- 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.
|Broadcast area||Metro Detroit, Southeast Michigan and parts of Northern Ohio |
|Branding||NewsTalk 760 WJR|
|Slogan||"The Great Voice of the Great Lakes"
"From the Golden Tower of the Fisher Building"
96.3 FM HD2 (WDVD)
|First air date||May 4, 1922|
|Callsign meaning||(W)Jewett Radio & Phonograph Co. (original owners)|
|Former callsigns||WCX (1922-1925)|
|Former frequencies||750 AM|
Premiere Radio Networks
Michigan State Spartans Sports Network (flagship)
Detroit Lions Radio Network (flagship)
(Radio License Holdings LLC)
|Sister stations||WDRQ, WDVD|
WJR (760 AM) is a radio station in Detroit, Michigan, United States. It is owned by Cumulus Media and broadcasts a News/Talk format. Its studios are located in the Fisher Building in the New Center neighborhood of Detroit, while its transmitter is located in the Downriver community of Riverview.
WJR is a Class A clear channel station whose broadcasts can be heard throughout much of the eastern half of North America at night, operating at 50,000 watts, the maximum power for commercial AM stations. Its daytime signal provides at least secondary coverage as far as Dayton, Ohio and Erie, Pennsylvania. Under the right conditions, its daytime signal reaches as far west as South Bend, Indiana and as far east as Toronto, Ontario. The station can also be heard clearly at all times within the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel.
WJR airs a mix of local and syndicated talk shows, and local sports. Weekdays feature WJR morning personality Paul W. Smith, afternoon personality Mitch Albom and late morning host Frank Beckmann. It is the Detroit outlet for Westwood One syndicated talk shows Michael Savage, Mark Levin, John Batchelor and Red Eye Radio. WJR for many years has aired Rush Limbaugh from the Premiere Networks in early afternoons. WJR is also the flagship station of the Michigan State Spartans  and Detroit Lions.
Studios and Transmitter
WJR's transmitter building and broadcast tower are located in Riverview, Michigan, in what is considered "one of the best Art Deco transmitter buildings ever." Its studios are located in the Fisher Building in Detroit's New Center area. 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 to broadcast its signal.
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. 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, the Jewett Radio & Phonograph Company of Pontiac, Michigan purchased WCX. 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. 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, and WJR acquired all its assets. 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 with the NARBA frequency reallocations. Before North American Radio Broadcasting Agreement of 1941, 750 kHz was a clear channel under 1928 rules.
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." 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. Past WJR personalities included J.P. McCarthy, Jimmy Launce, Warren Pierce, Murray 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.
Music programming on WJR has been phased out almost entirely over the past two decades. As of June 2014, the only music-oriented show on the station is the Renfro Valley Gatherin', aired early Sunday mornings. In 2006, 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 broadcast an AM-HD Radio signal 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 and FM-HD radio broadcasts completely, returning to its 50,000 watt analog signal only. WJR is streamed via the web, and has since returned to HD Radio on WDVD-HD2. WJR is licensed to broadcast a digital hybrid (HD) signal.
For much of its history, WJR served as 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 CBS-owned WXYT and WXYT-FM. Then, in 2005, the station dropped its status as the flagship station for Michigan Wolverines football and basketball in favor of a flagship rights deal with the Michigan State Spartans. WJR had served as flagship for Michigan State prior to 1976. On November 20, 2015, WJR announced it would take over as flagship station of the Detroit Lions in 2016, with the NFL team moving over from WXYT-FM. Due to its commitment to live sporting events, regular programming may be pre-empted.
Personalities at WJR
- Past morning host J.P. McCarthy
- Current morning host Paul W. Smith
- Current weekend morning host Warren Pierce
- Former sports director and announcer Van Patrick
- Former Detroit Tigers announcer Ernie Harwell (when WJR was the Tigers' flagship station).
- Former Detroit Red Wings announcer Bruce Martyn
- Former Detroit Tigers and Detroit Pistons announcer Paul Carey
- Former Detroit Lions and Michigan State football announcer Bob Reynolds
- Musicologist Karl Haas, the Austrian-born host of the classical music magazine Adventures in Good Music (later originating from Cleveland station WCLV)
- Mike Whorf, the host of the music magazine Kaleidoscope, which focused on various music genres, themes, and eras
- Edgar A. "Bud" Guest 11, host of "The Sunny Side of the Street" and "Guest House."
- Ted Strasser, host of the adult standards program Patterns in Music
- Jay Roberts, host of the overnight music program Night Flight 760
- Current midday talk show host Frank Beckmann (also the play-by-play voice for University of Michigan football from 1981 to 2013). WJR was the flagship station for Michigan football from 1977-2005. Beckmann formerly called Lions and Tigers games for the station.
- Novelist and Detroit Free Press sports writer Mitch Albom. WJR was the flagship station when The Mitch Albom Show (formerly Albom in the Afternoon) was nationally syndicated.
- Assistant News Director and News Anchor Lloyd Jackson Sr., host of The Big Story
- Past conservative talk show host Kevin Joyce
- Roman Catholic Priest Father Charles Coughlin
- Detroit Traffic Reporters Joel Alexander, Lorna Stephens, Peggy Hodge and Tony Bruscato
- Tonight Show host Jack Paar
- Actress-singer Grace Lee Whitney, later "Janice Rand" on Star Trek.
In the 1940 film Edison, the Man, Thomas Edison (played by Spencer Tracy) 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.
- "Predicted Coverage Area for WJR 760 AM, Detroit, MI". Radio-locator.com. Retrieved December 16, 2015.
- "MSU Announces Football Broadcast Team" (Press release). Michigan State University. May 8, 2006. Retrieved December 16, 2015.
- "Want to listen to the Lions in 2016? Tune in to WJR-AM". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved November 20, 2015.
- "WJR Will Affiliate With CBS in Fall" (PDF). Broadcasting 8 (9). May 1, 1935. p. 12. Retrieved 24 October 2014.
- "Stations in Detroit Realigned Sept. 29" (PDF). Broadcasting 8 (7). October 1, 1935. p. 22. Retrieved 4 November 2014.
- "Cumulus now owns Citadel Broadcasting". Atlanta Business Journal. September 16, 2011. Retrieved September 16, 2011.
- "HD Radio: Detroit, MI". HD Radio. Retrieved 2015-12-16.
- "Station Search Details". Federal Communications Commission. Retrieved December 16, 2015.
- "CBS Detroit: Lions censorship demands caused split". The Detroit News. Retrieved 20 November 2015.