“Story of radio station WJR, Detroit. Many shots with local radio personalities in studio and people listening to the radio at home, in the ballpark at work and outdoors. Excellent, clear color film with good sequences and shots”
Public domain film from the Library of Congress Prelinger Archive, slightly cropped to remove uneven edges, with the aspect ratio corrected, and mild video noise reduction applied.
The soundtrack was also processed with volume normalization, noise reduction, clipping reduction, and equalization.
WJR (760 AM) is a radio station in Detroit, Michigan, United States. It broadcasts a news/talk format. It is a class A clear channel station whose broadcasts can be heard throughout most of the Midwest, eastern United States and Canada at night, making it one of the most powerful radio stations in the United States. WJR can also be heard as far west as Illinois during the day. News/Talk 760 is the home of morning personality Paul W. Smith, the flagship station of drive home personality Mitch Albom, Michigan State University athletics, and is the highest rated talk station in Michigan. Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, Bob Brinker, Adam Bold and the Midnight Radio Network also make up WJR’s weekly syndicated lineup.
WJR began as WCX on May 4, 1922, owned by the Detroit Free Press newspaper, operating at 580 kHz. It shared this frequency with WWJ, another station owned by the Detroit News newspaper. In 1925, WCX was bought by the Jewett Radio & Phonograph Company in Pontiac, Michigan, and the station became known as WCX/WJR. Also by 1925, WWJ was at 850 kHz, and both stations were broadcasting at 5000 watts of power. On November 11, 1928, it moved to 750 AM as a result of the FRC’s General Order 40.
On December 16, 1928, the station moved from the newspaper’s offices to the Fisher Building and began its callsign, “WJR Detroit, from the Golden Tower of the Fisher Building,” which soon became famous across the country (and is still used to this day). Goodwill Stations Inc., formed by George A. Richards (who also owned the Detroit Lions), acquired WJR in 1929, and it became known as “The Goodwill Station” (along with WGAR in Cleveland and KMPC in Los Angeles). WCX ceased to exist, as all the assets were acquired by WJR. In 1931, the station raised its power to 10,000 watts; four years later, it would broadcast at 50,000 watts. On March 29, 1941, WJR moved from 750 to 760 kHz in accordance to the NARBA frequency reallocations. Before North American Radio Broadcasting Agreement of 1941, 750 kHz was a clear channel under 1928 rules.
Richards died in May 1951, and in 1964, Goodwill Stations was sold to Capital Cities Communications, which later merged with ABC and later with the Walt Disney Company. Upon the sale, WJR’s air slogan became “The Great Voice of the Great Lakes,” which is also still in use today. Also in 1964, WJR acquired full rights to Detroit Tigers baseball games, with announcers Ernie Harwell and George Kell, who had begun broadcasting Tiger games in 1960. Previously, WJR had carried only night games with day games on WKMH and WJBK. The station became the flagship of the “Tiger Baseball Network.” In the late 1960s, WJR also became the flagship station for Detroit Red Wings hockey.
The station is also remembered among many Metro Detroiters for its advertising campaigns and jingles including “W-J-R … Radio 76 … Cares About Detroit.” Another: “This is America’s finest – AM stereo 76.” Regularly on his show, J.P. McCarthy would state in a nonchalant way “This is the world’s greatest radio station, WJR Detroit,” with a manner that made it seem like the most obvious of facts. WJR broadcast in “AM Stereo” from 1982 to 2006, and was received in (C-Quam) stereo AM at great distances at night. WJR’s Detroit Tigers home games were broadcast in stereo, as were the Thanksgiving Day Parades.
Most of WJR’s broadcast studios, along with its newsroom and offices, are in the Fisher Building. The station also has a satellite studio in the Wintergarden of the GM Renaissance Center in downtown Detroit. In addition to JP McCarthy, other WJR personalities included Jimmy Launce, Warren Pierce, Joel Alexander, Jay Roberts and many others. WJR Program Directors during the Capital Cities era included Joe Bacarella, Curt Hahn and AC radio consultant Gary Berkowitz.
WJR signed on an FM outlet in 1948 at 96.3 MHz. The station was known as WJR-FM until 1982 when it became WHYT. It is now WDVD.
For many years, WJR was a powerhouse in Michigan sports radio. However, in recent years, the station lost the flagship rights to the Detroit Tigers and Detroit Red Wings, both of whom moved to WXYT. Then, in 2005, the 30-year-old flagship relationship with the Michigan Wolverines’ football and basketball programs were dropped due to WJR signing a flagship rights deal with the Michigan State Spartans…