|City||Ann Arbor, Michigan|
|Broadcast area|| (Daytime)
|Branding||Sports Talk 1050 WTKA|
|Slogan||The Leaders and Best|
|First air date||1945|
|Power||10,000 watts (Daytime)
500 watts (Nighttime)
|Callsign meaning||The TalK of Ann Arbor|
|Former callsigns||WPZA (12/87-2/93)
|Affiliations||CBS Sports Radio
Michigan IMG Sports Network
(Cumulus Licensing LLC)
|Sister stations||WLBY, WQKL, WWWW-FM|
Early years as WPAG
First on-air as WPAG in 1945, the station was the first licensed to Washtenaw County, with studios on the third floor of the Hutzel Building, at the corner of Main at Liberty Streets in Ann Arbor. (Currently, a digital service called A3 Radio netcasts from the old WPAG studios.) Owned by brothers Paul and Art Greene, the call letters WPAG were selected to reflect their names. (For many years there was a ladies lingerie and apparel store down on the Hutzel Building's first floor, which caused long-time University of Michigan football broadcaster Bob Ufer to joke that WPAG really stood for "Women's Panties And Girdles".) WPAG also briefly operated a television outlet, WPAG-TV on channel 20 in the 1950s.
In the 1960s, WPAG was one of several stations in the Ann Arbor featuring Top 40 musical fare. One of its most popular personalities was Dave Pringle, who later became a fixture on Detroit radio on various stations under the name "Dave Prince" (he adopted the name because Billboard magazine misprinted his name as "Dave Prince" instead of "Dave Pringle" in one issue, and he thought "Prince" sounded better). The station is also notable for being possibly the first to play Bob Seger; in 1961, Seger convinced the station to play a demo of "The Lonely One," a song he had recorded with his group at the time, the Decibels.
By 1970, WPAG had transitioned to a full-service format featuring MOR/adult contemporary music. The station remained successful until the late 1970s, when a recession led to declining business and forced the laying off of several employees. An early 1980s change to a satellite-delivered big band/nostalgia format garnered the station increased audience, but from advertiser-unfriendly older demographics. After a return to the station's longtime AC format proved unsuccessful, WPAG made a switch to country music after Christmas of 1985. The new "1050 Country", consulted by Ed Buchanan of Grand Rapids' successful WCUZ, was intended as a cosmopolitan variant of the country format for Ann Arbor and mixed in compatible soft rock titles by artists such as Bob Seger and Crosby, Stills and Nash alongside current and classic country hits.
WPZA, then WTKA
In December 1987, WTKA was purchased by Tom Monaghan and had its calls changed to WPZA -- a nod to Monaghan's thriving Domino's Pizza business -- with its unsuccessful cosmopolitan country format being dumped for another stab at full-service adult contemporary. In late 1992, Monaghan (who now owns Ave Maria Radio, including Ypsilanti's WDEO), sold WPZA to the MW Blue Partnership; eventually, it went to Cumulus Broadcasting and then to Clear Channel Communications, who flipped the station to all-sports WTKA ("The Ticket").
WTKA is now owned by Cumulus Broadcasting due in part to a multi-station swap between Cumulus and Clear Channel that involved stations in Michigan And Ohio.
Today, WTKA bills itself as "Sports Talk 1050 AM", the official voice of the University of Michigan sports. It is not, however, the flagship station; that status belongs to WWJ in Detroit. Sports Talk 1050 AM carries U-M football, basketball and hockey as well as Detroit Red Wings hockey and Detroit Tigers baseball (a holdover from the WPZA era, as Monaghan also owned the Tigers at that time).
Go Blue Wolverine magazine editor Sam Webb and Ira Weintraub host "The Michigan Insider" weekday mornings from 6-10am. The show features many prominent guests, including sports writer John Bacon, Yahoo Sports contributor Eric Adelson, and frequent interviews with University of Michigan coaches Brady Hoke, John Beilein, Carol Hutchins, Erik Bakich and more. One of the most popular features on "The Michigan Insider" is "Recruiting Roundup" with the latest information on Michigan football and basketball recruiting. The segment is recorded and available at any time on the station's website.
Webb also appears Sunday mornings from 9-10am on "The GoBlueWolverine Hour". The 10am-11am spot is then filled by author John U. Bacon and former University of Michigan tailback Jamie Morris, the school's third all-time leading rusher. The show also features a segment known as "Winners and Losers", where both the co-hosts and interns give a look at the best and worst stories in sports that week.
Weekdays (except from 6-10am), the station features CBS Sports Radio programming:
- 2:00 a.m. - 6:00 a.m. - The D.A. Show
- 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. - The John Feinstein Show
- 12:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. - The Jim Rome Show
- 3:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. - The Huge Show
- 6:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m. - Chris Moore & Brian Jones
- 10:00 p.m. - 2:00 a.m. - Ferrall on the Bench
On April 23, 2007 WTKA fired former University of Michigan hockey player Dave Shand from the station. Shand served as the co-host for the morning show titled "In the Locker Room with Dave Shand." The station gave no reason for the firing. Shand claims University of Michigan athletic director Bill Martin pressured the station to fire him, but a lawsuit against Martin on this claim was dismissed for lack of evidence.
- Michiguide.com - WTKA History
- Former Michigan QB Leach Rips Carr
- Audio of Rick Leach's criticism of Lloyd Carr from WTKA