Dallas’ WRR classical music radio station is unique for a number of reasons: It was the first licensed radio station in Texas, the first west of the Mississippi River, and it’s owned by the City of Dallas.
“It’s celebrating its 100th anniversary. It’s a really historic and wonderful asset. But yes, unique,” said Jennifer Scripps, Director of Dallas’ Arts and Culture Department.
WRR’s studios are in Fair Park, the grounds of the 1936 World’s Fair — now the Texas State Fairgrounds and thereby close to the tallest of all Texans.
“It really is in the shadow of Big Tex and the shadow of the Cotton Bowl and all the wonderful institutions of Fair Park,” she said.
WRR, 101.1 FM, signed on to make police and fire transmissions. But in subsequent decades, as more Americans bought radios, WRR began broadcasting a wide array of radio dramas of the era.
Finally in 1964, WRR settled into a classical music format — where it’s been ever since. Unlike other city departments though, WRR doesn’t have a place in the budget. Their operating expenses for an eight-person staff hover between $1.8 and 2 million a year, and they pay their own way.
“WRR is able to sell advertisements and they are expected to break even,” Scripps said.