|City||Winston-Salem, North Carolina|
|Broadcast area||Piedmont Triad|
|Branding||AM 600 WSJS|
|Slogan||The Triad's News Radio|
|First air date||April 17, 1930|
|Format||News/Talk and Sports|
|Callsign meaning||Winston-Salem Journal Sentinel (named for the city's two daily papers, the Winston-Salem Journal and the Twin City Sentinel|
|Affiliations||CBS Radio News
CBS Sports Radio
|Owner||Curtis Media Group|
WSJS (600 kHz) is a commercial AM radio station licensed to Winston-Salem, North Carolina and broadcasting to the Greensboro/Winston-Salem/High Point media market. It airs a News/Talk and Sports radio format, with national news supplied by CBS Radio News. WSJS is owned by the Curtis Media Group and its slogan is "The Triad's News Radio", where "Triad" refers to the Piedmont Triad. The station has a news sharing relationship with the Piedmont Triad's NBC-TV Network affiliate, WXII-TV Channel 12. Both WXII-TV and WSJS were co-owned until 1972 and both stations used to share the same WSJS call letters. WSJS has studios and offices on West Fifth Street and its transmitter is near Robinhood Road, both in Winston-Salem. The station operates at 5,000 watts day & night.
In 1929, entrepreneur and radio engineer Doug Lee began talking with Owen Moon, publisher of the two Winston-Salem newspapers, The Winston-Salem Journal and The Twin City Sentinel. The call letters refer to the newspapers, "Winston-Salem Journal" plus "Sentinel".
WSJS signed on the air on April 17, 1930, Holy Thursday. Three days later, the station aired live coverage of the Easter Sunrise Service from God's Acre in Old Salem. That broadcast has continued every year since, and is believed to be the longest continuously airing special program in radio history.
With WSJS owned by the two local newspapers, the original studios were in the papers' newsroom in downtown Winston-Salem. The transmitter was also in that building. The antenna was a long wire suspended from two towers (one on the Journal Building and the other on the roof of the Carolina Theater building).
In 1933, WSJS became a CBS Radio Network affiliate, moving to NBC Radio in 1940. Gordon Gray bought the newspapers and the radio station in 1937, and Harold Essex of Chicago became the manager. Together, they made WSJS as important to the area as the newspapers, increasing the station's power and moving WSJS from 1310 to 600 kHz. In 1941, an FM station, WMIT, was added near Mount Mitchell. The Radio Center Studios building at 419 Spruce Street was built for the stations in 1942. Later WSJS-FM (which became WTQR) began in Winston-Salem in 1947.
WSJS added a TV station in 1953. WSJS-TV was co-located with WSJS-AM for a number of years. The newspapers were sold to Media General in 1968, but longtime publisher Gordon Gray formed Triangle Broadcasting to hold onto the WSJS stations. Gray also acquired the cable franchise for Winston-Salem, Summit Cable. When the FCC ruled that one person could not own a television station and a cable system in the same market, Gray sold off WSJS-TV; it is now WXII-TV.
Wally Williams hosted "Carolina in the Morning" from 1954 to 1979. The show included the "good word for the day" and a daily devotional. Williams had started as an announcer on the TV station, where he continued to do the weather. When he retired, Winston-Salem mayor Wayne Corpening declared May 31 "Wally Williams Day." Wayne Willard did the news during most of Williams' years on the station, and also served as the station's news director.
George Lee joined WSJS radio in 1968. (*George Lee Bowermaster) Among his characters were Blue the Bionic Dog and Magnolia Sweetbreath. When signing off he would tell people to drive carefully so "that the life you save may be mine. Myself, I would rather be a little late than be the late George Lee." He and Tom Chambers would tell punch lines to jokes on the air—just the punch lines, because the jokes themselves were dirty. Before WSJS, he was on WAIR, and he was one of the "Good Guys" on WTOB.
In 1976 Lee became program director of WSJS and WTQR. (*George Brown was Program Director in 1979 and at least as late as 1982) Lee left radio in 1982 but his career included roles in several movies and TV shows, and he was the narrator of Beyond the Wheel, a program about NASCAR on The Speed Channel.
In 1979, Glenn Scott moved from WXII to WSJS to replace Williams as morning host, a position he held for almost 30 years. For the last few years, he did the show from his home in Horse Shoe, near Hendersonville, after moving closer to his children. He almost considered retiring but changed his mind when the station made arrangements for the remote broadcasts.
In 1982, former WTOB news Anchor Smith Patterson joined the station and in 1983 was made full-time by then station manager Roger Stockton. Patterson then joined Glenn Scott on the morning show for the rest of Scott's tenure 1984–2007. Patterson was with the station doing the morning news with JR Snider and also hosting the 5 a.m. Early Morning News With Smith Patterson until March, 2012.
In 1988, Bob Costner became WSJS news director, a position he would hold for nearly 20 years.
NewMarket Media Corp. sold WSJS and WTQR to Radio Equity Partners of Norwalk, Connecticut, in a deal completed in April 1994 and worth in excess of $100 million, as the Connecticut company expanded into the Southeast, looking for the best stations possible.
After more than 20 years, Wake Forest University stopped airing its football and basketball games on WSJS, moving to the first of several stronger FM stations. Gene Overby, also WSJS sports director prior to his death in 1989, was play-by-play announcer for Wake Forest for 17 years.
In August 1998, WSML in Graham, North Carolina, formerly a gospel music station, began airing the same programming as WSJS most of the time. The move was made to improve WSJS' coverage in the eastern Triad, particularly at night when WSJS must adjust its signal to protect several clear-channel stations on nearby frequencies. Legendary Greensboro DJ Dusty Dunn joined the stations. WSJS Program director Mike Fenley began a talk show on WSML which aired in the late morning, at the time WSJS was airing Dr. Laura. While WSJS aired Rush Limbaugh, WSML had Paul Harvey and religious programming. WSJS aired UNC football and basketball, while WSML carried N.C. State sports. Dunn left WSJS/WSML after a year because new station management wanted more of a focus on political talk.
WSJS and WTQR were sold to Clear Channel Communications in 1997.
When Clear Channel merged with AMFM, WSJS was sold to CBS Radio (then called Infinity) in 2000. The Infinity purchase meant WSJS dropped Paul Harvey and added Charles Osgood and The Dan Rather Report, and that CBS newscasts replaced those from ABC Radio News.
Beth Ann McBride was a producer and assistant continuity director in 2002 and 2003, and she became producer of the Don and Mike Show before returning to WSJS in December 2005 as program director and afternoon host, replacing Fenley.
On February 14, 2007, WSJS (along with its sister station WMFR and simulcast partner WSML) was sold by CBS to Raleigh-based Curtis Media Group. This move marries WSJS with FM news/talk station WZTK, which covers both the Triad and Triangle (as well as southern Virginia and as far south as Fayetteville).
This was the beginning of big changes at WSJS during 2007. McBride left her jobs as program director and host of the afternoon show "The Ride with McBride." News director Costner had already left the station for News 14 Carolina late in 2006. Ed Skurka, news director for Clear Channel's Greensboro-area stations, became WSJS/WMFR news anchor.
Also in 2007, Brian Freeman became news and programming director, as well as morning host, replacing Scott, who announced his retirement May 14. Freeman had worked six years in Miami, and in Dallas, Baltimore, Washington, and Philadelphia. Smith Patterson and J. R. Snider remained a part of the show. Among Freeman's changes was the addition of high school football games from outside Forsyth County. Only one game during the 2007 season was between two Forsyth teams, though some of the others were between a Forsyth team and an out-of-county team. But Freeman wanted WSJS to cover the entire area, and the station had always had listeners in Greensboro.
Freeman left WSJS in December 2009 for sister station WPTF in Raleigh, North Carolina where he took over duties as program director and morning show host.
Curtis Media Group announced that WSJS/WSML would no longer carry The Rush Limbaugh Show after December 31, 2009. The program moved to talk radio rival FM 94.5 WPTI, owned by iHeartMedia, which also owns the firm that syndicates Limbaugh, Premiere Networks.
The WSJS simulcast on WSML ended on July 15, 2010, after WSML began carrying an all-sports format in tandem with WMFR and WCOG. The station realigned its programming on March 13, 2012, when a locally produced show hosted by Brad Krantz and Britt Whitmire and the syndicated Neil Boortz and Clark Howard shows moved to WSJS, as well as sister station WPTK in Raleigh, from WZTK (which changed formats). WSJS also increased its news coverage, including the launch of an hour-long noon newscast.
On March 4, 2013, WSJS reunited with its former sister station WXII-TV 12 in a news sharing agreement. Because of the agreement, WXII 12 News at 6 p.m. started simulcasting on WSJS on March 4. The newscast is heard weeknights from 6:00-6:30 p.m. on WSJS followed by North Carolina News Network News.
On January 18, 2016, WSJS added more sports programming. Clark Howard ends one hour earlier at noon, while Dave Ramsey was dropped along with More with Matt Clark, produced by the station's operations manager, who was staying at WSJS. The Raleigh-based David Glenn Show was moving from delayed in the evenings to live in the early afternoon. Scott Hamilton of the Winston-Salem Journal, whose show was already on WMFR, WSML and WCOG, was added in the afternoon. CBS Sports Radio was added in the evening. Morning show The Triad's First News with J.R. Snider remains, along with the simulcast of the 6:00 news on WXII, plus a 6:30 evening newscast.
- Clodfelter, Tim (June 1, 2016). "Radio station WSJS moving to Kernersville". Winston-Salem Journal.
- Roger Moore, "WSJS, City's First Radio Station Was Born and Raised in the Journal Newsroom", Winston-Salem Journal, April 3, 1997.
- Broadcasting Yearbook 1977
- Young, Wesley (June 30, 2016). "Arts move: Black theater hall of fame could come downtown". Winston-Salem Journal. Retrieved July 1, 2016.
- Michelle Johnson, "Longtime Local Radio Host Wally Williams Dies in Surry at Age 88", Winston-Salem Journal October 26, 2001.
- Melissa Hall, "'Good Guy': Broadcaster George Lee Made Mark, Left a Smile", Winston-Salem Journal, October 5, 2006.
- Mark Burger, "Man Behind the Voice, George Lee, Dies at 67; He Was Active in Radio and Acting", Winston-Salem Journal September 30, 2006.
- Tim Clodfelter, "Popular WSJS Voice Will Retire", Winston-Salem Journal, May 15, 2007.
- Tim Clodfelter, "Morning-Man Glenn Scott Coming to You from Out There", Winston-Salem Journal, May 29, 2006.
- Tim Clodfelter, "Costner, the News Director at WSJS, Leaving to Be Editor, Reporter on TV", Winston-Salem Journal, October 21, 2006.
- Sheila Long, "Top Triad Radio Stations to Be Sold; WTQR and WSJS Won't Change Formats", Greensboro News & Record, December 29, 1993.
- Ed Hardin, "Deacons Replacing WSJS with New Station", Greensboro News & Record, March 2, 1995.
- Tom Steadman, "Scores and More: Jack LaFaivre Brings Conversational Sports to Area Radio Listeners", Greensboro News & Record, April 20, 1990.
- "Sandra Hughes Receives Award", Greensboro News & Record, October 20, 1990.
- Jeri Rowe, "Radio Personality Lands at WSJS", Greensboro News & Record, August 13, 1998.
- David Watson, "SAM", Winston-Salem Journal, September 18, 1998.
- Jeri Rowe, "Dusty Dunn Returns to Greensboro Airwaves", Greensboro News & Record, October 28, 1999.
- Dustin Long, "Hurricanes Getting Air Time in Georgia, But Not Greensboro", Greensboro News & Record, November 18, 1998.
- Melissa Midgett, "Three Local Radio Stations Sold – Radio Stations WMFR, WSJS and WSML Are Sold to Infinity Broadcasting", Greensboro News & Record, March 7, 2000.
- Ronda Bumgardner, "SAM", Winston-Salem Journal, December 21, 2000.
- "WSJS, Warthogs Will Partner for at Least Next Two Seasons", Winston-Salem Journal, March 4, 2003.
- "Fear Not: MTV's Scary Game Show Fell Victim to Low Ratings", Winston-Salem Journal, December 13, 2003
- Tim Clodfelter, "Playback: McBride Returns to WSJS, to Both Sides of Mike", Winston-Salem Journal December 7, 2005.
- Richard Craver, "Curtis Media Group Plans to Buy WSJS", Winston-Salem Journal, November 23, 2006.
- "Baptist Turns in Application for Imaging Center", Winston-Salem Journal, February 15, 2007.
- Tim Clodfelter, "WSJS Brings in Florida Anchor to Take Over Its Afternoon Show", Winston-Salem Journal, April 5, 2007.
- "People in Business", Winston-Salem Journal April 15, 2007.
- "WSJS Now Going Outside Forsyth for Football Games", Winston-Salem Journal, September 7, 2007.
- "Premiere pulls Rush Limbaugh affiliations in Raleigh and Greensboro". Radio-Info.com. October 30, 2009. Retrieved November 3, 2009.
- "Curtis Forms Triad Sports Network". Radio Ink. July 14, 2010. Retrieved July 19, 2010.
- "Curtis Media Launches Triad Sports Radio Network". WXII12.com. July 16, 2010. Retrieved July 19, 2010.
- "North Carolina's Curtis Media makes talk changes in Raleigh & Greensboro". Radio-Info.com. March 12, 2012. Retrieved March 12, 2012.
- WXII 12 announces partnership with WSJS - 600 AM will air WXII 12 News at 6:00 p.m. WXII12.com. February 28, 2013.
- Clodfelter, Tim (January 17, 2016). "WSJS radio expands sports coverage, adds Journal columnist Scott Hamilton to lineup". Winston-Salem Journal.
- Official website
- Query the FCC's AM station database for WSJS
- Radio-Locator Information on WSJS
- Query Nielsen Audio's AM station database for WSJS