|City of license||Hackensack, New Jersey|
|Broadcast area||New York metropolitan area|
|Branding||AM 970, The Answer|
|Slogan||News. Opinion. Passion.|
|First air date||1926|
|ERP||50,000 watts day
5,000 watts night
|Callsign meaning||W New York Metro|
|Former callsigns||WAAT (1926–1958)
|Affiliations||Salem Radio Network
Fox News Radio
(Salem Media of New York, LLC)
WNYM (970 AM) is a radio station licensed to Hackensack, New Jersey and serving the New York metropolitan area. WNYM is owned by Salem Communications and broadcasts a conservative-leaning, talk radio format. The station's studios are in Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey with co-owned WMCA (570 AM), and WNYM's transmitters are based in Hackensack.
The station signed on in 1926 as WAAT and was founded by the Bremer Broadcasting Company. WAAT originally broadcast on 1270 AM, and changed frequencies several times (moving to 1070 in 1928, 940 in 1930) before settling on 970 kHz in 1941, as per the North American Radio Broadcasting Agreement. In 1947 Bremer launched an FM adjunct, WAAT-FM (94.7, now WNSH), and the following year a sister television station, WATV began broadcasts on channel 13. In 1951 the stations were sold to Irving Rosenhaus; WAAT evolved to a middle of the road music format by the 1950s, similar to what WNEW, WOR, and WCBS were doing at that time. WAAT later attempted a country music format, the first in the New York area. In 1957 the WAAT/WATV operation was sold by Bremer to National Telefilm Associates, who changed the station's call letters to WNTA.
Country music years
National Telefilm split up its holdings in 1961, with WNTA-TV (now WNET) being sold to a New York City-based nonprofit educational group, and the WNTA radio stations going to Communications Industries Broadcasting. The new owners changed the calls to WJRZ and retained the MOR format until September 15, 1965, when WJRZ became the first radio station in the New York metro area to play a country music format 24 hours a day. Not long after, the station moved its transmitter site and changed its city of license from Newark to Hackensack. WJRZ was the flagship radio outlet for the New York Mets from 1967 until 1971. Station personality Bob Brown hosted the Mets pre- and post-game shows, and built an audience with his genial manner, call-in shows, and "Mets Manager for a Play" contest.
The station had a serious fire that destroyed their studios in a house on Hackensack Avenue in North Hackensack, New Jersey on October 17, 1970; the station operated out of a prefab building near their transmitter site for a period of time afterward.
Top 40 years
WJRZ was sold to Pacific and Southern Broadcasting (forerunner of Combined Communications Corporation) on January 6, 1971. It changed its call letters on May 16 of that year and became WWDJ, known on the air as "97-DJ", attempting to take on WABC and replace WMCA as the New York market's second Top 40 outlet. For a brief time, program director Mark Driscoll began imaging the station as "9-J", giving rise to a recorded parody of the station called "Nine" produced by a group that included future disk jockeys Howard Hoffman and Randy West.
The station was hampered by a directional signal that covered Manhattan and parts of New Jersey well but suffered in the rest of the Five Boroughs and was virtually nonexistent on Long Island and western New Jersey. Eventually, FM competition from WCBS-FM and adult top 40 station WXLO (now WEPN-FM), and an evolution to adult Top 40 by WNBC (now WFAN), began to eat into WWDJ's ratings. In November 1973 it was ranked 15th in the Arbitron ratings.
Becoming a religious station
By 1974, the station was losing money and unable to sell enough advertising, and the studios had been moved to the transmitter site. As a result, WWDJ dropped the top 40 format on April 1, 1974, and switched to a religious format. Because the change took place on April Fool's Day, many listeners thought the switch was some sort of joke. Initially, WWDJ sold two-thirds of its daily airtime to outside ministries and played traditional Christian music the rest of the time, with the exception of a few hours on Saturdays devoted to a then-new genre, contemporary Christian music. After Combined Communications was merged into the Gannett Company in 1979, WWDJ was spun-off to Communicom Corporation of America.
By the late 1970s the music during the week was a mix of traditional and soft contemporary. By 1981, the music was adult contemporary Christian and evolved to contemporary Christian by 1984. The station still only played music part-time. They continued with the contemporary Christian music/teaching/preaching format throughout the 1980s and into the 1990s, with Frank Reed (formerly of WNBC) handling mornings.
In 1993, WWDJ was sold to Salem Communications, which since 1989 has owned WMCA, initially retaining its studios on Main Street in Hackensack. As WMCA ran Christian talk and teaching, it was thought that WWDJ would move to music full time with specialty Christian music programming on weekends, but this did not happen.
Later religious years
In the fall of 1995, the amount of listeners to the contemporary Christian music dropped. The station's other programming expanded, with music during morning and afternoon drive time hours on weekdays. The announcers were laid off and the station revamped the format to a rhythmic Christian music format. This employed contemporary uptempo praise & worship music, gospel music, and light contemporary Christian songs. They positioned themselves as "The Sound of Praise and Celebration".
This format continued until 2004, when the music was dropped and WWDJ moved to a Christian brokered format. Around this time, Pillar of Fire Church-owned WAWZ (99.1 FM) in Zarephath dropped all but a few religious programs to play contemporary Christian music 18 hours a day, and Salem picked up many bumped shows; this caused Salem to decide to air programming full time on WWDJ. For about two years, the station billed itself WMCA II all the time, with the WWDJ call letters used only in the hourly station identification. The station's on-air identity reverted to 970 DJ by 2007, but programming continued to be overflow programs from WMCA, as well as some syndicated mostly-secular personalities such as Laura Schlessinger and Kevin McCullough. They also broadcast infomercials and church services, as well as 30- and 60-minute religious shows.
Becoming a talk station
On July 25, 2008, WWDJ swapped callsigns with a sister station in the Boston area and became WTTT. After stunting for several days with all-Frank Sinatra ("Frank 97 AM") and all-Pat Boone ("The Booner 970") formats, the WTTT call letters were replaced with WNYM on August 6, 2008, and the format changed to conservative talk, along with a Fox News affiliation. The station airs most of the general-market slate of the Salem Radio Network, including William Bennett, Mike Gallagher, Dennis Prager, Michael Medved and Hugh Hewitt, along with Westwood One-syndicated Dennis Miller. Curtis Sliwa joined the station in December 2009; he presently hosts morning and afternoon drive programs, co-hosting with former New York Governor David Paterson in afternoons.
WNYM is the New York City-area affiliate of Syracuse University athletics. In addition, as of 2013 WNYM also broadcasts Seton Hall University basketball, as well as games that would normally air on WFAN and WEPN-FM due to programming conflicts.
- "WAAT, WATV (TV) sold to NTA for $3.5 million." Broadcasting, October 7, 1957, pg. 9. 
- "NTA Newark purchase gets FCC's approval." Broadcasting, April 7, 1958, pg. 64. 
- "Changing Hands." Broadcasting, November 6, 1961, pg. 78
- "For the record." Broadcasting, April 2, 1962, pg. 129
- ReelRadio: The Jay Philpott Collection, which includes a section devoted to "Nine". Retrieved 2010-10-07.
- All Access Mentions The Booner Nine Hundred Seventy
- WNYM Website
- Query the FCC's AM station database for WNYM
- Radio-Locator Information on WNYM
- Query Nielsen Audio's AM station database for WNYM