America’s First Commercial Radio Station Began in Michigan
100 years ago, on August 20, 1920, America’s first radio station that began commercial broadcasting went on the air in Michigan.
The station was 8MK in Detroit, broadcasting weather and government reports.
On October 13, 1921, the station changed its call letters to WBL after getting its first commercial license.
Finally, on March 3, 1922, the call letters were changed for the last time to WWJ – what those letters stand for seem to be lost to history.
On March 29, 1941 WWJ moved across the dial to 950 AM where it has been ever since. WWJ became the first radio station to broadcast regular news reports, weekly church programs, and play-by-play sports.
During the 1940s, WWJ had many music programs and reports depicting the events during World War II. Comedy programs were abundant as well, giving Michigan - and America – a break from all the war reports.
When the war ended, radio’s Golden Age was not far in closing. The radio variety programs were now being presented with video on the newfangled television sets that popped up in American homes.
WWJ's television station was next...it went on the air for the first time on March 4, 1947 as WWDT. The following year the call letters were changed to WWJ. In 1978 the letters were changed again to WDIV, where it remains to this day.
In 1973, after FM and stereo became more & more popular, WWJ dropped all its music & entertainment shows and turned into an all-news station.
WWJ, now known as 950 AM, “Newsradio 950” is currently Detroit’s only 24-hour all-news radio station.
In July 2020, one of WWJ's legendary announcers passed away.
Read about that HERE.
Happy 100th birthday, WWJ.