Encyclopedia Of Detroit

WWJ 950 AM

WWJ, known as “Newsradio 950,” is an AM radio station broadcast throughout most of lower Michigan from a 50,000-watt transmitter in Newport, Monroe County, Michigan. Owned and operated by Entercom, WWJ is Detroit’s only 24-hour all-news radio station, and is the oldest radio station in Michigan. Its studios are in the former Panasonic building in Southfield, Michigan. Programming on WWJ consists of news, traffic reports, and weather updates, although the station occasionally broadcasts sporting events.

WWJ was founded by the Scripps family, founders of the Detroit News. Following his father James Edmund Scripps interest in radio, William E. Scripps launched a radio station for the newspaper. WWJ, originally known as 8MK, first went on-the-air on August 20, 1920. The station broadcasted from the second floor of the Detroit News building, the first newspaper in the world to have a radio station. Limited to a transmission area of less than 100 miles, there were 300 radio amateurs who were potential listeners.

WWJ was originally operated as a full-service radio station that kept Detroiters informed and entertained. As the first radio station in Michigan it was also the first to broadcast a sporting event, first to broadcast national election returns, and presented the first radio broadcast of humorist Will Rogers. The broadcast of a Detroit Symphony Orchestra concert on February 10, 1922 was the first symphony concert ever heard by radio. Contrary to modern radio practices of reproducing music to broadcast, the WWJ radio studio in the Detroit News building included equipment that made it possible to broadcast live music. The first Detroit Tigers game to be broadcast was on April 19, 1927 from Navin Field, with Ty Tyson giving the play-by-play.

The call sign for 8MK was changed to WBL on October 13, 1921 and on March 3, 1922, changed to WWJ. In May of 1922, the Detroit News finalized a programming schedule for WWJ which included hints to housewives, music, weather reports, market quotations, baseball scores, and church services. 

WWJ continued to broadcast an array of programming, and on March 29, 1941, the station was moved to its current frequency, 950 kHz, or 950 AM. In 1973, WWJ changed to its current all-news format, and in 1989, it was purchased by CBS Radio. In 1998 a new transmitter tower allowed the station to boost its broadcasting power to its current level of 50,000 watts. CBS merged with Entercom in 2017.



WWJ portable amplifier, 1936 - 1960.168.002

WWJ Building, 1936 - 2012.044.123

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