|Broadcast area||Southeast Michigan|
|Branding||News Talk 760 WJR|
Fox News Radio
Michigan State Spartans Radio Network
|Owner||Cumulus Media |
(Radio License Holdings LLC)
First air date
|May 4, 1922|
Former call signs
|580 kHz (1922-1928)|
750 kHz (1928-1941)
Call sign meaning
|Former owner Jewett Radio & Phonograph Co.|
|Power||50,000 watts unlimited|
WJR (760 AM) is a commercial radio station in Detroit, Michigan. It is owned by Cumulus Media and broadcasts a News/Talk radio format. WJR is a Class A clear channel station. With a good radio, it can be heard throughout much of the Eastern United States and Eastern Canada at night, operating with 50,000 watts, the maximum power for commercial AM stations. It is Michigan's primary entry point station for the Emergency Alert System.
WJR airs a mix of local and nationally syndicated talk shows and local sports. Weekdays feature WJR morning personality Paul W. Smith, afternoon personality Mitch Albom and late morning host Kevin Dietz. It is the Detroit outlet for Westwood One syndicated talk shows Dan Bongino, Mark Levin, Ben Shapiro and "Red Eye Radio". For many years, WJR aired Rush Limbaugh in early afternoons. WJR is also the flagship station of the Michigan State Spartans. Late nights and weekends, world and national news from Fox News Radio begins each hour.
WJR's transmitter building and transmitter tower are located off Sibley Road in Riverview, Michigan. It is considered "one of the best Art Deco transmitter buildings ever." The studios are located in the Fisher Building in Detroit's New Center area. A tower atop the Fisher Building is used for transmitting WJR's audio to the transmitter. At one time WJR-FM (currently WDVD) used that tower to broadcast its signal.
The station began as WCX on May 4, 1922, owned by the Detroit Free Press newspaper, broadcasting from the Free Press Building. It shared this frequency with WWJ, owned by The Detroit News. On December 8, 1924, WCX opened studios atop the new Book-Cadillac Hotel in downtown Detroit, with transmitter facilities on the roof. Hometown poet Edgar A. Guest and the Jean Goldkette orchestra participated in the program.
In 1925, the Jewett Radio & Phonograph Company of Pontiac, Michigan purchased WCX. The station later became known as WCX/WJR. Also by 1925, WWJ was at 850 kHz, and both stations were broadcasting with 5000 watts of power. On November 11, 1928, WWJ moved to 750 as a result of the FRC's General Order 40. It has broadcast on 950 AM since 1941.
On December 16, 1928, the station moved from the newspaper's offices to its current location in the Fisher Building. It began identifying as "WJR Detroit, from the Golden Tower of the Fisher Building". 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, and WJR acquired all its assets. In 1931, the station raised its power to 10,000 watts. Four years later, it was authorized to broadcast with 50,000 watts. On March 29, 1941, WJR moved from 750 to 760 kHz in accordance with the NARBA frequency reallocations. Before North American Regional Broadcasting Agreement of 1941, 750 kHz was a clear channel under 1928 rules.
WJR became a CBS Network affiliate on September 29, 1935, after having been affiliated with the NBC Blue Network. On the same date, WJR's officials formally dedicated the station's new 50,000 watt transmitter.
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". 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 and Detroit Pistons basketball.
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. Past WJR personalities included J.P. McCarthy, Jimmy Launce, Warren Pierce, Mike Whorf, Murray Gula, Joel Alexander, Jay Roberts, Charles Coughlin and many others. WJR Program Directors during the Capital Cities era included Joe Bacarella, Curt Hahn and AC radio consultant Gary Berkowitz.
Music programming on WJR has been phased out almost entirely over the past two decades. As of June 2014, the only music-oriented show on the station is the Renfro Valley Gatherin', aired early Sunday mornings. In 2006, WJR picked up the nationally syndicated Handyman Show with Glenn Haege, which originates from Detroit, and previously aired on WXYT and WDFN. The Handyman Show is a nationally syndicated show, originating from WJR's own studios, as is also the case with several other weekend shows such as The C.A.R. Show and The Real Estate Insiders.
WJR broadcast an HD Radio signal for about a two-year period (2006-2008) (also on WDRQ's HD2 digital subchannel), eventually eliminating night time HD radio use, then dropping it completely on both WJR and WDRQ-HD2, returning to its 50,000 watt analog signal only. WJR is streamed via the web, and has since returned to HD Radio on WDVD-HD2. WJR is licensed to broadcast a digital hybrid (HD) signal.
For much of its history, WJR served as a powerhouse in Michigan sports radio. However, in 2001, the station lost its longtime flagship rights to the Detroit Tigers and Detroit Red Wings, both of which moved to CBS-owned WXYT and WXYT-FM. Then, in 2005, the station dropped its status as the flagship station for Michigan Wolverines football and basketball in favor of a flagship rights deal with the Michigan State Spartans. WJR had served as flagship for Michigan State prior to 1976.
On November 20, 2015, WJR announced it would take over as flagship station of the Detroit Lions in 2016, with the team moving over from WXYT-FM. Due to its commitment to live sporting events, regular programming may be pre-empted. (During parts of the season when Michigan football and Tiger baseball were both on, Tiger baseball would take precedence, and if a Michigan football game was either just beginning or really good when Tiger baseball came on, an announcement would come on as the football game fades out stating the need to switch due to contractual obligations. Otherwise, the announcement would just simply state the station is leaving the Michigan game for the Tigers. Either way, listener were directed to CKLW 800 AM in nearby Windsor, Ontario, for the conclusion of the game.) On December 18, 2020, the Detroit Lions announced that Entercom has signed a deal for WXYT-FM to become the flagship station for the 2021 NFL season after a five year partnership.