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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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WHAR - 1100 AM, Atlantic City
WHAR signed on in 1923 on 1300 AM, originally owned by the Paramount Radio & Electric Co., whose principal was W. H. A. Paulus.
In 1924, the station moved to 1090 AM and the ownership changed and went to the Seaside Motel d/b/a F. P. Cook Sons.
In 1927, another frequency shift took place to 1100 and the ownership went to Cook Sons Inc.
However in 1928, the station went off the air.
WPG - 1100 AM, Atlantic City
WPG, "The Voice Of The World's Play Ground", signed on January 3, 1925.
Owned by the municipality of Atlantic City, they had no trouble finding public property to house the station.
Studios were located at Atlantic City High School, with the transmitter at the local airport.
WPG cost the city $13,000, but since it promised millions of dollars in publicity, the management felt comfortable exaggerating the figure to $50,000.
During the summer of 1927, WPG hired popular announcer Norman Brokenshire, who quickly became a local celebrity tooling around the "World's Play Ground" in a blue-and-orange Packard.
He broadcast from the glass-enclosed "Marine Studio" at the Steel Pier and once lowered a mike from the booth to allow the world to hear the ocean waves (in this case, however, it was actually the normal hiss of the carbon mike with the gain raised and lowered.)
On October 19, 1927, aviator Charles Lindbergh flew the Spirit Of St. Louis into Atlantic City, with his visit covered by WPG.
The station featured a good variety of music, comedy and locally-produced drama by groups like the Duo-Drama Players and the Toy Theatre Players, the latter show originating from a boathouse.
Almost every club and hotel provided a venue for WPG's broadcasts, and in 1929, the station was granted permission to sell commercial time.
In May 1929, the facilities were moved to the newly opened Convention Hall, with the "Neptune" and "Marine" studios, and a listening room, open to the public.
In 1931, under economic difficulties associated with the Depression, WPG joined the Columbia Network.
The network leased the station, assumed the operating costs and shared the profits with Atlantic City.
The affiliation lasted until 1935 and yielded no profit.
It appeared that the network made little effort to do anything beyond routine maintenance.
Starting in 1928, WPG shared time with WLWL (later WBIL) from Kearney on 1100 (see below).
However, by 1935, WLWL was seeking full-time hours on the frequency.
The Federal Radio Commission (FRC) cited both stations on a failure to reach an agreement on their time-sharing and granted only a temporary license renewal to both of them.
By July 1938, WPG had become a burden to the city government, with the station adding $10,000 to its annual debt.
Despite protests from the Atlantic City business community, the station was sold for $275,000, and 1100 AM was taken over by WBIL.
(Thanks to Tom McNally and McNally.cc for an old WPG logo)
WBIL - 1100 AM, Kearney
On September 25, 1925, the Missionary Society Of St. Paul The Apostle organized itself as the Univeral Broadcasters Association and signed on WLWL at 1040 AM.
The studios and transmitter were located at the Church Of St. Paul The Apsotle, 415 W. 59th St in New York City.
The 226-foot towers beside the rectory were likened to modern-day steeples.
For the station's first three years, Father James Cronin acted as station manager and principal announcer.
Cronin was followed by Father Henry Riley and later by Father Henry Malloy.
Broadcasts included "The Quiet Hour," a Sunday afternoon program with a poetic, meditative quality, and a regular "Question Box" program hosted by Father James Gillis, who patiently responded to even hostile letters.
Sacred music was performed by the 70 voice Paulist Choristers.
However, despite its high-quality programming, its active support from the Archdiocese of New York and the clarity of the signal, the Paulist Fathers still had to struggle.
In 1926, WLWL started sharing time with WPAP in Cliffside.
In 1927, the station moved its transmitter from the church to the Belleville Turnpike in Kearney, which improved their reception, but complicated its financial situation.
1928 saw the station change frequency, moving to 780 and then to 1020.
However, they soon settled on 1100 AM, sharing time with WPG in Atlantic City (see above.)
After numerous attempts to find a full-time frequency and failing, WLWL was sold for $275,000 to the owners of WOV and WNEW in New York in June 1937.
Calls were changed to WBIL on June 17, 1937.
Studios and staff were shared with WOV at 132 W. 43rd St.
Programming on WBIL consisted mainly of Italian language shows.
On January 3, 1940, WBIL was dissolved into WOV.
WRAX - 1120 AM, Gloucester City
WRAX, owned by Flexon's Garage, broadcasted from 1923 to 1925.
WOBM - 1160 AM, Lakewood Twsp.
This station, originally on 1170 as a daytime-only operation, signed on November 20, 1970 as WHLW with an MOR format.
Del Sharbutt of the Mutual Broadcasting System was one of the owners.
The original air staff was John Colure in the mornings, Jack Tracksler in middays and Paul Irwin in afternoon drive.
Later in the 1970's, Joey Reynolds was brought in as PD and WHLW switched to a Top 40 format.
One slogan that comes to mind during this time is "Sunrise, Sunset 11-7".
Some notable personalities included Jay Sorensen, Charlie Roberts, Harry Kalish, Bob Sorrentino, "World Famous", Hal Murray, Tom Rivers (real name: Bob Heiney), Marcia Knicely, Steve Martin (not the comedian), George Benson, Gary Waite & Joyce Renaud.
The Sunday morning gospel show was hosted by Brother Arce Brown.
Some notable newscasters were Garret Glaser & Patrice McCarron.
In 1976, WHLW's lineup included Tim Downs (his first NJ radio gig) in mornings, Bill Bang (10am-1pm) and John DeMasi (1pm-sunset).
Mike Boyle did the extra hours in the summer when daylight lasted longer.
John Giase was WHLW's newscaster at this time.
John left WHLW in 1977, but later returned in April 1978, until leaving for WOBM-FM in July 1979.
1170 changed calls to WOBM on November 30, 1981.
Soon afterwards, they were granted full-time status and moved to 1160.
Some 1980's airchecks from WHLW & WOBM can be heard here.
In the early 1990's, WOBM featured a country format.
Their current format is Adult Standards, featuring a local morning show with Bob & Marianne Levy.
In 2003, WOBM-AM acquired the rights to the Lakewood BlueClaws baseball game broadcasts, previously on WHTG-AM in 2002 and WPDQ-FM in 2001.
On February 9, 2009, Kevin Williams & Steve Paul were reunited after a 12 year hiatus and were featured on weekday afternoons from 3 to 6pm.
However, the show only lasted a few months because Kevin got promoted within the company with more responsibilities and Steve has since moved out to California.
Kevin Williams & Steve Paul were long a mainstay in the mornings at WOBM-FM, until Steve left in 1996, partly due to the sale of the station to Nassau Broadcasting.
On September 3, 2010, 1160 switched to a "good-time oldies" format, and began simulcasting on WADB 1310.
On May 19, 2014, 1160 (and 1310) switched to a news/talk format, featuring Bob & Marianne Levy in the morning, and syndicated shows to round out the schedule.
(Thanks to Mark Fletcher, John Giase, Mike Lennen & Bob Sorrentino for some of this information)
(Thanks to Steve Biro for providing an old WHLW sticker/logo)
(Thanks to JoAnne Cruise for the "Star Country" logo)
WVNJ - 1160 AM, Oakland
1160 was originally allocated to Oakland on December 4, 1981.
WVNJ was granted their calls back on January 12, 1987, but did not hit the air until December 13, 1993.
The construction permit was originally issued to Rama Communications, but before WVNJ went on the air, it was sold to Bursam Communications, who owned WTHE in Mineola NY.
WVNJ's original schedule included some rock oldies, paid religious programming, and talk shows - including G. Gordon Liddy.
On January 6, 1996, WVNJ revamped their programming and featured a big band/nostalgia format.
Former WNEW announcers Jim Lowe and Mike Prelee hosted regular programs, as did Ted Brown, Del Dixon and Bill Owen, one of WABC's original "Swingin' 7," whose afternoon show was titled "The Make Believe Ballroom," a title that had been part of the New York radio landscape for over 50 years.
PD Bill Gaghan hosted the evening show.
And, overnight listeners could once again listen to the "Milkman's Matinee," hosted by George Tucker.
In July 1996, WJUX (otherwise known as W276AQ, 103.1 in Fort Lee) went to court to stop WVNJ from using the "Make Believe Ballroom" title (which WJUX was also using at the time) and to cease calling itself "Your Hometown Radio Station."
WVNJ then protested to the FCC that WJUX was illegally bringing in its signal from New York State through a low-power translator.
Meanwhile, audiences remained unmoved throughout the legal dispute.
In March 2007, WVNJ started to phase out their music programming and is now focusing on more talk-oriented programming.
WWTR - 1170 AM, Bridgewater Twsp.
1170 signed on December 23, 1971 as WBRW.
Original ownership belonged to the Somerset Valley Broadcasting Corp.
The studios and 4-tower antenna were located off Nimitz St. in Somerville.
A studio picture of WBRW is available here.
WBRW's original format consisted of 15-minute blocks of easy listening/MOR music.
News Director Jim Jarvis and Sports Director Tom Cheche were on morning drive, with Bruce Kamen and Ralph Saro handling afternoons.
WCTC's William Price was the first GM for WBRW.
By the mid 1970's, Harry Haslett became station manager and the format shifted to adult contemporary.
Some DJ's involved during this time were Mark Lewis (who was also the PD), Dick Andrews, Alan Cohen, J. Kent Cottingham, John Stanley, Randi Martin, John Neuhaus, George Cashman and Charlie Bengle - with news being handled by Tom Dwyer, Wally Harper, Jim Brewster and Patrice Sikora.
The CE (Chief Engineer) was Barry "T" Gerstenberg.
Traffic reports were handled by Thor Solberg of Solberg Aviation, flying a Cessna 172.
The "Sunday Serenade" with Tom Hally and Don Wilson became a popular Sunday afternoon show with its nostalgia music and comedy.
Pete Tauriello (now at Shadow Traffic) was PD at WBRW from 1978 to 1979.
However, during the 1980's, Somerset Valley Broadcasting began to lose money and shut the station down in 1990.
In 1996, Don Lohse (who was chief engineer of WPAT-FM, among others) formed the Bridgewater Broadcasting Co., and resurrected WBRW.
However, the revival proved short-lived and in 1997, 1170 became WSPW and simulcasted 620 in Jersey City.
In 1998, 1170 was bought by New Jersey Broadcasters (owners of WDHA and WMTR) and began a simulcast of WMTR.
Calls changed to WWTR on March 26, 1999.
In 2001, WWTR (along with WDHA/WMTR/WRAT) was sold to Greater Media (owners of WMGQ/WCTC).
On January 5, 2004, WWTR (along with WMTR) switched to a "Classic Oldies" format, featuring songs from the 50's and 60's.
On November 1, 2005, EBC Radio's ethnic format moved to 1170 from WTTM 1680.
On October 20, 2006, call letters changed to WJJZ.
On November 27, 2006, 1170 regained the WWTR calls.
(Thanks to Jim Brewster, George Csahanin & Pete Tauriello for some of this information)
WMAL - 1170 AM, Trenton
WMAL, owned by the Trenton Hardware Co., broadcasted briefly in 1923 and 1924.
WIAD - 1180 AM, Ocean City
WIAD, owned by Howard R. Miller d/b/a/ the Ocean City Yacht Club, broadcasted briefly in 1923.
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