SIDNEY — WMVR has changed ownership.
Friday morning, long-time employee and current General Manager Michelle Stallard purchased the station from Dean Miller Broadcasting. The station’s license transfer was granted on May 17 by the Federal Communications Commission to Fender Broadcasting. Fender Broadcasting is solely owned by Stallard.
“Purchasing WMVR is a dream come true,” Stallard said. “In fact, it still feels surreal. When I was very young, I remember my father driving down Russell Road and pointing out the radio station. I knew then that someday I wanted to work there, but I never dreamed that I would someday own the station.
“Fender Broadcasting is named in his honor,” Stallard said, “and in recognition of all that he taught me.”
“When we decided to sell the station,” Toni Stuhlmueller McGill said, “we wanted the station to remain locally owned and operated. Michelle’s love for WMVR and her desire to keep the station locally owned and operated made her the perfect candidate for ownership.
“My father always believed that local ownership of the station was essential,” McGill continued. “Local ownership helps guarantee the station serves the community and the surrounding area.”
Stallard was born and raised in Sidney, graduating from Sidney High School in 1987. She and her husband Tim are residents of Sidney.
WMVR began broadcasting on Nov. 21, 1963. At that time, it was owned and operated by the Van Wert Broadcasting Corporation. Van Wert Broadcasting also operated WERT in Van Wert. Prior to WMVR’s establishment, there were only two radio stations serving the Upper Miami Valley.
WMVR’s original studios and offices were located on the second floor of the former Taylor Hardware Building at the corner of North Main Avenue and East Poplar Street in downtown Sidney. The transmitters and three towers were located near the intersection of Russell and Kuther Roads.
An FM sister station, WMVR-FM 105.5, was launched in 1965. Both stations were sold to the Dean Miller Broadcasting Corporation in 1966. Three years later, the studios were moved to the transmitter site on Russell Road.
An Ohio native, Dean (Stuhlmueller) Miller was a television personality and Hollywood actor. His connection to Sidney was through his wife, the former Ida Wagner.
In November 2000, the station became FM only. The AM tower was toppled in a storm and never reconstructed.
Dean Miller passed away in 2004, and his wife, became the sole owner. When Ida Wagner Stuhlmueller died in 2014, the ownership of the station passed to the Stuhlmueller children. Dean Stuhlmueller Jr. and Toni Stuhlmueller continued to operate the station from their homes in Michigan.
Despite the fact that the station had been such an important part of their lives, the passage of time caused them to realize they could no longer devote the time to the station that it required. In 2020, they asked their cousin, Steve Wagner, to serve as the station’s general manager. Wagner had served on the station’s board of directors for some years.
In recent months, they began searching for another leader who would carry on the tradition of local ownership. They believe Stallard is the perfect fit.
“I am honored that Toni and Dean have entrusted me with something so very dear to their hearts,” Stallard said. “I hope to make them proud of my work by carrying on their father and mother’s tradition of keeping the station’s programming local and the station involved in the community.
“An important part of my work in the past has been as charity and promotions manager,” Stallard said. “Working with such a generous and caring community has been most rewarding. When the non-profits partner with WMVR, they share the good wotk that they do with our listeners, and that benefits everyone.”
“Having had the opportunity to work closely with Michelle over the course of the past several months,” Wagner said, “it became clear to me that her passion for local programming and her desire to serve the Upper Miami Valley will serve Sidney and Shelby County well. Certainly I wish her continued success as she strives to serve the nine-county area WMVR reaches.””
“I want to especially thank Steve and Cheryl Wagner,” Stallard said. “They have been so helpful over the course of the past several months. I also want to thank team members Tracy Kies and Derek Olding. I could not do what I love without them.”