AM stations have played musical chairs on dial over the years

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Reprinted from the Daily Oakland Press, July 18, 2005

By: Art Vuolo


While doing some much-needed cleaning, I uncovered a few of my old Radio Guides. After more than three decades of publishing them, I found it interesting to see what the Detroit dial looked like 30 years ago. On the AM dial, very few stations still maintain their original call letters — and none still has its original format. Consistent call-letters include nostalgia CKWW-AM (580), oldies CFCO-AM (630), news-talk WJR-AM (760), information CKLW-AM (800), all-news WWJ-AM (950), oldies CHOK-AM (1070), oldies/talk WPON-AM (1460), Spanish WSDS-AM (1480), variety CBE-AM (1550) and talk WAAM-AM (1600). (Technically, WSDS in Canton started out as a Top 40 station WYSI in Ypsilanti and then was country for 45 years. WAAM in Ann Arbor began in the late 1940s as WHRV, switching to WAAM in 1963.


Do you remember when 560 AM was WQTE or WHND Honey Radio? Out in Ann Arbor, 1050 started out as WPAG in 1945 and then became WPZA when pizza king Tom Monaghan bought the station. Now it’s WTKA. The AM station at 1130 was WCAR for years, but today you know it as The Fan, sports WDFN. The WCAR name is now on Catholic AM (1090), which started out as WERB Garden City before becoming WTAK, Detroit’s first all-talk station. AM 1270 started out as WGHP, then WXYZ and is now WXYT, while 1310 AM has had a litany of letters including WKMH, WKNR, WNIC-AM, WWKR, WMTG, WDOZ, WYUR and WXDX. Today, it’s progressive talk station WDTW. It’s also common for outlying stations to pick up discarded letters like WCXI — once at 1130, now at 1160 AM in Fenton, with management angling to move it to Wixom. Up near Port Huron, the old 96.3 FM WHYT letters were once on 1590 AM. And maybe you can recall when Top 40 WJBK-AM was on 1500. That dial position has also been country WDEE, pop WCZY-AM and now Christian WLQV. WMBC-AM (1400) evolved into WJLB then WQBH and is now WDTK, a conservative talker.

But back in the Roaring Twenties, private eye-turned broadcaster Jerry Buckley was America’s first radio reporter to use the power of the airwaves (250 watts in those days) to fight crime and corruption in Detroit. In a crime that was never solved, Buckley was slain July 23, 1930, by three gunmen as he sat reading a newspaper in a Detroit hotel lobby. A tribute to this legendary radio man will be held on the 75th anniversary of his assassination noon-2 p.m. Saturday at the Roma Cafe in Detroit’s Eastern Market District. For more information on the event, call (810) 730-5110 or e-mail former CNN and NBC news correspondent Pat Clawson at patrickclawson@comcast.net.

Those heading up north for a getaway now have another frequency for quality classical music. Dick Wallace of the late WQRS tells me that WIAA-FM (88.7), the 100,000-watt classical powerhouse from the Interlochen Music Camp, is now also available at 88.5 FM in Mackinaw City. This is in addition to its other repeater signal at 100.9 FM in East Jordan.

Quick Hits: Adult urban WMXD-FM (92.3) continues to search for the next Mix Morning host after the departure of Tom Joyner to the new urban WDMK-FM (105.9).

Mark your calendar for John Mason’s 25th anniversary concert Saturday at the Phoenix Plaza in downtown Pontiac. Mason is now on afternoons at WDMK, known as Kiss-FM.

Public radio WDET-FM (101.9) late-night host Liz Copeland is celebrating 10 years at the NPR affiliate. Late shifters and insomniacs can tune her in 10 p.m.-3 a.m. weeknights.

Classic rock WCSX-FM (94.7) is six days into its two week event of playing its entire musical library of nearly 2,000 songs from A to Z. Now that’s a “no repeat guarantee” that I can really enjoy.

Today, Joel Morgan assumes his new duties as promotion director of classic hits WDTW-FM (106.7), known as The Drive. Morgan is truly one of the nice guys in local radio and is deserving of the new job.

The overnight trucker talk show on WJR gets a host change as Joe Kelly hits the exit ramp and is replaced by Gary McNamara teaming with Eric Harley starting July 25.

Set Your Dials: For the music of Benny Goodman by Ziggy Elman on “Somewhere in Time,” at 6 p.m. Sunday on Christian WMUZ-FM (103.5).


Art Vuolo has published the Radio Guide for more than 30 years and runs Vuolovideo.com.

 

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Mike Austerman published on July 18, 2005 8:00 AM.

Metro Detroit: In the News July 10-16 was the previous entry in this blog.

Local Radio Strong; New Competitors Are 'Over Hyped' is the next entry in this blog.

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