This year commemorates the 70th anniversary of when Beaver County’s first radio station, WBVP, was heard over the airwaves for the the first time on May 25, 1948. To mark the historical event, each week, another “70th Anniversary Moment” will be showcased on the airwaves and published on the station’s online feeds.
They say that in real estate, location is everything. The statement might also be true in respect to pro football. Because of where the stations are located, WBVP and WMBA have had the advantage of serving a market rich in football tradition, and football championships, specifically, NFL Championships. The stations have been a part of or carried all eight of the Pittsburgh Steelers Superbowl appearances. Considering that there are radio stations in say, Cleveland, or Detroit that are still waiting for their first chance to cover the home team on football’s biggest stage, that is quite an accomplishment.
In addition to covering the Steelers’ championship runs, WBVP was also a New York Jets affiliate in the late sixties when home town hero and Beaver Falls native Joe Namath made history with the now famous “guaranteed” victory over the Baltimore Colts in Superbowl III. In that era, Jets games were carried on WBVP, and the Steelers games were broadcast on sister F.M. station at the time, WWKS 106.7 F.M.
WMBA was not left out of the picture. During the Steelers’ earlier championships in the 1970’s, sportscaster and Program Director at the time, Bill Fontana, would travel to the big games and broadcast Steelers reports and provide special hometown coverage of the team on the Ambridge radio station.
In more recent days, Superbowl coverage has become more than just one day’s worth of activities. Pep rallies and live broadcasts designed to serve as fan gatherings throughout the week leading up to kick off became a popular way that WBVP and WMBA took advantage of being part of a winning team. On January 20, 2006, huge crowds of fans gathered at the Beaver County Courthouse steps to take part in a Steelers pep rally live broadcast on WBVP and WMBA prior to the AFC Championship Game that year against the Denver Broncos. Steelers reporter Bill DiFabio attended the gathering and arranged for a live phone call hook up with a reporter from a Denver radio station that was broadcast over WBVP and WMBA and played for the crowd on site that day. Two weeks later, on February 3, 2006, a massive Steelers pep rally was hosted by WBVP and WMBA at J.R.’s Beer Warehouse in East Rochester prior to the Black and Gold’s victorious trip to Superbowl 40 against the Seattle Seahawks.
“70th Anniversary Moments” is presented by Freedom United Federal Credit Union.