WCLV, Cleveland's classical music radio station was launched on 1 Nov. 1962, following the purchase of WDGO-FM from Douglas G. Oviatt. New owners C. K. Patrick and Robt. Conrad of Radio Seaway, Inc., immediately changed the call letters to WCLV, broadcasting at 95.5 megacycles. Originally located in the Eastgate Shopping Ctr., the station moved its studios and transmitter to the TERMINAL TOWER, in 1968. In 1986 WCLV opened a new studio-transmitter complex in WARRENSVILLE HTS., from which it broadcast at 37,000 watts. Translator stations in Wooster, OH, and Erie, PA, extended the station's range. C. J. Patrick retired as president in 1992 to become chairman of the board; Robt. Conrad succeeded him as president.
In 1965 WCLV began broadcasting CLEVELAND ORCHESTRA concerts and, several years later, picked up Metropolitan Opera broadcasts. The City Club Forum (see CITY CLUB OF CLEVELAND), previously carried by WGAR and WJW (see WRMR), also came to WCLV and continues (as of 2020) to be Cleveland's longest-running radio program. WCLV later began producing taped programs for syndication to other stations. Foremost among these were the Cleveland Orchestra performances, distributed to more than 500 radio stations. Other programs syndicated by WCLV included "Salzburg Festival," "The Detroit Symphony," "Adventures in Good Music" (with Karl Haas) and the aforementioned City Club Forum. Another advance emanating from the station's close relationship with the Cleveland Orchestra was the annual “Cleveland Orchestra Marathon,” which WCLV initiated in 1970. Since that time, tens of millions of dollars have been raised and the station has participated in hundreds of similar fund-raising events for other orchestras, arts groups and public radio stations.
In 2001, less than a year after moving to 104.9 FM on the radio dial, the station became part of the non-profit WCLV Foundation. Radio Seaway retained the license, with the WCLV Foundation handling day-to-day operations. Nine years later the WCLV studios moved from Warrensville Heights to the Idea Center at Playhouse Square, home to WVIZ and NPR affiliate WCPN. In 2011 Radio Seaway donated WCLV to WVIZ and WCPN's owner, Ideastream. The next year, WCLV officially became part of Ideastream. Commercial operations continued until 2013, when WCLV became a non-commercial, public radio station.
As of 2020 WCLV continues to be Cleveland's principal fine-arts radio outlet with Robt. Conrad at the helm.
Updated by Christopher Roy