VOWR-AM, Religious, St. John’s

Wesley United Church

VOWR-AM19798005,000/2,500Wesley United Church
VOWR-AM19548001,000Wesley United Church
VOWR-AM1942700500Wesley United Church
VOWR-AM1936681500Wesley United Church
VOWR-AM1933900500Wesley United Church
VOWR-AM1932675500Wesley United Church
8WMC-AM1930720500Wesley United Church


Reverend Dr. Joseph G. Joyce, born in Carbonear Newfoundland and later of Verdun, Quebec, and a minister at Wesley Methodist Church in St. John’s, put 8WMC (Calls for Wesley Methodist Church) on the air July 24. The station operated with 100 watts of power. The original studio was located in the church on Patrick Street. The antenna consisted of two 100 foot high wooden poles located in the church yard. 8WMC started out broadcasting Sunday morning and evening church services only. Joyce opened the station because he wanted to overcome ill-health and the poor weather conditions that sometimes prevented people from attending the church.


Power increased from 100 watts to 500 watts.


The Board of Wesley Church assumed control of 8WMC from Reverend Joyce and appointed a Board of Directors to oversee station operations. 

8WMC was operating on a frequency of 720 kHz with power of 500 watts.


The station was now on a frequency of 675 kHz with 500 watts of power.


8WMC became VOWR on December 12. The VOWR call letters: Voice of Wesley Radio.


VOWR was now operating on 900 kHz with 500 watts. 


The station was now on 681 kHz with power of 500 watts. 


Under the Havana Treaty VOWR was to move to 600 kHz (Class III-B) with power of 500 watts as of March 29.


Power remained 500 watts but VOWR was now on the 700 kHz frequency. 


Newfoundland joined Confederation as a province of Canada. Despite being owned by a religious organization and having a religious format, VOWR was allowed to remain on the air – with the “V” call sign.

The CBC recommended for denial the transfer of licence for VOWR and permission to operate the station commercially between 10 a.m. and midnight. A power increase was also denied.


VOWR received CBC approval to move from 600 to 800 kHz and to increase power from 500 to 1,000 watts.


VOWR purchased 32 acres of land on Mt. Scio, overlooking the City. In July, the station began transmitting from a new antenna at this location with a power of 1,000 watts. 

The frequency changed from 700 kHz to 800 kHz. 


VOWR was an independent non-commercial station with no network affiliation. It was owned by Wesley Church Radio Board which was owned by Wesley United Church, St. John’s, Newfoundland.


VOWR lent its transmitting facility to CBN 640 for a month or so after that station’s antenna toppled in a sleet storm. Later in the year, CBN provided VOWR with materials to construct a temporary antenna when VOWR’s 215 foot tower was damaged in a wind storm.

Sunday was the station’s most listened to day with church services of all denominations broadcast throughout the day. Special features include hospital patient announcements, hospital graduating exercises, college speeches and debates, children’s programs, hymns and music. VOWR was financed entirely by goodwill offerings, radio auctions and home delivery of turkey teas. The staff was made up fully of volunteers. 


New studios were constructed at the church.

Rev. Joyce, founder of VOWR died in North Carolina. 


On October 18, Wesley United Church Radio Board had its application for a new FM station denied. The denial came because of the long standing policy of not granting licences to religious organizations.


At this time, VOWR was on the air weekdays from 7:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m., from 1 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. on Saturdays, and all day on Sundays. VOWR was managed by a staff of 25-30 volunteers.


VOWR received approval to increase power from 1,000 watts full-time to 5,000 watts day and 2,500 watts at night. 


The power increase approved the previous year went into effect. The same transmitter site was used with one 200 foot tower. 


On June 29, VOWR was granted ain increase in daytime power, from 5,000 watts to 10,000 watts. Night-time power would remain at 2,500 watts.


VOWR was broadcasting 65 hours a week.


Broadcasting increased to106 hours a week.


VOWR began broadcasting 24 hours a day.


Everett Hudson, 86, died. He had volunteered at VOWR for over 50 years, starting in 1946. He held the PD job from his first day through his retirement. Although ill, he was a member of VOWR’s board of directors up to his passing.


On December 16 the CRTC renewed VOWR’s licence until August 31, 2012. This short term renewal would enable the Commission to assess at an earlier date the licensee’s compliance with the requirements relating to the filing of annual returns. Conditions: The licensee should, as an exception to the percentage of Canadian musical selections set out in sections 2.2(8) and 2.2(9) of the Radio Regulations, 1986 (the Regulations), in any broadcast week where at least 90% of musical selections from content category 2 that it broadcast were selections released before 1 January 1981: a) in that broadcast week, devote 30% or more of its musical selections from content category 2 to Canadian selections broadcast in their entirety; and b) between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m., in the period beginning on Monday of that week and ending on Friday of the same broadcast week, devote 30% or more of its musical selections from content category 2 to Canadian selections broadcast in their entirety.


On June 22, the CRTC administratively renewed the licence for VOWR until November 30, 2012. On October 22, the licence was renewed to August 31, 2015. This short-term renewal would allow for an earlier review of the licensee’s compliance with the regulatory requirement relating to the filing of annual returns set out in the Radio Regulations, 1986.

The story continues elsewhere…
Effective September 1st 2019, we will only be adding new material to these station histories in exceptional circumstances. Our intent to chronicle the early days of these radio and television stations has been achieved, and many new sources and technologies, from the CRTC website to Wikipedia, and others, are now regularly providing new information in these areas.

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