|City||Niagara Falls, New York|
|Broadcast area||Western New York|
|Branding||Old Time Rock & Roll|
|First air date||1947|
|Power||1,000 watts day|
55 watts night
|Callsign meaning||W John J. Laux|
The station's founder
|Owner||M. John Phillips |
(M. J. Phillips Communications, Inc.)
WJJL (1440 AM) is a radio station primarily broadcasting a 1950s music (oldies) format. Licensed to Niagara Falls, New York, United States, the station serves the Niagara Falls and Buffalo area. The station is currently owned by M. J. Phillips Communications, Inc.
WJJL went on the air in December 1947, and it serves Western New York and Southern Ontario, Canada. An 18-year-old aspiring country musician named Ramblin' Lou Schriver was one of the station's first on-air personalities; he eventually earned fame in the Buffalo area and bought his own station, WXRL, in 1970. WJJL was the first radio station to feature a two-way telephone talk show, Party Line. The show was renamed Viewpoint in the 1960s and is currently maintained weekday mornings by longtime Niagara Falls fixture and former news director Tom Darro. Mr. Darro hosts a recorded music program preceding it which includes a reading of a list of public service announcements of events occurring in Niagara Falls.
In the station's heyday, it was never a top-notch station (when compared to the big legendary AMs in nearby Buffalo, such as WKBW, WBEN, WEBR, and WGR). However, it was a launching pad for many future top talents. These include former News Director and Viewpoint host Dave McKinley, now an Emmy Award-winning reporter for WGRZ-TV in Buffalo. John Murphy, the current radio voice of the Buffalo Bills, worked there early in his career, as did long-time WJYE/Buffalo Program Director/Morning Host Joe Chile, and national voice-over artist Jeff Lawrence. Former WGN Radio-Chicago VP/General Manager Tom Langmyer worked there as a summer fill-in personality, news reporter and anchor while in college. Other noted WJJL alumni include WBEN talk show host Tom Bauerle, WBEN Reporter Dave Debo, Tony Magoo, John Jarrett, Jon Park, David J. Miller, Bob O'Neil, WKBW-TV Anchor Melanie Pritchard, WGR's Howard Simon, former WIVB-TV personality Craig Nigrelli (now in Omaha), and Cumulus Media Networks, Red Eye Radio, Nationally Syndicated Talk Host and former WBEN Talk Host Gary McNamara.
A studio fire at the station's Niagara Falls headquarters in 1999 necessitated a move out of Niagara Falls to West Seneca. In June 2009, WJJL's morning show started broadcasting from a satellite studio in the Niagara Arts and Cultural Center in Niagara Falls.
From 2000 to 2009, WJJL broadcast weekly games of the City of Buffalo Public School's Harvard Cup football league. These broadcasts featured Rich Kozak on play-by-play, Hall of Fame Coach Art Serotte, and sideline reporter Dr. John Pluta. The Harvard Cup championship was traditionally played on Thanksgiving. WJJL continues its weekly coverage of Western New York High School Football with the "Intense Milks" Game of the Week still focusing on the teams of the former Harvard Cup League. Kozak, Serotte, Pluta, and analyst Roger Weiss continue as part of the broadcast crew.
The station's owner is M.J. Phillips. A woman who identified herself as "Joann Nicola Lutz Distefano Phillips", an Internet troll who briefly hosted a show on WJJL in 1997 and is known for her bizarre screeds on radio message boards, has repeatedly claimed to be the owner of the station, as well as M.J.'s ex-wife, and tried to take over the station's license by filing parallel license renewals listing herself as the station owner. The FCC has consistently rejected Joann's filings, including attempts in 2004, 2007, 2011 and 2017. Distefano, according to Phillips's attorney, has been using the false filings and vexatious litigation to get back at Phillips over her dismissal; as of 2012, she was last known to be living in a shelter for the mentally ill in Brooklyn.
- "WJJL Facility Record". United States Federal Communications Commission, audio division.
- http://buffalo.com/2016/01/18/featured/138184/[permanent dead link]
- Continelli, Louise (2009-05-24). "Talk show host likes to listen to callers". Buffalo News.
- "Summit Mall Merchants Find New Homes". Archived from the original on 2011-07-08.
- City broadcasts, sadly, will be silenced. The Buffalo News. Retrieved October 12, 2011.
- Message board post by "Joann"
- Fybush, Scott (2007-07-02). Emotional signoff for WBZ's Sullivan. NorthEast Radio Watch. Retrieved 2010-04-10.
- FCC ruling on WJJL license renewal attempt by "Joann"
- 2004 Dismissed license renewal application by "Joann"
- "FCC recorded listing of releases and texts" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2017-09-22.