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"
WTMR - 800 AM, Camden
800 signed on November 1, 1948.
Originally WKDN, featuring an MOR format, race track announcer Tommy Roberts purchased the 5000 watt station, to turn it into a player in Philadelphia's MOR battleground.
Calls changed to WTMR, and the cornerstone of the new personality-driven MOR station was morning jock Bill Bircher, exiled from WCAU-AM when that station converted to talk.
Beginning in July 1968, Bircher was on the air from 6-9am and 4-6pm.
Other jocks included Dan Taylor, Art Andrews, Bob MacDonald, Dan Curtis (who did the morning show with Bircher), Milt Stevens (who was at the station all the way back to the WKDN days).. and as time marched on, WTMR became a haven for jocks exiled from other Philadelphia stations, such as Bob Menfee, Dean Tyler, Chuck Daugherty and Tom Franklin.
The GM was Joe Frazier, and the Sales Manager was Ed Callaghan, formerly with WPEN in Philadelphia.
In September 1975, WTMR changed formats to a commercial Religious format - and through ownership changes, first to Gore Broadcasting and then to Beasley Broadcasting - continues the Religious format to this day.
Some airchecks from WTMR can be heard here.
(Thanks to Kevin Fennessy and Bob MacDonald for some of this information)
WPCH - 810 AM, Hoboken
The origins of this station date back to July 15, 1924 when it signed on as WFBH, owned by the Concourse Radio Corp., on 1100 AM, sharing time with New York stations WRW and WEBJ.
Studios were located on the ground floor of the Hotel Majestic at Central Park West and 72nd St, with the transmitter on the roof of the hotel.
A typical day's schedule consisted mostly of "potted palm music," including occasional recitals by the Majestic String Ensemble.
One program that got the station in trouble was "Health Talk," which was sponsored by the House of Health organization, operated by Dr. Leonard Lincoln Landis.
However, it was not sanctioned by the New York Medical Society or the Hotel Majestic.
It got to the point that the hotel would shut down the station's power when the show was scheduled to be on.
After many court battles, the station was able to stay on, however, by the autumn of 1926, WFBH was sold to George F. George (the professional name of clothier George Sultzbach) d/b/a the Peoples Broadcasting Co. and was renamed WPCH on November 6, 1926.
WPCH featured main announcer Norman Brokenshire, along with Alois Havrilla, Ted Husing, "Uncle" Don Carney and Lewis Reed.
Eunice Brokenshire, Norman's wife, was program director.
WPCH soon became one of the New York City area's most popular stations and in early 1927, launched a small metropolitan network, feeding its programs to WDWM in Newark and WARS in Brooklyn.
Around this time, "The Inter City Trio" performed twice weekly on WPCH.
The trio consisted of Fred Baechtold (baritone) and his brothers, Henry (top tenor) and Frank (lead tenor).
The trio also made one of the first broadcasts from the newly opened Palisades Amusement Park.
WPCH's new antenna system (two self-supporting towers)went into operation on December 6, 1926 atop the Park Central Hotel on 55th St. & 7th Ave. and the signal spread effectively across NYC, until the hotel erected a large electric sign that was so close to the station's antenna, that it absorbed much of the radiated energy.
On May 5, 1927, WPCH sued the Park Central for damages, but the matter was never fully resolved until the transmitter was moved to the Lackawanna Railroad Yard in Hoboken in the autumn of 1927.
At the same time, WPCH was sold to the owners of WMCA and for a while operated from the Hotel McAlpin.
After several shifts in frequency (to 970 in 1927 and then later in 1927, sharing time with WRNY on 920 AM), WPCH became a daytime-only operation on 810 AM in the fall of 1928.
Shortly thereafter, WPCH and WMCA both moved to new studios at 1697 Broadway.
In August 1932, the stations moved their transmitter to Flushing NY.
On June 4, 1933, WPCH went silent in order for WNYC to take over the 810 frequency.
(Thanks to Doug Douglass and Lorraine Baechtold-Travers for some of this information)
In the early days of AM radio, stations were originally assigned to just one frequency - 360 meters (or 833 on our current AM band.)
Most stations that started off on 833 eventually moved to other frequencies, however there are some stations that began AND ended their histories on 833 AM.
WRP - 833 AM, Camden
This station, owned by the Federal Institute of Radio Telegraphy, operated briefly in 1922 and 1923.
WNO - 833 AM, Jersey City
The Wireless Telephone Company of Hudson County, the radio voice of the Jersey Journal in Jersey City, signed on WNO on January 19, 1922.
It was located in the Lerner Building on Journal Square.
Each evening at 6:30, announcer-engineer Clarence P. Bowyer would speak into the microphone, "Tune your instruments for 360-meter waves."
As was the case with most stations of that era, programming was unorganized and spontaneous.
There were regular appearances by a quartet of Jersey City policemen and occasionally Wireless Telephone owner John F. Meyers would bring in some vaudevillians from Manhattan.
If no one showed up, Bowyer would sing, accompanied by a player piano, while cranking up the phonograph to play the next record.
As the record spun, he would install the next roll in the player piano.
On June 24, 1922, the Wireless Telephone Company took WNO off the air with the intension of installing a new transmitter.
The station never returned and its license was cancelled in March 1923.
WBAF - 833 AM, Moorestown
WBAF operated briefly from 1922 to 1923, owned by Fred M. Middleton.
WDY - 833 AM, Roselle Park
WDY went on the air December 14, 1921 and was owned by the Radio Corporation of America (RCA).
Working in conjunction with General Electric, the station was housed at GE's Aldene works in Roselle Park, just west of Elizabeth.
Despite the reletively inaccessable industrial setting, WDY's facilities were meant to be attractive and dignified.
In fact, WDY's first microphone was a crude telephone pickup with a large megaphone horn attached, suspended from the ceiling by several heavy wires.
Trains passing under the antenna tended to cause a slight shift in WDY's wavelength.
WDY produced one of radio's first remote broadcasts, from the New York Electrical Show at the 71st Regiment Armory in Manhattan.
This pioneering station kept careful track of reception reports, and a map in the hallway indicated that cards had been received from as far away as Cuba and Nebraska.
WDY left the air on February 24, 1922.
Westinghouse's WJZ entered into a joint operating arrangement with RCA, which then transferred its entire broadcasting effort to the more popular station.
RCA's board hadn't been overly impressed and saw WDY as an unnecessary expense.