sitcom December Bride from 1954-1959, co-starring with Spring Byington, Frances Rafferty, Verna Felton, and Harry Morgan. He later co-hosted the NBC daytime celebrity interview series Here's Hollywood, with Helen O'Connell, in addition to hosting a game show and as an occasional fill-in host for Art Linkletter's House Party on CBS. A Hamiltonmarker, Ohio, native, Miller (born Dean C. Stuhmueller, Sr.,) began his career essentially as a radio broadcaster before a by-chance meeting with some Hollywood executives who agreed to give the young Miller a chance to act. Miller graduated from Ohio State Universitymarker in Columbusmarker.

His love for the golden age of Hollywood eventually inspired him to do a retro nostalgia segment in the 1960s in addition to the live mid-day talk show "Party Line" (possibly inspired by "Conversation Piece" on WHIO marker) and later a "mini-show" segment entitled "The Show Biz Trivia Desk" which aired several times daily in the 1980s.

1970s

Eventually after finalizing plans, Miller moved the entire operation to the Russell Road site after a new office/studio complex was built in the summer of 1969 where it remains today. Programming became split between a full service/middle of the road format on AM-1080 and Muzak-styled beautiful music at 105.5 FM after a brief stint as a country music format, almost similar to that of the programming of WHIO AMmarker/FM in Dayton and its traditional local competitor WPTW AM/FMmarker in Piqua at that time. It was also inspired by 700 WLWmarker in Cincinnati which also employed a full service/MOR format at the same time as well as WJRmarker in Detroit. A fully orchestrated jingle package: "The Station That's All Heart" borrowing the melody from the 1960s hit song "Down at Papa Joe's" by The Dixie Bells was produced for the station by Pepper/Tanner Productions [472933] of Memphis, a forerunner of the latter Media General broadcasting conglomerate and subsequently the rights now owned by the current Jones TM production company of Dallas. The sing line: "This is Radio Ten-Eight-O..W-M-V-R" was used in place of the original Dixie Bells song lyrics to coincide with the MOR format along with the original call sign meaning: "Wonderful Miami Valley Radio." In 1970,the "Wonderful" portion of the slogan was dropped prior to a format switch.

In 1972 WMVR-AM switched to adult contemporary with Lee Riley (later of WONE currently at WKSW) as morning man including Tim Willoughby "The Wireless Wizard" (and later Mike Baumer) on afternoons. WMVR-FM maintained its beautiful music with a slight night time diversion...a weeknight album oriented rock program which briefly aired in 1973-74 initially hosted by Willoughby but shortly thereafter taken over by Gordy Price (later of WCITmarker). Other WMVR alumni at that time included its news department staff of Don Laws(later a Shelby County Sherriff),George Cole(later of Christian station WTGNmarker) and Dick Bergman(now with Minster Bank.)During this time Dean Miller re-entered the television field as a news anchorman at a station in Washington D.C.then moving to another station in Miami, Florida and later in Detroit where he made his home. High energy station IDs and "liners" utilizing Drake-styled production vaules were voiced by Bill Shirk [472934]of WERKmarker in Muncie, Indiana as part of audio imaging for the new format while at the same time promoted itself as a locally-owned community citizen as "Your News Active and Sports Alive Station." By the end of the decade, a newer "shotgun"-styled contemporary jingle package was used: "Just You and Me" produced by Jones TM predecessor William B. Tanner Company.

1980s-present

The 1980s saw expansion as its long-time affiliation with the now-defunct Mutual Broadcasting System switched from land lines to an all-satellite operation after becoming FM stereo in 1978 and reverting back to an AM/FM simulcast. WMVR was the charter affiliate of the Agri Broadcasting Network (ABN),founded by the late Ed Johnson which also went satellite a few years later. A Big Band/nostalgia format in 1983-84 and news/talk in the mid 1990s however proved short-lived on AM-1080. Gordy Price returned in 1981 to do an evening program of contemporary hit music before moving to WIMT in the late 1980s. Miler retired from television work during this decade allowing him to work closer with his initial passion, radio broadcasting and the station he owned. Still, he did one last television gig for WRGTmarker-TV in Dayton by hosting "The Sunday Prime Movie" in addition to hosting the local segments of "The Golden Age of Television" for a year, complete with his trivia facts he collected during his years in Hollywood.The late 1990s saw it switching to its present format of hot adult contemporary as "Hits 105.5" upgrading from 3,000 watts to the present 6,000 watts ERP (effective radiated power).

A violent thunderstorm with damaging winds again knocked down one of its AM directional towers in November 2000 forcing WMVR-AM to go silent to this present day. WMVR-AM is now believed to be that of a now defunct station as no special temporary authority was filed to the FCC by the station to allow time re-erect the fallen tower and resume broadcasting. In 2001 the second of WMVR-AM's three tower array was dismantled leaving the final tower up leaving speculation that the AM license was surrendered to the FCC...hence WMVR now remains a stand-alone FM. (FCC rules do not allow AM stations to return to the air after a considerable period of time of being silent without a Special Temporary Authorization and license renewal being granted by the Commission.)

After a long illness, Dean Miller died January 13, 2004, at his home in Grosse Pointe, Michiganmarker and is buried at Graceland Cemetery in Sidney. His widow Ida, now owns the remaining FM station.

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