WJR

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The abbreviation WJR may also refer to World Junior Records in athletics or World Jewish Relief, a British charitable organisation. For the former WJR-FM, see WDVD.
WJR
WJR logo.png
City of license Detroit, Michigan
Broadcast area Metro Detroit, Southeast Michigan and parts of Northern Ohio [1]
Branding NewsTalk 760 WJR
Slogan "The Great Voice of the Great Lakes"
"From the Golden Tower of the Fisher Building"
Frequency 760 kHz (also on HD Radio)
First air date May 4, 1922
Format News/Talk/Sports
Power 50,000 watts
Class A (clear channel)
Facility ID 8626
Transmitter coordinates 42°10′5″N 83°12′54″W / 42.16806°N 83.21500°W / 42.16806; -83.21500
Callsign meaning Jewett Radio & Phonograph Co. (original owners)
Former callsigns WCX (1922-1925)
Affiliations ABC News
Channel 7 (ABC)
Premiere Radio Networks
Michigan State Spartans Sports Network (flagship)
Owner Cumulus Media
(Radio License Holding I, LLC)
Sister stations WDRQ, WDVD
Webcast Listen Live
Website wjr.com

WJR (760 AM) is a radio station in Detroit, Michigan, United States. It broadcasts a news/talk format. It is a class A clear channel station whose broadcasts can be heard throughout most of the eastern half of North America at night, making it one of the most powerful radio stations in the United States. Its daytime signal provides at least secondary coverage as far as Dayton, Ohio and Erie, Pennsylvania; under the right conditions it reaches as far west as South Bend, Indiana and as far east as Buffalo, New York. At night, WJR can be heard clearly in Marengo, Iowa and marginally in Dallas, Texas.

News/Talk 760 is the home of morning personality Paul W. Smith, the flagship station of drive home personality Mitch Albom and Michigan State Spartans athletics, and is the highest rated talk station in Michigan. It is the Detroit outlet for Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage, Mark Levin, Bob Brinker, Adam Bold and Red Eye Radio.

Studios and Transmitter[edit]

WJR's transmitter building[2] and broadcast tower are located in Riverview, Michigan, in what is considered "one of the best Art Deco transmitter buildings ever."[3] Its studios are located in the Fisher Building in downtown Detroit. A tower atop the Fisher Building is used for transmitting WJR's audio to the transmitter; at one time WJR-FM (currently WDVD) used that tower for broadcasting its signal.

History[edit]

WJR began as WCX on May 4, 1922, owned by the Detroit Free Press newspaper, operating at 580 kHz from the Free Press building. It shared this frequency with WWJ, another station owned by the Detroit News newspaper. On December 8, 1924, WCX opened studios atop the new Book-Cadillac Hotel in downtown Detroit, with transmitter facilities on the roof. Hometown poet Edgar A. Guest and the Jean Goldkette orchestra participated in the program.

In 1925, WCX was bought by the Jewett Radio & Phonograph Company in Pontiac, Michigan. Sometime thereafter the station became known as WCX/WJR. Also by 1925, WWJ was at 850 kHz, and both stations were broadcasting at 5000 watts of power. On November 11, 1928, it moved to 750 AM as a result of the FRC's General Order 40.

On December 16, 1928, the station moved from the newspaper's offices to its current location in the Fisher Building. It began identifying as "WJR Detroit, from the Golden Tower of the Fisher Building," which soon became famous across the country (and is still used to this day). Goodwill Stations Inc., formed by George A. Richards (who also owned the Detroit Lions), acquired WJR in 1929, and it became known as "The Goodwill Station" (along with WGAR in Cleveland and KMPC in Los Angeles). WCX ceased to exist, as all the assets were acquired by WJR. In 1931, the station raised its power to 10,000 watts; four years later, it would broadcast at 50,000 watts. On March 29, 1941, WJR moved from 750 to 760 kHz in accordance to the NARBA frequency reallocations. Before North American Radio Broadcasting Agreement of 1941, 750 kHz was a clear channel under 1928 rules.

The Fisher Building, a National Historic site in the City's New Center area, is home to the Fisher Theatre, with the WJR radio antenna

Richards died in May 1951, and in 1964, Goodwill Stations was sold to Capital Cities Communications, which later merged with ABC and later with the Walt Disney Company. Upon the sale, WJR's air slogan became "The Great Voice of the Great Lakes," which is also still in use today. Also in 1964, WJR acquired full rights to Detroit Tigers baseball games, with announcers Ernie Harwell and George Kell, who had begun broadcasting Tiger games in 1960. Previously, WJR had carried only night games with day games on WKMH and WJBK. The station became the flagship of the "Tiger Baseball Network." In the late 1960s, WJR also became the flagship station for Detroit Red Wings hockey and Detroit Pistons basketball.

The station is also remembered among many Metro Detroiters for its advertising campaigns and jingles including "W-J-R ... Radio 76 ... Cares About Detroit." Another: "This is America's finest - AM stereo 76." Regularly on his show, J.P. McCarthy would state in a nonchalant way "This is the world's greatest radio station, WJR Detroit," with a manner that made it seem like the most obvious of facts. WJR broadcast in "AM Stereo" from 1982 to 2006, and was received in (C-Quam) stereo AM at great distances at night. WJR's Detroit Tigers home games were broadcast in stereo, as were the Thanksgiving Day Parades.

Most of WJR's broadcast studios, along with its newsroom and offices, are in the Fisher Building. The station also has a satellite studio in the Wintergarden of the GM Renaissance Center in downtown Detroit. In addition to JP McCarthy, other WJR personalities included Jimmy Launce, Warren Pierce, Muttay Gula, Joel Alexander, Jay Roberts and many others. WJR Program Directors during the Capital Cities era included Joe Bacarella, Curt Hahn and AC radio consultant Gary Berkowitz.

WJR signed on an FM outlet in 1948 at 96.3 MHz. The station was known as WJR-FM until 1982 when it became WHYT. It is now WDVD.

For many years, WJR was a powerhouse in Michigan sports radio. However, in recent years, the station lost the flagship rights to the Detroit Tigers and Detroit Red Wings, both of whom moved to WXYT. Then, in 2005, the 30-year-old flagship relationship with the Michigan Wolverines' football and basketball programs were dropped due to WJR signing a flagship rights deal with the Michigan State Spartans.

Early in the summer of 2006, WJR management announced several program changes, some of which still can't be streamed live on the WJR website at the request of the program distributors, and also programming may be pre-empted due to special events or sports programming.

Current programming[edit]

In 2005, WJR signed a five-year contract with the Michigan State Spartans, whose flagship had been WJR prior to 1976. When asked why the switch occurred, WJR responded that Michigan's football broadcasts brought in listeners 13 days a year with meager ratings for the basketball broadcasts. In contrast, WJR is gambling on Spartan basketball to bring in a higher number of listeners.

WJR has dropped much, but not all, of its news programming (mainly during the overnight period) leaving WWJ as the main AM source for radio news in southeast Michigan. Music programming on WJR has also been phased out almost entirely over the past two decades. Middle-of-the-road and adult contemporary music was for decades an integral part of WJR's broadcast day; as of July 2006, the only music-oriented show on the station is the Renfro Valley Gatherin', aired early Sunday mornings. WJR's current schedule is made up of nationally syndicated conservative personalities such as Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage, Mark Levin, and Adam Bold. WJR is the flagship station of author and Detroit Free Press columnist Mitch Albom's radio show.

In October 2006, after spending 4 successful year's at WJR and starting the new call-in show, "Home Improvement with Murray Gula" show Murray Gula signed with WXYZ Channel 7 Detroit for the "Lunch With Murray" show, a live webcast call in show from the Studios of WXYZ. Murray Gula also signed at WDFN Clear Channel Detroit for "Your Home With Murray Gula" to replace the Handyman Show with Glenn Haege. Several months later, WJR picked up the nationally syndicated Handyman Show with Glenn Haege, which originates from Detroit, and previously aired on WXYT and WDFN. The Handyman Show is a nationally syndicated show, originating from WJR's own studios, as is also the case with several other weekend shows such as The C.A.R. Show and The Real Estate Insiders.

WJR was sold with other ABC Radio stations to Citadel Broadcasting in January 2006. Citadel merged with Cumulus Media on September 16, 2011.[4]

WJR tried AM-HD Radio for about a two-year period (2006–2008) (also on 93.1 WDRQ's FM-HD subchannel), eventually eliminating night time AM-HD radio use, then dropping AM-HD radio broadcasts completely, returning to their 50,000 watt analog broadcasting only. It is hoped that WJR might return to stereo AM broadcasts once again, as their 50KW AM sister station, WLS Chicago, broadcasts in C-QUAM stereo.

WJR currently ranks at #6 (4.9) in the Detroit market according to the March 2010 PPM ratings release after many years atop the ratings prior to PPM.

Personalities at WJR[edit]

Trivia[edit]

In the movie Edison, The Man, Spencer Tracy, who played the role of Thomas Edison addresses the radio audience at a dinner being held in Edison's honor. There are 3 microphones which he talks into. WJR is labeled on the middle microphone. The scene depicts the 50th anniversary of the invention of the incandescent light bulb and the dedication of the Edison Institute (also known as the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village) in suburban Dearborn, Michigan.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]