WRDT

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WRDT
WRDT AM560TheWord logo.png
CityMonroe, Michigan
Broadcast areaMetro Detroit [1] (Daytime)
[2] (Nighttime)
BrandingThe Word AM 560
SloganDetroit's Christian Talk
Frequency560 kHz (also on HD Radio)
also on 103.5 FM HD3
Translator(s)W296DY (107.1 MHz, Detroit) (currently silent)
First air dateJuly 12, 1956
FormatChristian Talk & Teaching
Power500 Watts (daytime)
14 Watts (nighttime)
ClassD
Facility ID25083
Transmitter coordinates41°53′28″N 83°25′39″W / 41.89111°N 83.42750°W / 41.89111; -83.42750 (day)
42°27′13″N 83°09′50″W / 42.45361°N 83.16389°W / 42.45361; -83.16389 (night)
Callsign meaningWord Detroit
Former callsignsWLLZ (April 1, 1996-August 11, 2003)
WHND (c. 1974-April 1, 1996)
WQTE (1959-c. 1974)
WMIC (1956-1959)
OwnerCrawford Broadcasting
Websitehttp://www.wrdt560.com/

WRDT, known on the air as "The Word AM 560, Detroit's Christian Talk", is a radio station licensed to Monroe, Michigan, serving the Detroit metropolitan area. The station broadcasts in HD Radio[1][2] with 500 Watts daytime power from a transmitter located in South Monroe, Michigan, and 14 Watts nighttime power (Non-HD) from a transmitter located in Royal Oak Township, Michigan. The Royal Oak Township location shares the Greater Media tower with WCSX, WRIF & WMGC. Its low frequency and strongly directional daytime signal give the station good coverage of the Detroit market, despite the lower power.

WRDT is owned by Crawford Broadcasting with sister stations WMUZ-FM 103.5 FM, WCHB 1340 AM and WMUZ 1200 AM.

Early history: WQTE[edit]

AM 560 went on the air in 1956 as WMIC, owned by McIntyre Broadcasting, and originally featured a block programmed variety format, including some rock and roll programs. In 1959, the station was purchased by Dick Jones, Ross Mulholland and the Brink family, and its calls were changed to WQTE. Originally, WQTE aired what would now be called an Adult Contemporary music format, but in 1960 the station made a shift to all-out Top 40, dubbing itself "Cutie Radio" and "Fabulous 56" and issuing a survey called "The Cutie Music Meter." The Production Director was the well-known Bob Bennett, who became General Manager of Bob Hope's station WBMJ in San Juan. WQTE personalities during this time included Tom Clay (who emceed popular dances for the station at Cobo Hall), and Ed McKenzie, best remembered to Detroit audiences as "Jack the Bellboy" on WJBK radio in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Also heard on WQTE during this time was Ralph Binge and Eddie Chase. After a year of competing against WJBK, WXYZ, WKMH and, to a lesser extent, CKLW, for the ears of Detroit's teen audience, WQTE gave up on Top 40 and changed to an Easy Listening/MOR format, becoming a modest success - the Early Morning announcer was Roy Blair who later joined WJBK-TV. Early rock and roll music would once again be heard on AM 560.

Honey Radio[edit]

In 1974, new owners Greater Media switched WQTE from Easy Listening to Oldies of the 1950s and 1960s as WHND, "Honey Radio," shadowcasting WHNE 94.7 FM. "Honey Radio" was one of the first all-oldies stations in the nation and specialized in music from the first generation of rock and roll (1956–63), including, and especially, doo-wop, and featuring a playlist incorporating records that never made, or scored low on, the national charts in addition to the big hits of that era. WHND, like its FM counterpart, was completely automated in the first several years of its existence (using a syndicated format from Drake-Chenault called "Classic Gold"), but the station went live and local in 1978 under the guidance of consultant Paul Christy. It took a few years for everything to gel, but by 1987, "Honey" had become not only an oldies station, but a re-creation of the sound of early 1960s Top-40 radio - the closest thing to be found today is XM Radio's "'60s On 6." Oldies fans loved WHND for its announcers, whom they perceived to be as passionate about the music as they themselves were, and for their strong community presence, with frequent remotes and "cruise" broadcasts around the area.

Initially, "Honey Radio" programming was also heard on sister station WHNE-FM 94.7, but in 1976, Greater Media changed format of the FM to Adult Contemporary as "Magic" WMJC. (94.7 is now owned by Beasley Broadcast Group as Classic rock WCSX.) "Honey" continued as a standalone format on AM 560 for almost two more decades.

The legendary Freddy Fortune was employed by Honey Radio.

The end of Honey Radio and format changes[edit]

WHND picked up competition from a number of FM oldies stations during the late 1980s, including WKSG (102.7), CKLW-FM (93.9) and WOMC (104.3), with WOMC eventually coming to dominate in the format. As the station became a virtually invisible presence on the Detroit radio dial, the station dropped its local programming and switched to Satellite Music Network's "Kool Gold" format. On December 2, 1994, "Honey Radio" came to an end, as Greater Media began to broker time on the station to local Spanish-language broadcasters. On April 1, 1996, WHND changed its calls to WLLZ, picking up the calls dropped by Detroit's 98.7 FM after its change from Rock to Smooth Jazz as WVMV. The format remained brokered Spanish. Finally, in June 1997, Greater Media sold WLLZ to Crawford, who changed the format to Christian Talk as "AM 560, The WMUZ Word Station" (not IDing with the call letters, but with a positioner tying the station to Crawford's flagship contemporary Christian FM, WMUZ-FM 103.5). The call letters were changed to WRDT on August 11, 2003. The station remained in AM Stereo even after the end of the oldies format.

The WHND calls are now used by a Wisconsin Public Radio news-and-classical-music station in Sister Bay, Wisconsin. The WLLZ calls were reassigned to an LP (low power) TV station on channel 12 in the Traverse City area shortly after AM 560 dropped them, which held the call sign from 2003 to 2017 (it is now WXII-LP).

AM 560 today[edit]

WRDT's programming today consists chiefly of syndicated and brokered Christian talk shows such as Focus on the Family and Dave Ramsey, with a few local shows such as "On The Word" with Pastor Emery Moss, and "Night Vision" with Pastor George Bogle. For a short period of time, WRDT's programming was repeated on Detroit-based translator W296DY. However, on April 13, 2018, Cumulus Media filed a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission regarding interference with the signal of their Ann Arbor-based WQKL. After operating for a short period at reduced power, Crawford Broadcasting took W296DY silent on April 24, 2018.

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