Encyclopedia Of Detroit

WJR-760 AM

WJR, known as “News Talk 760,” is a Detroit-based AM radio station broadcasting throughout Detroit, southeast Michigan, and parts of northern Ohio. It can even be heard throughout most of the eastern United States, and eastern Canada at night, making it one of the most powerful radio stations in the United States, at 50,000 watts. Currently, WJR occupies studios and offices on the seventh and eighth floors of the Fisher Building in Detroit, with a transmitter and broadcast tower in Riverview, Michigan. It is the home of morning personality Paul W. Smith, and the flagship station of radio personality Mitch Albom, and Michigan State University athletics. 

WJR was born out of a newspaper rivalry in the early 1920s. When WWJ was established by the Detroit News in 1920, E. D. Stair, the owner and publisher of its rival newspaper, the Detroit Free Press, felt pressured to keep up with his competitor. On May 4, 1922, operating at 580 kHz, WJR held its first broadcast from a studio on the ninth floor of the Free Press Building, under the call sign WCX, which became known as “The Call of the Motor City.”

On August 16, 1925, Pontiac’s Jewett Radio and Phonographic Company bought WJR, moving the station to the Book-Cadillac Hotel, and renaming it WCX/WJR, the “JR” standing for Jewett Radio. Also by 1925, WJR was operating at 850 kHz, and broadcasting at 5,000 watts of power. On November 11, 1928, it moved to 750 AM as a result of the changes made to the broadcasting band by the Federal Radio Commission, and separated from WCX. 

On December 16, 1928, WJR moved to the Fisher Building, and began to broadcast with the slogan, “WJR Detroit, from the Golden Tower of the Fisher Building,” which is still used today. WJR became known as “The Goodwill Station” when it was bought by Goodwill Stations, Inc. in 1929. It increased its power to 10,000 watts in 1931, and began broadcasting at its current level of 50,000 watts in 1935, the year it switched from NBC to CBS. On March 29, 1941, it moved from 750 to 760 kHz in accordance with the North American Radio Broadcasting Agreement (NARBA) frequency reallocations. 

The 1960s were important decades for WJR. Goodwill Stations was sold to Capital Cities Broadcasting Corporation in 1964, after which the station began using the slogan, “The Great Voice of the Great Lakes.” Broadcast rights to Detroit Tigers games, with play-by-play announcer Ernie Harwell, were obtained that year, and they broadcast games until losing the rights in 2001.

WJR has changed its programming since the turn of the 21st Century, dropping most of its news programs, leaving WWJ as the main AM source for radio news in southeast Michigan. Music programming on WJR has been almost completely phased out, with the only music-oriented show being the Renfro Valley Gathering.

The current programming schedule on WJR is dominated by nationally-syndicated right wing conservative personalities such as Mark Levin, Michael Savage, and until his passing, Rush Limbaugh. Locally, Paul W. Smith and Frank Beckman host the morning weekday programs, and former TV newscaster Guy Gordon, and author and columnist Mitch Albom, anchor the weekday afternoon shows.



WJR recordings record celebrating the 50th anniversary, 1972 - 2013.040.378

Tigers Radio Network schedule featuring WJR logo, 1987 - 2014.003.065

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