A Brief History Of WWJ

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WWJ 950 AM, “Newsradio 950″ is Detroit, Michigan’s only 24-hour all-news radio station. Broadcasting at 950 kHz, the station is owned and operated by CBS Corporation subsidiary CBS Radio. WWJ first went on the air on August 20, 1920 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 is committed to keeping listeners informed with useful information, including “Traffic and Weather on the 8’s” which features 24/7 coverage by the best Detroit Traffic Reporters and AccuWeather forecasts.

On August 20, 1920, The Detroit News started the station with the call sign 8MK, Then, 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.

In 1923, 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 frequency reassignment, WWJ moved to 950 AM where it remains to this day.

The programming throughout this time was focused on variety. 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, music and local news would make up a larger portion of its format as television 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 dropped its middle-of-the-road music format in favor of all-news programming in 1973.

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, often finishing in first place in surveys of overall listenership as our success continues today.

Check out our WWJ Firsts Timeline to learn more.

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