|Broadcast area||Scranton, Pennsylvania|
|Branding||Northeast PA's ESPN Radio|
|Translator(s)||100.5 W263AL (Scranton)|
|Repeater(s)||100.1 WEJL-FM (Forest City)|
|First air date||January 8, 1923.|
|Power||2,000 watts (day)|
32 watts (night)
|Call sign meaning||W Edward J. Lynett|
(The Scranton Times late publisher)..
|Former call signs||WQAN (1922-1955)|
|Owner||Times-Shamrock Communications |
(The Scranton Times, L.P.)
WEJL is a radio station broadcasting in Scranton, Pennsylvania on the AM dial at 630 kHz. Its programming is simulcast on WQFM in Wilkes-Barre, at 1240 kHz and WEJL-FM in Forest City at 100.1 MHz. The stations, known on-air as "Northeast PA's ESPN Radio", broadcast sports talk programming from ESPN Radio, and serve as the Northeast Pennsylvania outlet for Philadelphia Phillies baseball, Philadelphia Eagles football, Notre Dame football and Villanova Wildcats basketball. They are owned by Times-Shamrock Communications, publishers of Scranton's daily newspaper, The Times-Tribune.
Effective December 1, 1921 the U.S. Department of Commerce, which regulated radio communication at this time, adopted regulations to formally establish a broadcast service category, which set aside the wavelength of 360 meters (833 kHz) for "entertainment" broadcasting, and 485 meters (619 kHz) for "market and weather reports". By mid-1922 hundreds of radio stations had been established, many of which were owned by, or had close affiliations, with newspapers. In November 1922, the Radio Sales Corporation in Scranton, headed by J. H. "Casey" Jones, received a broadcasting station license with the call letters WRAY. E. J. Lynett, publisher of The Scranton Times (now The Times-Tribune), believed radio was a natural business for a newspaper, and decided to get involved in the new medium as well. He contracted with Radio Sales to also construct a station for the Times, and in the meantime made arrangements to provide programming for WRAY, beginning on November 29, 1922.
The Times was issued its first broadcasting station license, with the sequentially assigned call letters of WQAN, on January 4, 1923. (WRAY remained licensed to the Radio Sales Corporation until it was deleted in mid-1924.) WQAN made its debut broadcast on January 8, 1923, under the slogan "The Voice of the Anthracite".
WQAN's initial grant authorized broadcasting on the 360 meter "entertainment" wavelength. In early 1923 the station was further authorized for the 485 meter "market and weather report" wavelength. Later that year it was reassigned to 1070 kHz. In late 1924 WQAN changed frequency to 1200 kHz, which was followed in 1927 by a move to 1300 kHz, now sharing the frequency with Scranton's other station, WGBI (now WAAF). WQAN and WGBI were moved to 880 kHz on November 11, 1928 as part of a major reallocation made under the provisions of the Federal Radio Commission's General Order 40. In 1941, implementation of the North American Regional Broadcasting Agreement resulted in the two stations changing their shared frequency to 910 kHz.
The frequency sharing agreement between WQAN and WGBI lasted for 21 years, only ending in 1948 when the Lynett family built a tower atop the Times Building in downtown Scranton for WQAN-FM at 92.3 MHz, and at the same time WQAN moved to 630 AM, transmitting from the same tower, which remains in use today.
WQAN-FM's call sign was changed in the early 1950s to WEJL-FM. The FM station was shut down in July 1955, and WQAN was renamed WEJL. The new call letters were chosen in honor of longtime publisher E. J. Lynett, who had died in 1943.
Originally a 500-watt daytime-only operation, WEJL has since boosted its daytime power to 2,000 watts, and received a low-power nighttime authorization.
For decades, WEJL was a full-service radio station. Its news updates at 12:30 pm and 4:30 pm, along with mine working schedules, were an institution in Scranton. It adopted its current sports radio format in the 1990s. Gradually, most locally-produced programming was phased out; the station now serves mostly as a "pass-through" for automated programming from ESPN Radio. One of the few local programs on the station is "In The Zone," a show focused on sports and athletes in northeast Pennsylvania that airs every Monday and Friday.
In 1994, the Lynetts bought WBAX in Wilkes-Barre (now WQFM) to fill in the gaps in WEJL's coverage. Although WEJL's daytime signal decently covers Wilkes-Barre, much of the southern part of the market (for instance, Hazleton) gets only a grade B signal due to the area's rugged terrain. At night, it must power down to 32 watts, limiting its nighttime coverage to Lackawanna County.
In 2008, the stations applied for special temporary authority to rebroadcast on FM translators W241AZ (96.1 Dunmore) and W241BB (96.1 Wilkes-Barre). In 2010, Times-Shamrock bought WQFN in Forest City, changed its calls to WQFM and turned it into a full-power satellite of WEJL. In April 2012 W263AL in Avoca at 100.5 began rebroadcasting WEJL and at the same time W241AZ in Dunmore switched to Clarks Summit and began rebroadcasting WFUZ through WEZX-HD2. In July 2013 WQFM changed its call sign to WEJL-FM.
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