WWJ is Detroit, Michigan
Michigan is a U.S. state located in the Great Lakes Region of the United States of America. The name Michigan is the French form of the Ojibwa word mishigamaa, meaning "large water" or "large lake"....

's only 24-hour all-news radio
All-news radio
All-news radio is a radio format devoted entirely to discussion and broadcast of news.All-news radio is available in both local and syndicated forms, and is carried in some form on both major US satellite radio networks...

 station. Broadcasting at 950 kHz
The hertz is the SI unit of frequency defined as the number of cycles per second of a periodic phenomenon. One of its most common uses is the description of the sine wave, particularly those used in radio and audio applications....

, the station is owned and operated by CBS Corporation
CBS Corporation
CBS Corporation is an American media conglomerate focused on commercial broadcasting, publishing, billboards and television production, with most of its operations in the United States. The President and CEO of the company is Leslie Moonves. Sumner Redstone, owner of National Amusements, is CBS's...

 subsidiary CBS Radio
CBS Radio
CBS Radio, Inc., formerly known as Infinity Broadcasting Corporation, is one of the largest owners and operators of radio stations in the United States, third behind main rival Clear Channel Communications and Cumulus Media. CBS Radio owns around 130 radio stations across the country...

. The station first went on the air on August 20, 1920
1920 in radio
The year 1920 saw a number of significant events in radio broadcasting.- Events :* In January the first informal and spasmodic broadcasts in Great Britain are made by the Marconi Company from Chelmsford...

 with the call sign 8MK. It is believed to be the first station to broadcast news reports regularly as well as the first regularly scheduled religious broadcast and play-by-play sports broadcast.

WWJ provides "Traffic and Weather on the 8's" which features 24/7 coverage by Detroit Traffic Reporters and AccuWeather
AccuWeather is an American media company that provides for-profit weather forecasting services worldwide.AccuWeather was founded in 1962 by Joel N. Myers, then a Penn State graduate student working on degrees in meteorology. His first customer was a gas company in Pennsylvania. While running the...

 forecasts. Although WWJ is the only commercial all news radio station in Michigan, co-owned WWJ-TV
WWJ-TV, virtual channel 62 , is the CBS-owned and operated television station in Detroit, Michigan. It is co-owned with Detroit's CW station, WKBD-TV , and the two stations share a studio in Southfield, Michigan, a Detroit suburb....

 is the only CBS Owned-and-operated station
Owned-and-operated station
In the broadcasting industry , an owned-and-operated station usually refers to a television station or radio station that is owned by the network with which it is associated...

 without a local news presence.

WWJ can be heard in every part of the state of Michigan during the nighttime hours, and much of southern Lower Michigan during the day. WWJ's signal can even be heard in the Upper Peninsula and Mackinac area at night, while often unlistenable just 40 minutes west of Detroit in the Ann Arbor area due to interference from co-channel WNTD
WNTD is an AM radio station in Chicago, Illinois. It is owned by Sovereign City Radio Services LLC. Its frequency is 950 AM and has separate day-time and night-time transmitter locations. It is currently one of three stations in the Chicago market that airs Relevant Radio, a Catholic talk...

 in Chicago. WWJ's nighttime signal to the east is also impeded by WPEN
WPEN is an AM radio station broadcast on 950 kHz. The station is licensed to Philadelphia and serves that market. WPEN is owned and operated by Greater Media and offers a Sports Talk format. The station is known as "950 ESPN"-The Early Years:...

 in Philadelphia.

In recent years, WWJ has started to shy away from their moniker "All news, all the time", due to occasional broadcasts of sporting events. However, they remain a news radio network as a whole, using the new moniker of "Live, Local, and committed to Detroit". Along with sister station WXYT-FM, WWJ is the flagship station of the Detroit Pistons
Detroit Pistons
The Detroit Pistons are a franchise of the National Basketball Association based in Auburn Hills, Michigan. The team's home arena is The Palace of Auburn Hills. It was originally founded in Fort Wayne, Indiana as the Fort Wayne Pistons as a member of the National Basketball League in 1941, where...

. WWJ is also the flagship station of Michigan Wolverines football
Michigan Wolverines football
The Michigan Wolverines football program represents the University of Michigan in college football at the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision level. Michigan has the most all-time wins and the highest winning percentage in college football history...


Station timeline

On August 20, 1920, The Detroit News
The Detroit News
The Detroit News is one of the two major newspapers in the U.S. city of Detroit, Michigan. The paper began in 1873, when it rented space in the rival Free Press's building. The News absorbed the Detroit Tribune on February 1, 1919, the Detroit Journal on July 21, 1922, and on November 7, 1960,...

started the station with the call sign 8MK, assigned to it by the United States Department of Commerce
United States Department of Commerce
The United States Department of Commerce is the Cabinet department of the United States government concerned with promoting economic growth. It was originally created as the United States Department of Commerce and Labor on February 14, 1903...

 Bureau of Navigation, the government bureau responsible for radio regulation at the time.

8MK was initially licensed to Michael DeLisle Lyons, a teenager, and radio pioneer. He assembled the station in the Detroit News Building but the Scripps family asked him to register the station in his name, because they were worried this new technology might only be a fad, so they wanted to keep some distance.

Later that year, Michael and his brother Frank, also assembled the first radio in a police car in Toledo, Ohio (with Ed Clark who started WJR 760 AM in Detroit). They captured a prowler using the radio, and the story captured headlines across the country. RCA got the contract to install radios in police cars across the country.

The Scripps family were also worried radio might replace newspapers if radio caught on, so they financially supported Michael. In fact, most early radio stations were built, for the same reason, by families who owned newspapers . . . out of fear that radio would put them out of business (After all, why buy a paper if you could turn a knob and hear the news?) Michael DeLisle Lyons descended from Francois Bienvenu DeLisle, who served as Cadillac's lieutenant on the founding voyage of Detroit. Francois was also Detroit's first tavernkeeper.

The 8 in the call sign means the station is located in the 8th Radio Inspection District, while the M in the call sign means the station operated under an amateur license. It is not clear why the Detroit News applied for an amateur license instead of an experimental license. As an amateur station, it broadcast at 200 meters (the equivalent of 1500 kHz).

On October 13, 1921 the station was granted a limited commercial license and was assigned the call letters WBL. With the new license, the station began broadcasting at 360 meters (833 kHz), with weather reports and other government reports broadcast at 485 meters (619 kHz).

On March 3, 1922, for reasons that are not known, the call letters, WWJ, were assigned to the station. Some believe the new call letters are an abbreviation for stockholders William
William Edmund Scripps
William Edmund Scripps was a noted newspaper publisher with The Detroit News, pioneer aviator; and one of the original founders of WWJ radio station.-Family:...

 and John Scripps, but on page 82 of a book published by the Detroit News in 1922, WWJ-The Detroit News, the station writers write "WWJ is not the initials of any name. It is a symbol. It was issued to the Detroit News by the government in connection with the licensing of this broadcasting plant."

In 1923, the Commerce Department realized that as more and more stations were applying for commercial licenses, it was not practical to have every station broadcast on the same two wavelengths. It was decided to set aside 81 frequencies, in 10 kHz steps, from 550 kHz to 1350 kHz, and each station would be assigned one frequency, no longer having to broadcast weather and government reports on a different frequency than entertainment. As a result, WWJ was moved to 517 meters (580 kHz). It was later re-assigned, during a re-alignment of stations by the new Federal Radio Commission in 1927-28, to fulltime operation on 920 kHz, and allowed to increase its power in stages, reaching 5,000 watts by the late 1930s.

On March 29, 1941 as part of the NARBA
North American Radio Broadcasting Agreement
The North American Radio Broadcasting Agreement, usually referred to as NARBA, is a treaty that took effect in March 1941 and set out the bandplan and interference rules for mediumwave AM broadcasting in North America. Although mostly replaced by other agreements in the 1980s, the basic bandplan...

 frequency reassignment, WWJ moved to 950 AM where it remains to this day. The programming throughout this time was focused on variety. That same year (1941), WWJ initiated Michigan's first FM broadcasts via W8XWJ; this station later became known as W45D, WENA, WWJ-FM, WJOI, WYST, and WKRK, and is now WXYT-FM. During the 1940s it transmitted most of the NBC "Red" network schedule, as well as locally produced news, entertainment and music programming. After World War II, especially as television grew in household reach and popularity, music and regularly scheduled local news would make up a larger portion of its format as television
Television is a telecommunication medium for transmitting and receiving moving images that can be monochrome or colored, with accompanying sound...

 eroded support for variety programming on radio and the Golden Age of Radio gradually ended.

With the advent of FM radio and stereo broadcasting, WWJ phased out its daytime Middle of the Road music programming in May of 1971 and became a strictly news and talk station during daytime hours (although for the first several years of the all-news format, the station simulcast the beautiful music format of WWJ-FM 97.1 overnights). The all-news format has served WWJ well over the past three and a half decades, enabling it to rank consistently among the Detroit area's most popular stations with adult listeners, occasionally finishing in first place in recent surveys of overall listenership.

In 1987, Federal Broadcasting Corporation, run by David Herriman, purchased WWJ and WJOI (now WXYT-FM) from the new owner of The Detroit News, Gannett, now the owner of The Detroit Free Press, which was required to sell the stations immediately by the Federal Communications Commission
Federal Communications Commission
The Federal Communications Commission is an independent agency of the United States government, created, Congressional statute , and with the majority of its commissioners appointed by the current President. The FCC works towards six goals in the areas of broadband, competition, the spectrum, the...

 because of crossownership rules in effect at that time. On March 9, 1989, CBS
CBS Broadcasting Inc. is a major US commercial broadcasting television network, which started as a radio network. The name is derived from the initials of the network's former name, Columbia Broadcasting System. The network is sometimes referred to as the "Eye Network" in reference to the shape of...

 bought the station, with its ownership being transferred to Infinity Broadcasting after CBS's 1996 acquisition of that group...although further corporate reorganization has put the station directly under the CBS corporate brand name once again in recent years.

When CBS acquired WWJ-TV
WWJ-TV, virtual channel 62 , is the CBS-owned and operated television station in Detroit, Michigan. It is co-owned with Detroit's CW station, WKBD-TV , and the two stations share a studio in Southfield, Michigan, a Detroit suburb....

 in 1995 and needed a site for a new transmission tower for improving the UHF television station's coverage, the WWJ radio transmitter site in Oak Park
Oak Park, Michigan
As of the census of 2000, there were 29,793 people, 11,104 households, and 7,595 families residing in the city. The population density was 5,863.8 persons per square mile . There were 11,370 housing units at an average density of 2,263.9 per square mile...

 was partially dismantled (the taller north tower was razed) to make room for the television tower. The AM transmitter facility was replaced in late 1998 by a new six-tower array in Monroe County
Monroe County, Michigan
Monroe County is a county in the U.S. state of Michigan. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the 2010 population is 152,021. The largest city and county seat is Monroe. The U.S. Census Bureau defines all of Monroe County as conterminous with the Monroe Metropolitan Area...

, near Newport. The new site allowed WWJ to upgrade to 50,000 watts, greatly improving their nighttime signal in the Downriver
Downriver is the unofficial name for a collection of 18 suburban cities and townships in Wayne County, Michigan south of Detroit along the western shore of the Detroit River....

 communities, where WWJ had a weak signal, as they had been using a directional antenna to protect established stations in Denver
KRWZ is a radio station licensed to Denver, Colorado, USA, the station serves the Denver area. It carries an oldies format. The station is currently owned by Lincoln Financial Media Company of Colorado....

, Houston
KPRC is a talk radio station in Houston, Texas, branded as "The 950 - Radio MOJO". Started in 1925, it is the oldest station in the market...

 and Philadelphia
WPEN is an AM radio station broadcast on 950 kHz. The station is licensed to Philadelphia and serves that market. WPEN is owned and operated by Greater Media and offers a Sports Talk format. The station is known as "950 ESPN"-The Early Years:...

. The move was not without its disadvantages, as the sheer distance of the new site from commercially important Oakland County
Oakland County, Michigan
-Demographics:As of the 2010 Census, there were 1,202,362 people, 471,115 households, and 315,175 families residing in the county. The population density as of the 2000 census was 1,369 people per square mile . There were 492,006 housing units at an average density of 564 per square mile...

 meant the new signal, though adequate for home and outdoor listening, had trouble inside office buildings. The northeastern reaches of the Metropolitan area
Metro Detroit
The Detroit metropolitan area, often referred to as Metro Detroit, is the metropolitan area located in Southeast Michigan centered on the city of Detroit which shares an international border with Windsor, Ontario. The Detroit metropolitan area is the second largest U.S. metropolitan area...

 only receive a fair signal, for the protection of a station
CIQB-FM is a Canadian radio station, which broadcasts a Top 40 format at 101.1 FM in Barrie, Ontario The station uses the on-air brand name B101 and broadcasts to Barrie & surrounding areas of Simcoe County, including the communities of Orillia, Midland, Collingwood, and dozens of...

 in Barrie
Barrie may refer to:* Barrie, city in Ontario, Canada* Barrie , Canadian federal electoral district* Barrie , provincial electoral district* Barrie—Simcoe—Bradford, former Canadian electoral district...

, despite the fact that the station there shut down its AM transmitter years earlier.

In March, 2005, WWJ began offering a 24-hour live webcast. In August 2005, the station began offering podcasts of newsmakers, interviews, and some of the station's feature programming. The station also recently began broadcasting an HD, or high-definition, signal, which gives an AM broadcast FM-like quality.


  • Joe Donovan
  • Roberta Jasina
  • Greg Bowman
  • Jayne Bower
  • Bill Stevens
  • Paul Snider
  • Pat Vitale
  • Marie Osborne
  • Mike Campbell
  • Rob Mason
  • Rob Sanford
  • Michael Collins
  • Jeff DeFran

Studio Traffic Reporters

  • John Bailey
  • Alisa Zee
  • Lance Howard
  • Mike Lindeman
  • Jo-Jo Shutty-MacGregor
  • Marty Bufalini
  • Terry T. Brown
  • Liz Decker
  • Jim Daniels
  • Chuck Roberts


  • Dr. Joe Sobel
    Joe Sobel
    Dr. Joe Sobel , a meteorologist, is a native of New York City, New York, USA, and a graduate of George W. Hewlett High School on Long Island. He received his B.S. in meteorology from the University of Michigan in 1967 and an M.S. and Ph.D. in meteorology from the Pennsylvania State University in...

  • Bob Larson
  • Jim Kosek
  • Heather Zehr
  • Carl Babinski
  • Eric Wilhelm
  • Dave Bowers
  • Bernie Rayno
  • Dean DeVore
  • Kerry Schwindenhemmer

Specialty Reporter

  • Ed Coury
  • Matt Roush
  • Murray Feldman
  • John McElroy
  • Tim Skubick
  • Vickie Thomas
  • Ron Dewey
  • Florence Walton
  • Jeff Gilbert
  • Beth Fisher
  • Pat Sweeting
  • Jon Hewett

Notable alumni

  • Mark Champion
    Mark Champion
    Mark Champion is an American radio sportscaster who is the current primary radio play-by-play voice of the Detroit Pistons, a position he has served in since 2001...

  • Hugh Downs
    Hugh Downs
    Hugh Malcolm Downs is a long time American broadcaster, television host, news anchor, TV producer, author, game show host, and music composer; and is perhaps best known for his role as co-host the NBC News program Today from 1962 to 1971, host of the Concentration game show from 1958 to 1969, and...

  • Marvin "Sonny" Eliot
  • Bill Kennedy (actor)
    Bill Kennedy (actor)
    Willard "Bill" Kennedy was an American actor, voice artist, and host of the long-running Detroit-based television show, Bill Kennedy at the Movies. He began his career as a staff announcer in radio; Kennedy's voice narrates the opening of the television series Adventures of...

  • Byron MacGregor
    Byron MacGregor
    Byron MacGregor was a Canadian news anchor and news director.-Career:Born Gary Lachlan Mack in Calgary, Alberta, by the age of nineteen, he became the youngest news director at the AM radio station, CKLW in Windsor, Ontario, which also served Detroit, Michigan as well as Toledo and Cleveland in...

  • Paul Keels
    Paul Keels
    Paul Keels is the current play-by-play announcer for Ohio State University's football and men's basketball teams for WBNS Radio and the Ohio State Buckeyes Radio Network....

Frequency & power changes

The following details the changes in frequency and power experienced by WWJ over the years.
The data is from the Radio Service Bulletins that were issued periodically by the Commerce Department (the dates are the dates the particular bulletin was issued, not the date of the change):
  • February 1, 1924, 517 meters (580 kHz) at 500 Watts.
  • February 2, 1925, 352.7 meters (850 kHz) at 500 Watts.
  • January 30, 1926, 352.7 meters (850 kHz) at 1,000 Watts.
  • May 31, 1927, 374.8 meters (800 kHz) at 1,000 Watts.
  • January 31, 1928, 352.7 meters (850 kHz) at 1,000 Watts.
  • February 28, 1929 326 meters (920 kHz) at 1,000 Watts.

The station's power increased to 5,000 watts in 1937, and
its frequency was permanently set at 950 kHz on March 29, 1941.

It reached its current 50,000 watts in 2000.

External links

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