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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"
Dave Hughes' NYRTV website (no longer online)
Jeff Miller's History Of American Broadcasting website
Do you, or anyone you know, work in NJ radio, either now or in the past?
is looking for you!
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WPAP - 1010 AM, Cliffside
WPAP (named for Palisades Amusement Park) went on the air June 21, 1926 and shared time with WHN and WQAO on 830 AM (see below).
Among the most popular of WPAP's programs was "Uncle Robert's Radio Pals," an afternoon children's show from a studio at 18 E. 15th St. in New York, that was decorated like a child's playroom.
WPAP also broadcast the "Women's Hour," sponsored by the New York Evening Journal.
The program occasionally originated from the Sutton Place apartment of Mrs. William Vanderbilt and featured many noted performers and speakers of the day.
WPAP's studios were at the south end of Palisades Park and resembled an oversized radio set, with round knob-like windows and a giant "speaker grille."
In 1927, the station (along with WHN and WQAO) moved to 760 AM.
On November 10, 1928, the trio moved again (and added WRNY - see below -) to 1010 AM.
Calvary Baptist Church (owners of WQAO) took over WPAP in 1931 and for three years the church and the amusement park operated in tandem with dual call letters: WQAO-WPAP.
Gradually, operations moved to the WHN studios and on January 9, 1934, WHN offically bought WPAP and shut it down.
WQAO - 1010 AM, Cliffside
WQAO, owned by Calvary Baptist Church, went on the air on March 4, 1923 at 830 AM.
The station cost $1500 to build and installation was directed by chief engineer George F. Koster, who was also the church sexton.
In 1926, the station moved to 760 and by 1927 was sharing time with WHN and WPAP (see above).
WQAO attracted a faithful audience but the era drew to an end in which churches strived to be heard from their own transmitters.
Near the end of its time on the air, WQAO shared time with WHN and WPAP on 1010 AM.
On January 7, 1934, WHN bought out WQAO and shut it down.
WRNY - 1010 AM, Coytesville
WRNY, licensed to Hugo Gernsback's Experimenter Publishing Co., signed on June 12, 1925 at 1160 AM.
Studios were at the Roosevelt Hotel at 45th St. and Madison Ave. in New York.
Hugo partnered with Robert W. DeMott Sr. in starting WRNY.
Among the speakers on WRNY's first broadcast day was the "father of radio" Dr. Lee DeForest.
WRNY's program director was Dr. Charles Isaacson, a concert impresario who enlivened the airwaves with opera, poetry, lectures on sculpture, and literature.
WRNY shifted frequency quite often, going to 800 AM in 1926, using 1070/970/920 in 1927, and then 1010 AM in 1928.
The schedule included not only amateur performers, but also one of radio's first playwriting contests.
The most notable WRNY broadcasts started on August 13, 1928 when it initiated a regular schedule of "radio television" experiments.
In cooperation with John Geloso's Pilot Electric Co., Gernsback presented daily 5 minute programs via 48 line mechanical scanners set up at the WRNY transmiter site at Hudson Terrace in Coytesville, since pictures could not be properly synchronized through the Hotel Roosevelt studios.
Reception required a 24 inch scanning disc rotating at 240rpm.
Among the pioneering TV broadcasts were cooking lessons, physical fitness instruction, concerts and calendars of events.
Gernsback went bankrupt in 1929 (before the stock market crash) and in April, sold WRNY for $100,000 to the Aviation Radio Station Inc., a company associated with the Curtiss Aircraft Corp.
In September 1929, studios were moved to 27 W. 57th St.
A more conservative management, pressures of the Depression and a cumbersome time-sharing schedule with WHN, WPAP and WQAO (see above), drained much of the experiementation and excitement from WRNY.
On January 10, 1934, WHN bought out WRNY and shut it down.
(Thanks to Denise DeMott & Doug Douglass for some of this information)
WIBG - 1020 AM, Ocean City / Somers Point
WIBG signed on the air June 12, 1964 by Les Allen under the call letters WSLT and had a dial position of 1520 AM.
Operating at 1000 watts with a daytime signal, WSLT was a local community station covering Ocean City, but did not cover Atlantic City.
It had some marginal signal south toward Wildwood.
At the time it signed on, it broadcasted an MOR format and it's star announcer was Phil Sheridan who came to the station from WFIL in Philadelphia.
The station operated out of studios at 957 Asbury Ave. in Ocean City.
Along the way, the station has changed hands several times.
In 1977, WIBG in Philadelphia, changed it's call letters to WZZD.
Knowing the history and nostalgia associated with those call letters, the owners of WSLT applied to the Federal Communications Commission and received permission to change the call letters from WSLT to WIBG.
WIBG initially featured an oldies format, later they were "Easy Country 1520" around the early 1980's.
In 1989, the tower site in Somers Point was developed into a golf course forcing the radio station to go off the air.
In 1990, Don Powers bought the license from Nelly Crowly & Ocean Communications.
He then put it back on the air moving it from 1520 to 1020 AM with a very limited signal.
Don broadcasted "Visitor Information Radio" to the tourist trade coming into Ocean City, and worked with engineer Mike Venditti to improve the station.
In 1991, Don sold the station to Jim Quinn still with a limited signal.
Jim held the station for a short period, and in 1992, sold WIBG to it's current owner, Enrico "Rick" Brancadora.
Once Rick took control of the station, he began working on the technical problems, and did everything he could to improve the signal coverage.
WIBG now operates at 500 watts with daytime operations.
Improvements have been made so that the station has coverage from Atlantic City to Cape May.
Past programming on WIBG was contemporary Christian music and teaching.
It is leased through a Time Brokerage Agreement with CrossRoads Broadcasting, whose President is Jennifer Downing.
In 2006, WIBG expanded to 2000 watts, covering a wider area of southern New Jersey - and now features more generalized programming, including Harry Hurley in the mornings and Chuck Betson's "Betson Connection" on Saturday mornings.
Oldies with the legendary Hy Lit was also a feature on WIBG on Saturday afternoons.
In October 2011, WIBG switched to a mainstream talk format.
On May 13, 2013, WIBG started utilizing "The Music Of Your Life" adult standards format during the week, while retaining some talk programs on the weekends.
"The Music Of Your Life" was short-lived as 1020 started playing 80's classic hits during the week, starting on May 20, 2013 using the slogan, "Lucky 1020."
On June 3, 2013, the format changed once again, this time to Spanish hits as "En Vivo."
(Thanks to John Hendricks, "Josh", Jack Moore, Joan (Venditti) Richardson and the WIBG website for this information)
(Thanks to Mike Ferriola for the WSLT logo)
WCHR - 1040 AM, Flemington
1040 was originally allocated to Flemington on August 1, 1985.
After a long period of being a CP (calls were assigned back on August 21, 1987), WJHR signed on January 5, 1998, initially with a Hot AC format as "Jersey's Hometown Radio."
In 1999, Nassau Broadcasting bought the station and on May 3, it became "Chat Radio 1040," with a talk format.
The "Chat Radio 1040" studio building can be seen here.
However, that was short-lived, when on January 3, 2000, it became a simulcast of WHWH, 1350 AM in Princeton with a news format.
In April 2002, 1040 picked up the ESPN sports programming, previously heard on 1680 in Princeton.
On August 23, 2002, WJHR dropped the sports format and started simulcasting the religious programming from WCHR, 920 AM, in Trenton.
On September 3, 2002, WJHR continued its religious programming, while 920 AM switched to Sports.
Call letters changed to WCHR on September 10, 2002.
WCHR pictures are available here.
On February 5, 2008, 1040 AM changed calls to WNJE and began simulcasting the ESPN sports programming from WEPN, 1050, New York.
In May 2012, 1040 switched to the Spanish "ESPN Deportes" programming.
On December 3, 2012, 1040 dropped the ESPN programming and began to simulcast the religious programming from co-owned WCHR, 920, Trenton.
On November 1, 2013, 1040 became the main station for WCHR's religious programming when co-owned 920 switched formats.
1040 changed calls to WCHR on November 13, 2013.
(Thanks to Lance Venta for digging up an old WJHR logo)
(Thanks to John Weber for some of this information)
WKMB - 1070 AM, Stirling
WKMB, owned by Herbert Michels and his wife Alice (Dunne) Michels d/b/a K & M Broadcasting, signed on in February 1972, initially with a Top 40 format.
Their "Stirling Country" format began in 1978.
A 1981 aircheck can be heard here.
In September 2002, it was announced that WKMB was being sold to King's Temple Ministries in Plainfield and will be switching to a religious format by the end of the year.
On January 19, 2003, WKMB switched to a Black Gospel format as "Harvest Radio", but have retained "Stirling Country's" DJ's for the time being.
(Thanks to Doug Douglass, Marty Siegel and the Kevtronics website for some of this information)
(Thanks to Kevin Tekel for providing a WKMB logo)
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