|City of license||Hackensack, New Jersey|
|Broadcast area||New York metropolitan area|
|Branding||AM 970, The Answer|
|Slogan||News. Opinion. Passion.|
|First air date||1926|
|Power||50,000 watts day
5,000 watts night
|Callsign meaning||W New York Metro|
|Former callsigns||WAAT (1926–1958)
|Affiliations||Salem Radio Network
Fox News Radio
(Salem Media of New York, LLC)
WNYM (970 kHz) is an AM radio station licensed to Hackensack, New Jersey, USA and serving the New York metropolitan area. WNYM is owned by Salem Communications and broadcasts a conservative-leaning, talk radio format. The station's studios are in Lower Manhattan and are shared with co-owned WMCA (570 AM), and WNYM's transmitters are located in Hackensack.
The station signed on in 1926 as Newark-licensed WAAT and was founded by the Bremer Broadcasting Company. WAAT originally broadcast on 1270 AM, and changed frequencies several times (moving to 1070 in 1928, 940 in 1930) before settling on 970 kHz in 1941, as per the North American Radio Broadcasting Agreement. In 1947 Bremer launched an FM adjunct, WAAT-FM (94.7, now WNSH), and the following year a sister television station, WATV began broadcasts on channel 13. In 1951 the stations were sold to Irving Rosenhaus; WAAT evolved to a middle of the road music format by the 1950s, similar to what WNEW, WOR, and WCBS were doing at that time. WAAT later attempted a country music format, the first in the New York area.
In 1957 the WAAT/WATV operation was sold by Bremer to National Telefilm Associates, who changed the station's call letters to WNTA. National Telefilm split up its holdings in 1961, with WNTA-TV (now WNET) being sold to a New York City-based nonprofit educational group, and the WNTA radio stations going to Communications Industries Broadcasting. The new owners changed the calls to WJRZ and retained the MOR format until September 15, 1965, when WJRZ became the first radio station in the New York metro area to play a country music format 24 hours a day. Not long after, the station moved its transmitter site and changed its city of license from Newark to Hackensack. WJRZ was the flagship radio outlet for the New York Mets from 1967 until 1971.
The station had a serious fire that destroyed their studios in a house on Hackensack Avenue in North Hackensack, New Jersey on October 17, 1970; the station operated out of a prefab building near their transmitter site for a period of time afterward.
Top 40 years
WJRZ was sold to Pacific and Southern Broadcasting (which merged with Combined Communications Corporation in 1974) on January 6, 1971.; the call letters were changed on May 16 of that year to WWDJ (known on the air as "97-DJ"), and the station attempted to take on WABC and replace WMCA as the New York market's second Top 40 outlet. For a brief time, program director Mark Driscoll began imaging the station as "9-J", giving rise to a recorded parody of the station called "Nine" produced by a group that included future disk jockeys Howard Hoffman and Randy West.
The station was hampered by a directional signal that covered Manhattan and parts of New Jersey well but suffered in the rest of the Five Boroughs and was virtually nonexistent on Long Island and western New Jersey. Eventually, FM competition from WCBS-FM and adult top 40 station WXLO (now WEPN-FM), and an evolution to adult Top 40 by WNBC (now WFAN), began to eat into WWDJ's ratings. In November 1973 it was ranked 15th in the Arbitron ratings.
Becoming a religious station
By 1974, the station was losing money and unable to sell enough advertising, and the studios had been moved to the transmitter site. As a result, WWDJ dropped the top 40 format on April 1, 1974, and switched to a religious format. Because the change took place on April Fool's Day, many listeners thought the switch was some sort of joke. Initially, WWDJ sold two-thirds of its daily airtime to outside ministries and played traditional Christian music the rest of the time, with the exception of a few hours on Saturdays devoted to a then-new genre, contemporary Christian music. Prior to Combined Communications' merger into the Gannett Company in 1979, WWDJ was sold to Communicom Corporation of America in April 1978.
By the late 1970s the music during the week was a mix of traditional and soft contemporary. By 1981, the music was adult contemporary Christian and evolved to contemporary Christian by 1984. The station still only played music part-time. They continued with the contemporary Christian music/teaching/preaching format throughout the 1980s and into the 1990s, with Frank Reed (formerly of WNBC) handling mornings.
In 1994 WWDJ was sold to Salem Communications, which since 1989 has owned WMCA, initially retaining its studios on Main Street in Hackensack. As WMCA ran Christian talk and teaching, it was thought that WWDJ would move to music full-time with specialty Christian music programming on weekends, but this did not happen.
Later religious years
In the fall of 1995, the amount of listeners to the contemporary Christian music dropped. The station's other programming expanded, with music during morning and afternoon drive time hours on weekdays. The announcers were laid off and the station revamped the format to a rhythmic Christian music format. This employed contemporary uptempo praise & worship music, gospel music, and light contemporary Christian songs. They positioned themselves as "The Sound of Praise and Celebration".
This format continued until 2004, when the music was dropped and WWDJ moved to a Christian brokered format. Around this time, Pillar of Fire Church-owned WAWZ (99.1 FM) in Zarephath dropped all but a few religious programs to play contemporary Christian music 18 hours a day, and Salem picked up many bumped shows; this caused Salem to decide to air programming full-time on WWDJ. For about two years, the station billed itself WMCA II all the time, with the WWDJ call letters used only in the hourly station identification. The station's on-air identity reverted to 970 DJ by 2007, but programming continued to be overflow programs from WMCA, as well as some syndicated mostly-secular personalities such as Laura Schlessinger and Kevin McCullough. They also broadcast infomercials and church services, as well as 30- and 60-minute religious shows.
Becoming a talk station
On July 25, 2008, WWDJ swapped callsigns with a sister station in the Boston area and became WTTT. After stunting for several days with all-Frank Sinatra ("Frank 97 AM") and all-Pat Boone ("The Booner 970") formats, the WTTT call letters were replaced with WNYM on August 6, 2008, and the format changed to conservative talk, along with a Fox News affiliation. The station airs most of the general-market slate of the Salem Radio Network, including William Bennett, Mike Gallagher, Dennis Prager, Michael Medved, Eric Metaxas and Hugh Hewitt. Curtis Sliwa joined the station in December 2009 and hosted morning and afternoon drive programs (co-hosting with former New York Governor David Paterson in afternoons for a time) through the end of 2013.
In January 2014 Joe Piscopo began a test run in morning drive, and was named the permanent host of the shift in late February. Several months later the station added John R. Gambling to middays; Gambling had retired from his WOR morning drive program in December 2013.
WNYM is the New York City-area affiliate of Syracuse University football and basketball. In 2013 WNYM began broadcasting Seton Hall University basketball, and in 2014 became co-flagship of St. John's University basketball with WMCA. WNYM also airs NFL and MLB games that would normally air on WEPN-FM, as well as New York City FC soccer matches which would normally air on WFAN-AM-FM, both due to programming conflicts.
- "WAAT, WATV (TV) sold to NTA for $3.5 million." Broadcasting, October 7, 1957, pg. 9.
- "NTA Newark purchase gets FCC's approval." Broadcasting, April 7, 1958, pg. 64.
- "Changing Hands." Broadcasting, November 6, 1961, pg. 78.
- "For the record." Broadcasting, April 2, 1962, pg. 129.
- "$13 million buys four radio stations." Broadcasting, January 11, 1971, pp. 23-24. 
- ReelRadio: The Jay Philpott Collection, which includes a section devoted to "Nine". Retrieved 2010-10-07.
- "In brief." Broadcasting, April 3, 1978, pg. 38.
- "Changing Hands." Broadcasting and Cable, April 25, 1994, pg. 38.
- All Access Mentions The Booner Nine Hundred Seventy
- Talk Radio on WABC Shifts Focus to the Local
- Joe Piscopo Joins AM 970 The Answer/New York For Mornings
- WNYM Website
- Query the FCC's AM station database for WNYM
- Radio-Locator Information on WNYM
- Query Nielsen Audio's AM station database for WNYM