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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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WBRB - 1210 AM, Red Bank
The origins of this station go back to 1925, when it first broadcast on 1370 AM as WJBI.
In 1927, the station moved to 1170 and in 1928, it moved again to 1140.
In 1930, principal owner (and chief engineer) Robert S. Johnson transferred the license to a new entity, Monmouth Broadcasting Co., and began broadcasting on 1210 AM as WBRB.
It shared time with New York stations WGBB, WFAS and WGNY.
Red Bank's "Home Town Station" established studios and a transmitter downtown at 63 Broad St.
Some local programming heard on the station included Linda Lowe's "Over The Tea Cups," "Home Town Forum" and "High School Forum," plus the "Home Philosopher."
WBRB may have advanced to full-time status, and quite possibly could have still been around today, however on February 16, 1941, a fire destroyed its transmitter.
Wartime restrictions at the time made it impossible to replace the equipment.
The FCC granted the station permission to remain silent for the duration, with the construction permit renewed in 1944 and it's license still in effect as late as 1946.
However, WBRB eventually got absorbed into the 1310 operation in Asbury Park.
(Thanks to "Sam/KS2AM" for some of this information)
WBAN - 1230 AM, Paterson
WBAN, owned by the Wireless Phone Corp. of Paterson, signed on April 24, 1922 on 833 AM.
In 1923, the station moved to 1230 and shared time with New York stations WBBR and WABS.
On April 10, 1925, WBAN was shut down with some personnel and equipment going over to Newark station WODA (see below).
WCMC - 1230 AM, Wildwood
WCMC signed on November 25, 1951, originally with just 100 watts (compared to its current 1000 watts).
Legendary DJ Tom Moran got his start at WCMC on September 28, 1959 (he later retired from the business on May 3, 2002 at WPEN (950 AM), Philadelphia.)
In the 1960's and 1970's, WCMC featured an MOR format and was co-located with WCMC-TV Channel 40, in an old house on New Jersey Ave. in Wildwood - which can be seen here.
The owner and general manager of the stations at the time was Bill Wotring, who continued to be involved with the stations throughout the 1970's and 1980's.
For a period of time in the 1980's, from my trips down to Wildwood, I remember WCMC having a Top 40 format.
In recent years, WCMC featured an Adult Standards format.
In October 2004, WCMC began simulcasting the "Classic Oldies" format from sister station WMID (1340, Atlantic City.)
However, after protests from local seniors about the format change, WCMC went back to their Adult Standards format on October 26.
In February 2010, WCMC shifted to an easy listening format after the Adult Standards satellite format they had been using was discontinued.
In late 2010/early 2011, WCMC went back to simulcasting the oldies format from WMID.
(Thanks to Arnold K. Johnson, Tom Moran & Jere Sullivan for some of this information)
(Thanks to Bryan Vargo for a WCMC logo)
WSNJ - 1240 AM, Bridgeton
WSNJ signed on in August of 1937, and along with its FM station has remained virtually unchanged, as far as their format and community service to Cumberland County.
In December 2003, 1240 was sold to Quinn Broadcasting (owners of 1440 WMVB in Millville) for $550,000.
Quinn plans to simulcast WSNJ's programming on WMVB, in order for it to cover a majority of Cumberland County.
On February 2, 2004, Radio One finalized its deal for WSNJ-FM and took it off the air, in anticipation of moving it to 107.9 and re-licensing it to Pennsauken, in order to serve the Philadelphia market.
1240, meanwhile, has assumed WSNJ-FM's former "localized" format.
WMTR - 1250 AM, Morristown
On December 12, 1948, WMTR signed on, owned by the Croy family d/b/a the Morristown Broadcasting Co.
Original studios and offices were located at 10 Park Pl. in Morristown, with the transmitter on Evergreen Ave.
The first program director was Jack Allen "Potts", who later went on to become a WOR newscaster, and Merrill Morris was news director and farm reporter.
The first engineer was Ralston "Ral" Collins.
Some background on Jack Allen:
Besides his stint at WMTR and WOR, he also did some work for WCTC in New Brunswick, worked nationally for the Mutual Broadcasting Company and internationally for the Armed Forces Radio Network during the Korean War.
During his final years (he passed away in 1987 due to heart failure), he was a news editor and researcher for the ABC Radio news network in New York.
WMTR's programming was atuned to the rural lifestyle with hourly news updates, country music in the afternoon and the syndicated "Candlelight and Silver" during the dinner hour.
The Croys were very sensitive about keeping the musical selections quiet and slow, even destroying records that were too up-tempo.
A pic of a WMTR "permanent" memo pad, circa 1950, can be seen by clicking here.
In 1950, Bob Vesel replaced Jack Allen as PD and on-air host.
In the 1960s, Bob Vesel did a show called "Our Way Of Life", 5 days a week, with 15 minute taped interviews.
From the 1950's into the 1960's, there was a regular Bing Crosby 15 minutes or half-hour led off with the song, "Where The Blue Of The Night Meets The Gold Of The Day."
Later on, the news directors were Bob Stopker and Nick DiRienzo (who later went on to WCRV).
In the 1960's, WMTR subscribed to Peter Strauss' Radio Press International.
Also in the 1960's, the WMTR studio was moved to their new transmitter site in Hanover Twsp.
In the early 1960's, Gene Brodeur was the morning man, later Pete Murphy "PM In The AM" took over mornings.
There was also a religious show featured on Sunday mornings hosted by Rev. Fred Long called, "The Church Today."
In 1971, WMTR was sold to Drexel Hill Associates, who owned WDHA in Dover.
WMTR's news department then began to supply newscasts to WDHA.
Throughout most of the 1970's, WMTR had an MOR format, evolving to AC by 1980.
WMTR was a daytime-only station, signing off with Kate Smith's "Bless This House", instead of the usual "Star Spangled Banner."
In 1982, the station went 24/7.
They continued their Full Service AC format, and began experimenting with AM Stereo in 1983.
In the fall of 1989, the station was sold to Legend Broadcasting and WMTR added a Business News segment in mid-days.
By the winter of 1990, they dropped the AC format altogether and went with the Business News full-time.
They also stopped 24/7 operations and signed off daily at 9pm.
Then in 1991, Signal Communications bought WMTR (and WDHA) and changed its programming to "Easy Listening Standards" via Westwood One's "AM Only" format.
Live & local shifts were regulated to just mornings, afternoons and weekend mornings and mid-days.
WMTR's hours of operation expanded to 10pm in July 1991 and to midnight by the summer of 1992.
In the fall of 1992, WMTR goes 24/7 once again, using the satellite service for evenings and overnights.
In 1998, WMTR began a simulcast with WWTR, 1170 AM, in Bridgewater Twsp.
In 2001, WMTR (along with WDHA/WWTR/WRAT) was sold to Greater Media (owners of WMGQ/WCTC).
In early 2002, Westwood One's "AM Only" service tweaks the format into Soft AC.
On January 5, 2004, WMTR switched to a "Classic Oldies" format, featuring songs from the 50's and 60's.
On November 1, 2005, WMTR dropped the simulcast on 1170 AM.
(Thanks to Doug Douglass, Mark D, Bob Jakielski, Lee Munsick and John Stuart "Stoo" Potts for some of this information)
WAAM - 1250 AM, Newark
WAAM signed on April 10, 1922, established by the Ira R. Nelson Manufacturing Company in Newark, which made small motors, such as those used in electric fans.
WAAM became the one of the earliest stations to accept advertising and to use a sales representative, Bruce Reynolds, who came to the station after being turned down by WEAF (later WNBC).
Original studios on Bond St. in Newark still stand today.
The "chief operator" for WAAM's first 6 months on the air was O. B. Hanson, who left to join WEAF and later rose to VP of Engineering for NBC.
On December 29, 1925, Ira Nelson sold WAAM to Warner Brothers Pictures and calls were changed to WBPI.
WBPI was short-lived as Warner Brothers was never really fully committed to the station.
On April 18, 1926, the station was sold back to Ira Nelson and regained its WAAM calls.
The station shifted frequency in 1926 to 1140 AM and in 1927 to 860 AM.
Starting in 1928, WAAM moved to 1120 AM (later to 1250) and shared time with WODA (see above).
Lots of localized programming was featured on WAAM - "Newark Night", "Elizabeth Night", etc. featured some home-grown talent.
The station was also one of the first to present a breakfast-time entertainment program.
WAAM was also one of the first stations to produce electrical transciptions.
Working with Edison engineers, Ira Nelson developed a long-playing record that could hold 90 minutes of program material.
In 1933, WAAM was merged with WODA and on February 12, 1934, the station was officially merged into New York's WNEW.
An aircheck from September 11, 1928, featuring a program entitled, "A Little Bit Of Everything", can be heard here.
(Thanks to Doug Douglass for some of this information)
WODA - 1250 AM, Paterson
The O'Dea family had established a music store in Paterson called the O'Dea Temple Of Music.
On April 10, 1925 WODA signed on at 1340 AM, owned by Richard O'Dea.
WODA was one of the first truly educational stations.
Richard O'Dea was Paterson's commissioner of education and established the WODA Free Grammar and High School Of The Air in 1927.
Working closely with local educators, WODA aired lessons in a dozen subjects from arithmetic to social science.
Enrollment reached above 1000 and hundreds of diplomas were handed out each year, in formal commencement exercises broadcast on the air.
Musical broadcasts included the "Silk City Night Owls On Parade," which ran regularly until 2am.
WODA also acted as the police radio for northern New Jersey, airing 2 minutes of official bulletins 10 times a day.
In 1927, WODA switched frequencies to 780 AM, sharing time with New York station WLWL and later on that same year, switched again to 1020 AM, sharing time with another New York station, WGL.
In 1928, WODA once again moved, this time to 1250 AM, and shared time with WAAM and WGCP (see below).
In November 1928, Richard O'Dea announced that some of the high school lessons had to be dropped because there wasn't sufficient airtime.
In 1933, WODA and WAAM merged and operated with combined calls.
On February 11, 1934, WODA was officially merged into what would become New York's famous WNEW.
WFJS - 1260 AM, Trenton
WBUD signed on January 20, 1947, originally on a frequency of 1490 AM.
At one time, the station was located in Morrisville (Bucks County) PA in the Prior's Pharmacy building on West Bridge St.
In 1952, WBUD moved over to its present frequency of 1260.
1490 was later re-assigned to Levittown PA and is now the home of WBCB (which signed on December 8, 1957).
For many years, WBUD was owned by Bill Hardin.
Between 1954 and 1959, Nan Rednor hosted an interview show, "Nan About Town."
Throughout the 1960's, WBUD featured a full-service AC format with Jack Pinto doing morning drive, and later hosted by Pat McCall.
Phil Roberts did a controversial talk show at the time, as well.
The show was also hosted by Joe Pine, and later, Alan Burke.
Another DJ featured on the station around the late 1950's/early 1960's was George "L-U-T-H-R-E" Bannister, who used the line, "And if you don't spell it right, we'll send it back - even if it's on a $1000 check."
Another personality was Bernie Kosnoski.
He did a one hour polish music show in the late mornings during the 1950's and 1960's.
He was a local celebrity for many years, as he did alot of philanthropic work in the area.
He was loved by alot of people and was a mainstay at the station for many years.
In January 1970, with Jack Pinto having departed and the station slipping in ratings and prestige in the market, WBUD instituted a Top 40 format under PD Jim Brand, and later Len Murray (who's now deceased) and Mel Phillips (recently an APD with WCBS-FM in New York).
Many of the jocks were hold-overs from the MOR format, but gradually other jocks came and went, including Mark Stewart in PM drive, and later, Walt Brown; Bobby Haze, Bill Halpern, Barry Powell, Pete Winters (from WAMS), John Howard and a parade of others.
Len Murray, exiled from WTTM, served as PD in the format beginning in 1973.
Former WBUD jock, Steve Ross, returned to program the station in 1974.
During most of its time in the Top 40 format, WBUD carried NBC News on the hour and featured American Top 40 With Casey Kasem.
In 1975, WBUD featured NBC's "News & Information Service" format.
Personalities at this time included Bill Halpern (mornings), Bill Culp (mid-days), Joe St. John (aka Joe Piscopo, yes THAT Joe Piscopo; afternoons) and Prince Wooten (evenings).
Newspaper ads from this time frame are available here.
For a period of time in the late 1970's, the call letters were changed to WTRT.
Calls were again changed briefly to WKXW on May 29, 1980 and then returned back to WBUD on September 1, 1981.
Airchecks from this time period cam be heard here.
In recent years, WBUD featured an Oldies format as "Great Gold Radio."
In January 2004, WBUD changed it's slogan to "Jersey Memories."
In February 2006, WBUD switched to the "Unforgettable Favorites" satellite feed, featuring Soft AC music.
On April 14, 2008, 1260 became "Fox Sports 1260."
In July 2008, ownership of WBUD was transferred over to Domestic Media Church Foundation, where it will convert to non-commercial status and institute a religious format.
On September 15, 2008, 1260 reverted to a religious format, with calls of WFJS becoming official on September 18th; the WBUD calls have since moved over to 1310 in Asbury Park.
(Thanks to Paul Bunting, David Cohen, William Culp, Stu Dolgon, "Dusty", Kevin Fennessy, Pat McCall, Brooks St. Ives, Arn Schwartz, Marty Siegel and Lew White for some of this information)
(Thanks to Lance Venta for an old WBUD logo)
WMIZ - 1270 AM, Vineland
This station went on the air August 19, 1959 as WDVL.
WDVL was run by Mort and Vivian Hendrickson and was operated as a daytime-only station.
WDVL's programming in the early 1970's included...
George Dodds, who hosted a country music show called "The Corncob Show" from 8:45am to 10am.
PD Henry Morey hosted "WDVL Classics", a program of light classical music, from 10am to noon.
At noon, Mort Hendrickson did a newscast (read verbatim from the previous night's Vineland Times Journal) and played "beautiful music" until 2pm.
From 2pm to 4pm, Jose Luis Acosta hosted "Radio Caribe" in Spanish; the time was brokered and Jose sold his own spots.
And at 4pm until sign-off, George Anthony Struckell (who later worked at WFPG in Atlantic City and WSNJ in Bridgeton) played "beautiful music" and MOR standards in a program called "The Music Room."
A majority of the weekend schedule featured religious programming, hosted by the station's engineer, Joe Fitzgerald.
Vivian Hendrickson also hosted a "Story Hour", where she read childrens stories, Saturdays at noon.
In early 1972, Mort and Vivian sold the station to Frank and Vita Marie Ventresca for $250,000.
On August 15, 1986, calls were changed to WFHM and on December 21, 1990, they changed again to WMIZ.
As WFHM, the station featured an MOR format.
Currently, the station features a Spanish format and is the sister station to WVLT, 92.1 in Vineland.
(Thanks to Jack Moore for some of this information)
WHBI - 1280 AM, Newark
Origins of this station date back to March 11, 1922 when Donald W. May signed on WBS at a frequency of 833 AM.
The calls WBS stood for "World's Best Store," as it was operated from Mullins Furniture Store at 325 Central Ave. in Newark.
H. C. Luttgens was Chief Engineer and operator for WBS.
In May 1925, the station was sold to musician Jimmy Shearer, the frequency shifted to 1070 AM, studios moved to the Grand Central Palace in Manhattan and calls were changed to WGCP.
In 1926, the station moved to 1190 AM and by 1927, WGCP was at 1250 AM and sharing time with other Newark stations WAAM, WODA (see above) and WNJ.
In 1933, calls were changed to WHBI, which stood for "Hoyt Brothers Inc," a chemical manufacturer.
The station's studios were located on the 7th floor of the Hoyt Brothers warehouse on 100 Shipman St. in Newark.
In 1934, when WAAM and WODA were merged into WNEW, WHBI continued the share-time arrangement.
WHBI tried to counter-program WNEW by playing similar music.
In December 1941, when WNEW changed frequencies, WHBI moved over to 1280 AM and started sharing time with WOV from New York.
WHBI then shifted into a religious format, calling itself "The Gospel Station Of The Nation."
In 1947, Danny Stiles began his broadcasting career by featuring a Sunday midnight jazz, blues and swing show.
Bernice Bass was News Director and later hosted the "Party Line" interview show from midnight to 2am.
And, Jack Bilby broadcast his "Talent Showcase" program from 2am to 4am.
Joan Vallence Potts was the "Storybook Lady" on WHBI, circa 1949/1950; she was married to Jack Allen Potts, who also worked at the station.
In the late 1950's, Jean Valli, "The Gal From Music Mountain", hosted a country & western show on Sunday overnights.
Some pics from the show can be seen here.
In March 1962, WHBI was sold to the owners of WADO for $635,000 and was soon dissolved.
The WHBI calls showed up later on, on 105.9 FM in Newark.
(Thanks to Diane Gyle & Bonnie Vadala Luciano for some of this information)
WDBQ - 1280 AM, Salem
WDBQ, owned by the Morton Radio Supply Co., signed on in 1924 on 1080 AM.
In 1925, the station moved to 1280 AM, but soon afterwards, went off the air.
WEBA - 1290 AM, Highland Park
WEBA, owned by George DeLaplaine d/b/a The Electric Shop, broadcasted briefly between 1924 and 1926.
The station offered programs from 8 to midnight nightly from studios located on 8th Ave. in Highland Park.
The WEBA calls stood for "We Entertain By Air" and "We Electrify By Appointment."
The station only broadcasted with 100 watts, but was heard as far away as Wisconsin.
Entertainers on the programs heard via WEBA included Billy Hillpot, who later became the program manager of NBC's Blue Network; Scrappy Lambert, a popular radio entertainer; and Paul Kuhithau, who later became a member of Johnny Mercer's orchestra in New York.
Walter C. Sedam, a local attorney, as well as the mayors of Highland Park and New Brunswick, spoke on the opening night of the station.
DeLaplaine let the station's license lapse in 1926.
Mr. DeLaplaine had also owned station 2LLO in Highland Park in 1922.
(Thanks to Steve Greene & an article from the New Brunswick Sunday Times (10/26/1941) for some of this information)
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