WOR (AM)

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WOR
New WOR Radio logo December 2013.jpg
City New York, New York
Broadcast area New York City area
Branding "WOR Radio 710 AM"
Slogan "New York's #1 Station for News and Talk"
Frequency 710 kHz (also on HD Radio)[1]
(also on HD Radio via WAXQ-HD2)
First air date February 22, 1922; 96 years ago (1922-02-22)
Format News/Talk
Language(s) English
Power 50,000 watts
Class A (clear channel)
Facility ID 7710
Transmitter coordinates 40°47′51″N 74°5′24″W / 40.79750°N 74.09000°W / 40.79750; -74.09000Coordinates: 40°47′51″N 74°5′24″W / 40.79750°N 74.09000°W / 40.79750; -74.09000
Callsign meaning None; randomly assigned, but could mean World Of Radio[2]
Affiliations AP Radio
ABC News Radio
NBC News Radio
Premiere Radio Networks
New York Mets
NBC 4 New York
Owner iHeartMedia
(AMFM Radio Licenses, LLC)
Sister stations WAXQ, WHTZ, WKTU, WLTW, WWPR-FM
Webcast Listen Live (via iHeartRadio)
Website wor710.com

WOR (710 AM) is a 50,000-watt class A clear-channel radio station owned by iHeartMedia and licensed to New York City. The station airs a mix of local and syndicated talk radio shows, primarily from co-owned Premiere Networks, including The Rush Limbaugh Show, The Sean Hannity Show, and Coast to Coast AM. Since 2016, the station has served as the New York affiliate station for NBC News Radio.

WOR is the flagship station for the New York Mets and Rutgers University's football and men's basketball teams. The station also broadcasts The WOR Sports Zone, hosted by Pete McCarthy which airs from immediately before and after Mets games. When the team is idle, McCarthy hosts a sports show weeknights from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. followed by syndicated family finances radio host Dave Ramsey.

The station's studios are located in the Tribeca neighborhood of Manhattan at the former AT&T Building, with its transmitter in Rutherford, New Jersey. WOR began broadcasting in February 1922 and is one of the oldest radio stations in the United States with a three–letter call sign, characteristic of a station dating from the 1920s. WOR is the only New York City AM station to have retained its original three-letter call sign, making it the oldest continually used call sign in the New York City area.

History[edit]

With studio on the 6th floor and showy antenna on the roof on its Newark store, Bamberger's launched WOR to sell more radios.

WOR's original owner was the Bamberger department store in Newark, New Jersey. In early 1922 the store was selling radio receivers, and the station was put on the air to help promote receiver sales as well as for general publicity. Effective December 1, 1921 the U.S. Department of Commerce had set aside a single wavelength, 360 meters (833 kilohertz) for radio stations to broadcast "entertainment" programs.[3] The store applied for a license which was granted on February 20, 1922 with the randomly assigned call sign of WOR.[4]

The station made its debut broadcast on February 22, 1922, using a 250-watt De Forest transmitter in a studio located on an upper floor.[5] The station's first broadcast was made using a homemade microphone constructed by attaching a megaphone to a telephone mouthpiece, while Al Jolson's "April Showers" was played.[6]

Three other broadcasting stations were already on the air in the region transmitting on 360 meters: WJZ, also in Newark, operated by the Radio Corporation of America (RCA); WNO, operated by The Jersey Journal in Jersey City, New Jersey; and WDT, owned by the Ship Owners' Radio Service in Stapleton, New York.[7] The use of the common wavelength required a time–sharing agreement between the stations designating transmitting hours and this soon became complicated, as by June there were a total of ten regional stations using 360 meters. This restricted the number of hours available to WOR, which was now limited to just a few hours per week.[8]

In September 1922 the Department of Commerce set aside a second entertainment wavelength, 400 meters (750 kHz) for "Class B" stations that had quality equipment and programming.[9] In the New York City region, WOR, along with two New York City American Telephone & Telegraph Company (AT&T) stations, WBAY and WEAF (now WFAN), were assigned to this new wavelength. In May 1923 additional "Class B" broadcasting frequencies were announced, including three for the Newark/New York area.[10] WOR moved to 740 kHz, where it shared time with WDT (which shut down by the end of the year) and a new RCA station, WJY.[11] WJY rarely used the time periods assigned to it, and by the summer of 1926 WOR began operating full-time, stating that the silent WJY was considered to have forfeited its hours.[12] In June 1927, the Federal Radio Commission (FRC) moved WOR to 710 kHz, which it has occupied ever since. On November 11, 1928, under the provisions of the FRC's General Order 40, this assignment was designated a "clear channel" frequency, with WOR the dominant station.

In December 1924, although still licensed to Newark, WOR opened a second studio in Manhattan to originate programs, so that stars of the day based in New York would have better access to the station. Later in 1926, WOR moved from its original New York City studio on the 9th floor of Chickering Hall at 27 West 57th Street to 1440 Broadway, two blocks from Times Square.

WOR was a charter member of the CBS Radio Network (CBS), acting as the flagship station of the 16 that aired the first CBS network program on September 18, 1927.[13] In partnership with Chicago radio station WGN and Cincinnati radio station WLW, WOR formed the Mutual Broadcasting System in 1934 and became its New York flagship station. Mutual was one of the "Big Four" national radio networks in the United States during the 1930s–1980s. In 1941, the station changed its city of license from Newark to New York City. However, for all intents and purposes it had been a New York City station since its early days, and had actually moved its studios across the Hudson two years after it signed on.

In 1957, WOR ended its relationship with Mutual and became an independent station, with Mutual's New York outlet becoming WAAT in Newark (today WNYM Hackensack, New Jersey). But WOR continued to carry Mutual's "Top of the News" with Fulton Lewis for 15 minutes each evening, Monday to Friday at 7:00 p.m. for several more years. For a few years in the late-1950s, WOR aired selected St. Louis Cardinals baseball games sponsored by Budweiser due to the departures of the Dodgers and Giants from New York to California.

In 1941, WOR put an FM radio station, W71NY (now WEPN-FM), on the air. WOR had been experimenting with FM broadcasts as W2XWI from its Carteret, New Jersey transmitter site from 1938. From 1952 to the late seventies the station was owned by RKO General Broadcasting. In 1949, WOR started a sister TV station, WOR-TV, on channel 9. This station became WWOR-TV after it and 710 WOR were sold to separate companies in 1987 (due to an FCC regulation in effect then that forbade TV and radio stations in the same cities but with different owners from sharing the same call letters).

From the 1930s to the early 1980s, WOR was described as a full-service station, featuring a mix of music, talk and news. There was an emphasis on news reports and talk programs, but music was played also, usually a blend of pop standards and adult contemporary tunes. WOR played several songs per hour weekday mornings from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. and again afternoons from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. WOR also featured music on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. In ratings reports, WOR was classified as a MOR/Talk station rather than a News/Talk station until 1984. From 1983 to about 1985, WOR gradually stopped playing music altogether, evolving into its current talk format. Past notable hosts were Ed and Pegeen Fitzgerald, Arlene Francis, Patricia McCann, Long John Nebel, Bernard Meltzer, Barry Farber, Jean Shepherd, Bob and Ray, Jack O'Brian, Bob Grant and Gene Klavan. From April 15, 1945, to March 21, 1963, newspaper columnist Dorothy Kilgallen and her husband Dick Kollmar (1910–1971) co-hosted a late morning show on WOR called Breakfast With Dorothy and Dick.[14]

The station was known for its detailed, 15-minute news reports on the hour. Noted newsmen such as Henry Gladstone, Harry Hennessey, John Wingate, Lyle Vann, Peter Roberts, and Roger Skibenes were the backbone of the news department. WOR introduced live, on-air, helicopter traffic reports with pilot reporters "Fearless" Fred Feldman and later George Meade. On January 10, 1969, fill-in pilot/reporter Frank McDermott died when the WOR helicopter crashed into an apartment building in Astoria, Queens as he was broadcasting a traffic update. The building caught fire and McDermott's body was found nearby.[15]

WOR's most renowned program was its morning show Rambling with Gambling, which aired continuously from March 1925 to September 2000 across three generations of hosts: John B. Gambling, his son John A. Gambling, and his grandson John R. Gambling. After John R. Gambling's edition of the show was dropped, he moved to WABC, where he hosted a late-morning show until January 2008. He returned to WOR mornings in May 2008. Although never a favorite of young listeners, WOR was this group's radio station of record in the New York metropolitan area during bad winter weather. Students of all ages dialed up 710 AM on their radios as the Gamblings dutifully announced a comprehensive list of school closings for New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, in strict alphabetical order. Currently, Gambling hosts middays on 970 WNYM, after retiring from WOR in December 2013.

WOR's original transmitter location was in Carteret, New Jersey using two steel lattice towers and a steel cable as a third radiating element. The cable hung from a catenary connected to the top of each of the towers. This created a lopsided figure-8 pattern intended to cover both the NY and Philadelphia markets, making WOR the first 50,000–Watt directional station in the US. Over the years, construction affected WOR's signal strength and WOR sought a new location. Circa 1966, the FCC issued a construction permit for WOR's new and current location in Lyndhurst, NJ. The current location features three full half-wave (692 feet) guyed antennas in a triangular array. WOR is within one mile of both WLIB and WINS. Thus each WOR tower hosts AM detuning apparatus to prevent adverse distortion of WINS and WLIB radiation patterns. Built on hydraulic landfill, the site provides excellent ground conductivity for daytime groundwave radiation. At night when conditions are favorable, WOR can occasionally be heard in parts of Europe and Africa. It shares Class A status on 710 kHz with KIRO (AM) in Seattle, Washington; KEEL in Shreveport, Louisiana; and WAQI in Miami, Florida; and operates 24 hours per day. WOR must protect the radiation pattern of these stations since its transmitter in Lyndhurst, New Jersey was constructed circa 1968, well after these other 50,000–Watt stations began operations.

On April 30, 2005, WOR moved its offices and studios from 1440 Broadway at 40th Street in Midtown Manhattan where it had been based for 79 years to a new facility at 111 Broadway near Wall Street in the Financial District, Manhattan before moving to the Avenue of The Americas in Tribeca where it is currently headquartered.

On August 13, 2012, it was announced that WOR was to be purchased by Clear Channel Communications (now iHeartMedia), pending FCC approval.[16] A local marketing agreement began on August 15, 2012. On December 20, 2012, the day Clear Channel officially took ownership of the station, The Dr. Joy Browne Show, The Gov. David Paterson Show, and The Mike Huckabee Show were removed from the WOR program schedule.[17]

WOR's previous logo used until December 2013

On January 2, 2013, WOR added former WABC weekend host Mark Simone to its weekday morning line up.[18] WOR now offers ten hours of live and local programming on weekdays, with the rest of the day offering syndicated programs. Along with the change in programming came the slogan "New York's Only Live and Local News and Conversation." In late 2014, former WNBC sportscaster Len Berman and Tampa Bay Area radio host Todd Schnitt were hired as the station's morning hosts, after WOR cancelled the hot talk Elliot in the Morning Show, simulcast from iHeart Alternative Rock station WWDC (FM) in Washington, D.C.. Schnitt left WOR in October 2017, leaving Berman running the morning show.

On January 1, 2014, both the Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity shows were transferred from rival Talk Radio station 770 WABC, owned by Cumulus Media. Since Premiere Networks, owned by iHeartMedia, syndicates both popular shows, WOR wanted them to boost its ratings.[19]

On November 4, 2013, WOR and the New York Mets announced the team's games will be broadcast on 710 AM, as well as advertised on all local Clear Channel radio stations, beginning with the 2014 baseball season.[20]

WOR Radio Network[edit]

WOR was once the flagship station of the now-defunct WOR Radio Network. The network distributed nationally syndicated programming, all from the WOR studios at 111 Broadway in New York. Following the sale of WOR to Clear Channel Communications, what was left of the WOR Radio Network was folded into Premiere Networks, Clear Channel's syndication wing.

Past WOR personalities[edit]

Past notable WOR program hosts and newscasters included these personalities.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "HD Radio station guide for New York, NY". (hdradio.com). 
  2. ^ The WOR call sign had previously been assigned to the ship SS California of the Orient Lines. ("Ship stations", Radio Service Bulletin, April 1915, page 5.)
  3. ^ "Amendments to Regulations", Radio Service Bulletin, January 3, 1922, page 10.
  4. ^ "New Stations", Radio Service Bulletin, March 1, 1922, page 2. Limited Commercial license with the call sign WOR, serial #297, issued for a three month period to L. Bamberger & Company in Newark, New Jersey.
  5. ^ I Looked and I Listened by Ben Gross, 1954, pages 54-56.
  6. ^ "1922—Year Radio's Population Soared". Broadcasting. May 14, 1962. p. 118. Retrieved June 29, 2018. 
  7. ^ Radio Service Bulletin. The Bureau. 1920. pp. 1–. 
  8. ^ "Make First Co-operative Effort to Equalize Air Usage", The Radio Dealer, June 1922, page 12.
  9. ^ "Amendments to Regulations: Regulation 57", Radio Service Bulletin, September 1, 1922, pages 10-11.
  10. ^ "Radio Conference Recommendations: New Wave Lengths", Radio Age, May 1923, page 11. Beginning with these assignments radio stations ended the practice of broadcasting their market reports and weather forecasts on the separate 485 meter wavelength.
  11. ^ "Class B Calls and Waves", Radio Age, June 1923, page 12.
  12. ^ "Wave Confusion Increases", Radio World, July 31, 1926, page 18.
  13. ^ Radio Digest, September 1927, quoted in: McLeod, Elizabeth (September 20, 2002). CBS—In the Beginning, History of American Broadcasting. Retrieved on 2007-01-01. The other stations were WADC in Akron, Ohio; WAIU in Columbus, Ohio; WCAO in Baltimore; WCAU in Philadelphia; WEAN in Providence; WFBL in Syracuse; WGHP in Detroit; WJAS in Pittsburgh; WKRC in Cincinnati; WMAK in Buffalo-Lockport; WMAQ in Chicago; WNAC in Boston; WOWO in Fort Wayne, Indiana; KMOX in St. Louis; and KOIL in Council Bluffs, Iowa.
  14. ^ Dunning, John. (1998). On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-507678-3. Pp. 117-118.
  15. ^ "New York City, NY Helicopter Crashes Into Building, Jan 1969". UPI. Retrieved September 18, 2018. 
  16. ^ Clear Channel to Purchase WOR Radio (press release). Mediabistro, 13 August 2012.
  17. ^ http://radioinsight.com/blog/headlines/69551/wor-new-york-sold-to-clear-channel/ WOR New York Sold To Clear Channel
  18. ^ "WOR Adds Mark Simone For 10a-Noon". All Access. 
  19. ^ http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/rush-hannity-leaving-cumulus-wor-article-1.1411314/
  20. ^ "The Mets Find New Home at WOR". WOR 710. 

External links[edit]

Further reading[edit]

The Airwaves of New York: Illustrated Histories of 156 AM Stations in the Metropolitan Area, 1921-1996 by Bill Jaker, Frank Sulek and Peter Kanze, 1998.


Preceded by
860/WABC
1939–1940
Radio Home of the
New York Yankees
1942
Succeeded by
1010 WINS
1944–1957
Preceded by
WFAN
1987–2013
Radio Home of the
New York Mets
2014-
Succeeded by
Incumbent