|City||WJML: Petoskey, Michigan
WJNL: Kingsley, Michigan
|Broadcast area||WJML: Petoskey, Michigan
WJNL: Traverse City, Michigan
|Branding||NewsTalk 1110 & 1210|
|Slogan||The Talk of the North|
|Frequency||WJML: 1110 kHz
WJNL: 1210 kHz
|Translator(s)||W266CS 101.1 Traverse City|
|First air date||WJML: December 6, 1966
WJNL: April 17, 1947
|Power||WJML: 10,000 watts (Daytime)
WJML: 10 watts (Nighttime)
WJNL: 50,000 watts (Daytime)
WJNL: 2,500 watts (Critical Hours)
W266CS: 250 watts
|Callsign meaning||WJML: John, Michael, and Linda Harrington|
WJML consists of AM stations WJML 1110 in Petoskey, Michigan and WJNL 1210 in Kingsley, Michigan. Both stations are owned by Rick Stone, and both stations have simulcast the same programming, with a mixture of liberal talk format and conservative talk.
During the 1970s and 1980s, WJML was one of the most successful AM/FM radio combos in northern Michigan. The FM station has long since been sold off, but WJML/WJNL remains one of the most-popular talk stations in northern Michigan.
In somewhat of a rarity, WJML-FM 98.9 started first, on December 7, 1965, since in most situations, the AM station is usually the first to sign on. In the beginning, the station was an automated MOR format, with one live DJ, Bill Supernaw, in the morning (Supernaw is now the owner of the Cinema III movie theatre in Charlevoix). The station was owned by a Chicago broadcaster who named his station after his three children, John, Michael and Linda. It was one of northern Michigan's first-ever FM stations, and since many folks didn't have an FM radio at the time, an AM station, WJML-AM 1110 was born on December 6, 1966. WJML-AM was at the time the strongest AM station in northern Michigan during the daytime at 10 kW. However, the station was daytime only.
The Music Station
The 1970s saw several changes for WJML-FM/AM as the Harrington family sold the station, following the unexpected death of John Harrington, to a small group that owned WMUS FM/AM Muskegon, MI, KQDS FM/AM in Duluth MN, and WPLY AM in Plymouth, WI. On February 14, 1977 WJML flipped from MOR to Top 40. Tim Achterhoff, an 11-year vet of WMUS at the time, plugged in the programming formula used successfully at the country station... but with a pop/rock playlist. The station was very music-intensive. News was moved to :54 past the hour, so JML was always in a music-sweep at the top of the hour. Great on-air talent included: Jay Alexander, Rob Hazelton, Ted Stevens, John Clark [Dennis Martin], Tim Nixon, Tom Tyler, Mike Daniels, Kurt Kelly, Art Morrison, Mark Kage, Nick Scott, Dave Walker, Cindy Smith and Sarah Wilson with news... and many more wonderful personalities. In a year and a half, the JML FM/AM combo had more AQH audience than all other stations COMBINED in an 11-county area in a survey conducted by Arbitron. And the advertising revenue poured in... making it future target for plenty of move-ins! The station also adopted an easily remembered slogan: "The Music Station." American Top 40 aired on this station starting in 1979.
JML was the first highly structured station in northern Michigan, heavily formatted using liner cards, strict positioning statements, tight playlists, 'big city' sound with Lyle Dean (WLS) and Del Hull doing liners and "Time Bomb" legal ID's: "It's 12noon at The Music Station(sung or spoken)... WJML-FM/AM Petoskey." From '77 until 1980 JML used jingles from Gwinsound of Dallas (Series 23), later switching to JAM Creative Production's Class Action (WLS) package. The station had influences from WBBM-Chicago in the news presentation with the standard liner between local news and ABC News: "Tempurature 50, that's 10 Celsius, JML NewsTime 11:56."
If WJML was to be remembered on a national level, it would be the fact that it was the first station ever to pair up Bob Kevoian and Tom Griswold for mornings, aka Bob and Tom. The two met at a Petoskey bar in the late 1970s and have been friends since. However, in 1983, Indianapolis radio station WFBQ lured them away, where they landed in sydication years later.
The 1980s bring changes
In 1983, due to increased competition from upstart rivals WKHQ and WKLT, WJML flipped to adult contemporary. Some of their DJs would answer the phone saying "WJML, The MUZAK Station!". This AC format featured spoken legal ID's and Tuesday Production's "Whisper" jingles. The jingles made the station sound as if it were embarrassed to say who it was. Several format alterations included a "Light Rock 99" phase. In 1989, the final nail was nailed as WJML was sold to Langer Gokey, the North Dakotan Dr Pepper bottler who also owned WKLT. Gokey's plan was to boost WKLT's power many folds over by moving its signal from 97.7 to 97.5 and have 100 kW WJML-FM, now WKLZ, simulcast WKLT's signal. Gokey, however, was not interested in AM radio at all, so he donated Kalkaska's WKLT 1420 to Kalkaska Schools (the station has since been silenced) and WJML was silenced and put up for sale.
However, shortly after WJML was silenced, local broadcaster Rick Stone (originally started WAIR, was first GM/VP for WMKC) bought the station and flipped it to talk. The rebirthed station was an early success. Stone also upgraded the station's power to 10 watts overnight - barely enough power to cover Petoskey.
In 1999, Petoskey lost its oldies station, WAIR 92.5 FM (now WFDX, a simulcast of classic hits WFCX), when the station, owned by Langer Gokey, flipped unsuccessfully to country "The Bee". In response, WJML played oldies on the weekends and aired talk during the week, which would continue until its sister station WWKK signed on the following year.
Into the 21st century
In 2000, Stone decided to start a second AM in Petoskey giving WJML a sister. That station was WWKK "Kool 750", and at first, it was an oldies outlet. Kool 750 allowed WJML to segue back toward a talk format (though WJML still featured some oldies programming on weekends only for a short time before going back to all talk). Eventually, Petoskey got oldies again on the FM dial as Ross Biederman's WCCW-FM/107.5 Traverse City started simulcasting on WCZW/107.9 in nearby Charlevoix. This allowed WWKK to flip to talk as well, being a liberal talker while WJML became conservative talk.
Recently, Stone traded WWKK in exchange for Roy Henderson's WLDR 1210 in Traverse City, MI, which allows WJML to have a stronger signal in the Cherry Capital. In preparation for the change, WJML asked listeners what shows they wanted to keep, since both WJML and WWKK could no longer co-exist. The former WWKK is now WARD 750, simulcasting the country format of WLDR-FM/101.9 in Traverse City.
Today, WJML/WJNL airs mostly syndicated programs but does carry some weekly local shows such as BJ Mogg's "Bits of Life" show and "The WJML Shopping Spree," which airs on Saturday mornings. The stations' lineup includes Citadel's Michael Patrick Shiels morning program, as well as Neal Boortz, Glenn Beck, Ed Schultz, Lou Dobbs and Michael Savage as well as libertarian talk show Free Talk Live. WJML has also moved into the newspaper business with its weekly publication of "TALK of the NORTH" Shopping and Entertainment Guide distributed free in Antrim, Charlevoix, Cheboygan, Emmet, Grand Traverse, and Leelanau counties.
On May 29, 2015, WJML's FM repeater in Charlevoix, W235CL on 94.9, signed on, providing 24/7 daytime coverage to the immediate Charlevoix area, with 250 watts of power. Effective August 8, 2016, W235CL moved to 101.1 FM in Traverse City, as W266CS
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