|Broadcast area||Southeast Michigan|
|Branding||News Talk 760 WJR|
|Slogan||The Great Voice of the Great Lakes|
Fox News Radio
Michigan State Spartans
|Owner||Cumulus Media |
(Radio License Holdings LLC)
First air date
|May 4, 1922|
Former call signs
|580 kHz (1922–28)|
750 kHz (1928–41)
Call sign meaning
|Former owner Jewett Radio & Phonograph Co.|
|Repeater(s)||96.3 WDVD-HD2 (Detroit)|
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 with 50,000 watts, the maximum power for commercial AM stations. It is Michigan's primary entry point station for the Emergency Alert System.
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 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 the Detroit Lions. Late nights and weekends, most hours begin with world and national news from Fox News Radio.
Studios and Transmitter
WJR's transmitter building and transmitter tower are located off Sibley Road in Riverview, Michigan. It is considered "one of the best Art Deco transmitter buildings ever." The 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.
The station began as WCX on May 4, 1922, owned by the Detroit Free Press newspaper, broadcasting from the Free Press Building. It shared this frequency with WWJ, 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. The station later became known as WCX/WJR. Also by 1925, WWJ was at 850 kHz, and both stations were broadcasting with 5000 watts of power. On November 11, 1928, WWJ moved to 750 as a result of the FRC's General Order 40. It has broadcast on 950 AM since 1941.
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." 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 was authorized to broadcast with 50,000 watts. On March 29, 1941, WJR moved from 750 to 760 kHz in accordance with the NARBA frequency reallocations. Before North American Regional 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, Mike Whorf, Murray Gula, Joel Alexander, Jay Roberts, Charles Coughlin 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 2001 the station lost its longtime 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 team moving over from WXYT-FM. Due to its commitment to live sporting events, regular programming may be pre-empted. (During parts of the season when Michigan football and Tiger baseball were both on, Tiger baseball would take precedence, and if a Michigan football game was either just beginning or really good when Tiger baseball came on, an announcement would come on as the football game fades out stating the need to switch due to contractual obligations. Otherwise, the announcement would just simply state they're leaving the Michigan game for the Tigers. Either way, the listener was directed to CKLW in Windsor, Ontario for the conclusion of the game.)
Personalities at WJR
- Past morning host J.P. McCarthy
- Current morning host Paul W. Smith
- 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.
- Early afternoon drive host Guy Gordon, former WXYZ-TV and WDIV-TV reporter and anchor.
- 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.
- 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 German-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
- 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.
- "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 transmitter building". www.detroit1701.org.
- "History of WJR". WJR. Archived from the original on March 3, 2007. Retrieved November 4, 2018.
- Fulton, Walter & Halley (1951), Memorandum of WJR, KMPC and WGAR in support of proposed findings of fact and conclusions, Federal Communications Commission, retrieved November 4, 2018}
- "WJR AM 760 Detroit". Michiguide. Archived from the original on February 14, 2012. Retrieved November 4, 2018.
- "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. Archived from the original on 2015-11-23. 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.
- Official website
- WJR in the FCC's AM station database
- WJR on Radio-Locator
- WJR in Nielsen Audio's AM station database