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WCHB AM1340 logo.png
City Royal Oak, Michigan
Broadcast area Detroit area
Branding AM 1340
Slogan Detroit's Gospel Station
Frequency 1340 kHz (also on HD Radio)
Translator(s) 96.7 W244DL (Detroit)
First air date 1924 (as WAGM)
Format Urban Gospel
Power 1,000 watts day
1,000 watts night
Class C
Facility ID 61679
Transmitter coordinates 42°28′10.00″N 83°6′54.00″W / 42.4694444°N 83.1150000°W / 42.4694444; -83.1150000
Callsign meaning Wendell Cox & Haley Bell
Former callsigns WAGM (1924-1931)
WEXL (1931-2017)
Owner Crawford Broadcasting
(WMUZ Radio, Inc.)
Sister stations WMUZ, WMUZ-FM, WRDT
Webcast Listen Live
Website wchb1340.com

WCHB is an Urban Gospel station at 1340 AM licensed to Royal Oak, Michigan and broadcasting in the Detroit area. It's known as AM 1340 WCHB and owned by Crawford Broadcasting with WMUZ-FM 103.5 FM and WRDT 560 AM. WCHB broadcasts in the HD format.[1]


WCHB was originally known as WAGM. Some sources claim it went on the air sometime in 1924;[2] others give a debut as August 19, 1926. Local newspapers and national magazines give the date as early December 1925.[3] The original owners of WAGM were a father and son—Alexander G. Miller (a former mayor of Royal Oak), and his oldest son Robert. The two also operated the A.G. Miller Furniture and Radio Shop.[4] The WAGM call letters were requested; they stood for the initials of Alexander G. Miller. In its first several years, the station had 50 watts and broadcast three nights a week.[5]

WAGM was sold to Rev. Jacob B. Spark circa 1929, and it returned to the air using the call letters WEXL ("We Excel") in early 1931.[6] The station carved out a niche with local, block-programmed variety programming, including country music aimed at men who migrated from the southern United States to work in Detroit's automobile assembly plants. After a brief period as a Top 40 station with limited success, WEXL expanded its country music programming to a 24-hour format in 1963, the first station in metro Detroit to do so. The station was successful for a number of years; a 1966 Billboard magazine poll showed WEXL as the most influential country station in the southeastern Michigan area by far([1]). However, the station got competition in 1970 when WJBK-AM 1500 flipped from Top 40 to hit-based country as WDEE (now WLQV), and in 1974 WEXL dropped country music in favor of religious programming. Current owner Crawford Broadcasting acquired WEXL in 1997 and changed the station's format from a combination of Christian and motivational talk to Urban Gospel.

It was at WEXL in 1962 that 16-year-old staff engineer Ed Wolfrum incorporated his newly created passive direct interface box – later known at the "Wolfbox" when he went to "Motown" – as an interface from the high-impedance output of church PA systems to the microphone input of broadcast audio mixers. This "DI unit" later influenced what became known at "The Motown Sound" as a more transparent alternative to recording instrument amplifiers.

In 2016, WEXL added a low-powered FM translator on sister station WMUZ's tower, broadcasting on 96.7 MHz at 99 watts. The signal is highly directional to the north, to protect the vastly more powerful CHYR-FM in Leamington, Ontario, and WNUC-LP to the east, both of which are also on 96.7 MHz.

On October 1, 2017, WEXL changed their call letters to WCHB.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ https://hdradio.com/station_guides/widget.php?latitude=42.322261810303&longitude=-83.176307678223 HD Radio Guide for Detroit
  2. ^ E. Dale Lee. "Inside Business: WEXL-AM." Royal Oak (MI) Daily Tribune, June 14, 1985, p. 5.
  3. ^ "Nine New Stations Listed Last Week." Omaha (NE) World Herald, December 13, 1925, p. E13.
  4. ^ "A.G. Miller Dies at Age 65." Royal Oak (MI) Daily Tribune, February 26, 1943, pp. 1,8.
  5. ^ "Radiophone Broadcasting Stations." Radio Digest, January 15, 1927, p. 11.
  6. ^ "A.G. Miller Dies at Age 65." Royal Oak (MI) Daily Tribune, February 26, 1943, pp. 1,8.

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