This page will attempt to showcase the histories of New Jersey AM Radio stations,
past and present.
Please feel free to e-mail me with any information you would like to contribute to this page and
you will be credited.
Some information provided by:
"The Airwaves Of New York:
Illustrated Histories Of 156 AM Stations In The
Metropolitan Area, 1921-1996"
WSNR - 620 AM, Jersey City
620 signed on at noon on December 7, 1948, as WVNJ, licensed to Newark.
It was owned by the Newark Broadcasting Corporation, which was founded by the Griffith Piano Corporation, and put this station on the air as a compmanion to their music business.
With 5000 watts, WVNJ claimed New Jersey's strongest signal.
Programs originated from the window of the Griffith store at 45 Central Ave.
WVNJ presented a wide range of musical styles, including Latin rhythms in the evening.
In November 1953, Griffith sold the station to the Scudder family, owners of the Newark News, which gave up WNJR to move down the dial.
At this time, WVNJ moved to the old WNJR studios at 91 Halsey St.
Music shifted at this point into a direct competition with Paterson's WPAT.
"Great Albums Of Music," vocal, and instrumental standards and show tunes, were heard throughout the broadcast day.
Classical music was part of the weekend schedule, with a complete opera on Sunday nights.
In 1978, the Scudder family sold the station to Herb Saltzman's Sabre Broadcasting Corp.
The new owners repositioned WVNJ from "beautiful music" to a big band/nostalgia format.
Air staff at this time included Program Director Larry Yount, news anchor Bob "Voice Of God" Harris, Ed Stanton, Gary Lesters, Ray Miles, Bill Emerson (who also worked at WCTC and WNJR), Chris Edwards and Jessie Frees (both currently at WMTR).
WVNJ's Operations/Public Affairs Director was Reg Wells, who is now currently a news anchor/reporter for WWOR, Channel 9 in Secaucus.
Around 1977/78, WVNJ became the flagship station for the New Jersey Nets, whose play-by-play anchor was John Sterling, currently the world-famous radio voice of the New York Yankees.
The station had joined the ABC Information Network in 1968, but in the early 1980's, it affiliated with both the ABC Entertainment Network and TalkNet, a program service by its neighbor on the dial, WNBC.
When WVNJ-FM was sold in June 1983, its evening jazz programs moved to the AM side, with the AM resuming an easy listening format.
On October 1, 1983, Spanish Broadcasting Systems bought the station for $12 million and changed calls to WSKQ, instituting a Spanish language format.
In 1985, the "Super KQ" (as it was known) moved its studios from the Livingston NJ transmitter to 1500 Broadway at Times Square.
In 1990, it relocated to a townhouse at 26 W. 56th St., the corporate headquarters of Spanish Broadcasting Systems.
On April 3, 1995 calls were changed to WXLX and began a Regional Mexican format as "La X."
On October 6, 1997 the station was sold to One-On-One Sports and began a sports/talk format, changing calls to WJWR.
In early 2001, One-On-One Sports evolved into Sporting News Radio.
620 changed calls to WSNR on March 26, 2001 to reflect the change and re-licensed itself to Jersey City.
However, in recent years, the station has featured in most dayparts, a brokered ethnic format.
(Thanks to Andy Pal for some of this information)
(Thanks to Lance Venta for an old "One-On-One Sports" logo)
(WVNJ logo, courtesy of knowston.tripod.com)
WMVM - 630 AM, Newark
This station broadcasted briefly in 1926 before the FRC (Federal Radio Commission) shut them down, due to stricter rules regarding that stations have licenses to broadcast. WWJZ - 640 AM, Mt. Holly
640 was assigned calls WMHN and WMJZ, before settling on WWJZ in mid-1985.
However, the station didn't sign on until November 1992, due to antenna issues.
It was originally owned by John Farina, who also operated WJJZ in the 1960's.
Later when Farina passed away, WWJZ went to Nick Grand, who was a long-time friend and employee of Farina's.
WWJZ originally broadcast a nostalgia format, initially at 50,000 watts, which gave it a big signal up and down the East Coast.
However, soon afterwards, their signal was cut down considerably and was even off the air for a period of time, due to a court battle concerning their transmitter site.
In September 1999, ABC/Disney began an LMA with WWJZ and became an affiliate of Radio Disney.
Soon after ABC took over, WWJZ regained it's 50,000 watt power.
(Thanks to Mark Fletcher and Tom Wahl for some of this information)