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Wjmo logo.png
City of license Cleveland, Ohio
Broadcast area Greater Cleveland
Branding "Praise 1300 WJMO"
Slogan Cleveland's Inspiration Station
Frequency 1300 (kHz)
First air date June 4, 2007
1949 (as WERE)
Format Urban Gospel
Power 5,000 watts
Class B
Callsign meaning Wentworth J. Marshall, (original) Owner
Former callsigns WERE (1948–2007)
Owner Radio One
Sister stations WENZ, WERE, WJMO, WZAK

WJMO is an AM radio station licensed to Cleveland, Ohio operating on 1300 kHz, with studios at 2510 St. Clair Avenue and a transmitter located along Ridge Road in Parma. The station is owned by Radio One, and has a gospel music format. "Praise 1300" is the Cleveland affiliate for The Yolanda Adams Show and CoCo Brother Live, and is the flagship station of the Cleveland Gladiators of the Arena Football League.

Prior to June 4, 2007, the station had operated at 1490 kHz frequency, where it had been at since 1958. That frequency is now home to sister station WERE.




At 1540-AM

WJMO went on the air on June 1, 1947 licensed to Cleveland as a daytime-only broadcaster at 1540 kHz with studios at 2157 Euclid Avenue and a power of 1000 watts. The owner was Wentworth J. Marshall, formerly head of the Marshall Drug Co. chain, and the general manager was David M. Baylor. When it debuted, WJMO was the only Cleveland radio station without a network affiliation. As a result, the station specialized in recorded music. Early staff included Gene Carroll (mornings), Howie Lund (afternoons), and Billy Evans on sports.[1]

In 1948 WJMO carried the football games of Western Reserve College Red Cats, both at home from League Park and on the road. In the first broadcast on September 25 Gil Gibbons called the action as Western Reserve met Western Michigan in Kalamazoo.[2]

On June 5, 1952, in an attempt to emphaze music rather than DJs, Baylor issued an orders to play four songs every 15 minutes.[2] As a result a number of DJs chose to leave the station. Later than year, Wentworth sold the station on August 20 for $100,000 to Maryland-based United Broadcasting, headed by Richard Eaton. Ownership was later put in the name of Eaton's affiliated company Friendly Broadcasting of Ohio.[1] WJMO also had a license for an FM sister station at 106.5 MHz, which was to sign on in 1959 with the WJMO-FM call letters.

At 1490-AM

On February 1, 1958, Friendly Broadcasting of Columbus assumed control of WSRS 1490-AM and 95.3-FM from Sam R. Sague, and switched call letters, licenses, studios and facilities, selling off their former frequencies to Tuschman Broadcasting Company. WJMO took over the former WSRS offices at 2156 Lee Road in Cleveland Heights, and WSRS-FM became WJMO-FM, later WCUY. The 1540-AM facility became WABQ with the switch (whose format and call letters currently reside at 1460-AM) and the 106.5 facility ultimately signed on as WABQ-FM, and became WXEN in 1960. The 1540-AM frequency is currently WWGK, while the 106.5 facility is now home to WMVX.

Shortly after the frequency change in the early 1960s, WJMO moved to a black-oriented R&B format. In 1970 a dispute arose over working conditions and the lack of blacks in key positions. Key station personnel staged a "sick out," which took the station off the air. The dispute attracted the involvement of a number of groups, including the Cleveland chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.[1]

The SCLC asked sponsors to withhold advertising from WJMO or face a boycott by black community groups. In retaliation, the personnel involved in the "sick out" were fired. In the efforts to resolve matters, the fired personnel were reinstated, and Kennard "Ken" Hawkins was appointed the station's general manager. Hawkins became the first African American to hold that position at a Cleveland radio station.[2]

United Broadcasting ran into problems with the FCC regarding the operation of its stations in Washington and Miami. It was also alleged that Eaton bribed the ABC network to gain favorable terms for three of its stations.

Meanwhile in Cleveland, United Broadcasting had other problems. On December 11, 1973, station vice president Van Lane (real name Morris Schecter) and engineer John Rees of Washington's WRC radio pled guilty in federal court to charges of bugging Hawkins' office. It was later revealed that the lines were linked between Hawkins' office at the station and Lane's home in Shaker Heights. Lane and Rees were fined $500 each. Former United Broadcasting controller and VP Morton Silverman of Columbia, Maryland, was also charged with three felony counts of illegal wiretapping, but the Justice Department agreed to reduce the charges to a misdemeanor.[2]

A year later, on December 2, 1974, Washington-based attorney Roy F. Perkins, Jr., the former attorney for United Broadcasting, pled guilty in federal court to a misdemeanor charge of bugging Hawkins' office. He was fined $2,000. Perkins claimed that he authorized the bugging because of rumors of payola at the station.[2]

In January 1990, United Broadcasting re-acquired the 92.3 MHz facility, by now WRQC, and changed its callsign to WJMO-FM. United Broadcasting sold WJMO and WJMO-FM in 1992 to Zebra Communications, owned by Xenophon Zapis (owner of Zapis Communications and WZAK), Lynn Tolliver (WZAK program director) and Bobby (Otis) Rush (WZAK DJ). Although Tolliver and Rush were both African Americans, Zapis was a key party in the new ownership, and the sale was contested by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.[2]

The sale was approved by the FCC in 1993,[3] and WJMO became the first radio station with significant African American ownership in the Cleveland area. In 1994, as a result of the legal battles, the SCLC gained significant control of WJMO, [4] which was seen as less profitable than WJMO-FM and WZAK.

The SCLC appointed a local group (dubbed NewCo) that directly had an input in stations' programming, and produced talk and public affairs shows between the hours of 8 p.m. and 5 a.m. Meanwhile, due to the high legal fees incurred by Zapis, Zebra and the SCLC, all of the local deejays on the station were replaced with ABC Radio's "Solid Gold Soul" music service.[5] In addition, the call letters of the FM station were changed to WZJM—a combination of WZAK and WJMO. (The WJMO-FM calls did resurface on the 99.5 MHz facility in Washington, DC—then co-owned with WJMO—in 1999. Today it broadcasts as WIHT.)

On August 12, 1998, Chancellor Media Corporation of Texas announced its purchase of WJMO and WZJM from Zebra Communications, along with its purchase of four other Cleveland radio stations, WZAK, WDOK 102.1-FM, WQAL 104.1-FM, and WRMR 850-AM, for $275 million.[6] It was, at the time, the largest radio deal in Cleveland broadcasting history.

On July 13, 1999, Chancellor Media merged with Capstar Broadcasting (which at the time owned WKNR) to form AMFM Inc., at that time the nation's largest radio station owner with 465 stations. AMFM sold WZAK and WJMO to Radio One on July 20, 2000 as part of a required divestiture when AMFM merged with Clear Channel Communications.[7]

The station became a gospel music outlet on May 17, 1999 after nearly forty years with an rhythm & blues format, which was reputed by many to have been the longest running such station in the country (though recently, AM 1490--now known as WERE--has been featuring classic soul/R&B music on Friday and Saturday nights as a nod to it's former format).[8]

At 1300-AM

Exactly eight years after WJMO's format switch to gospel music, the May 19, 2007 edition of the Cleveland Plain Dealer[9] reported that station owner Radio One swaped the WJMO call letters and "Praise" gospel format with the WERE callsign and talk format. WJMO moved to the 1300 frequency (which had been home to WERE since 1949), while WERE switched to the 1490 frequency. All of this took place on June 4, 2007.

In the months following, WJMO began airing the daily syndicated gospel/talk morning show featuring Yolanda Adams, and in July 2009, became the Cleveland affiliate for CoCo Brother Live, a new syndicated nightly gospel/talk program from Syndication One.

Sports play by play

In 2010, WJMO became the flagship station for the Cleveland Gladiators of the Arena Football League.


  1. ^ a b c Van Tassel, David D., ed.; John J. Grabowski, ed. (1996). "WJMO". The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History (2nd ed. ed.). Bloomington: Indiana University Press. pp. pp. 1058–59. ISBN 0-253-33056-4. Retrieved 2007-01-01. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f "WJMO History". Cleveland Broadcast Radio Archives Project. Retrieved 2007-01-01. 
  3. ^ Santiago, Roberto (May 22, 1993). "WJMO sale approved by FCC, but SCLC appeal is likely". The Plain Dealer. pp. 1B. Retrieved 2007-01-01. 
  4. ^ Santiago, Roberto (December 10, 1993). "SCLC gains control of WJMO-AM". The Plain Dealer. pp. 1A. Retrieved 2007-01-01. 
  5. ^ Santiago, Roberto (February 18, 1994). "FCC Approves Transfer of Two Urban Stations". The Plain Dealer. pp. 4B. Retrieved 2007-05-21. 
  6. ^ "Company News; Chancellor Media to Buy Six Cleveland Radio Stations". The New York Times. August 13, 1998. Retrieved 2007-01-01. 
  7. ^ U.S. Department of Justice (July 20, 2000). "Justice Department Requires Clear Channel and AMFM to Divest 99 Radio Stations in 27 Markets. Required Sale is Largest Radio Divestiture Ever". Press release. Retrieved 2007-01-01. 
  8. ^ Feran, Tom (May 19, 1999). "WJMO Gives up Soul for Gospel". The Plain Dealer. pp. 2E. Retrieved 2007-05-21. 
  9. ^ Washington, Julie E (May 19, 2007). "WERE and WJMO trading AM frequencies". The Plain Dealer. pp. 1E. Retrieved 2007-06-04. 

External links

Preceded by
AM 1540 kHz in Cleveland, Ohio
June 1, 1947-January 14, 1959
Succeeded by
Preceded by
AM 1490 kHz in Cleveland Heights, Ohio
1948-January 14, 1959
Succeeded by

Preceded by
AM 1490 kHz in Cleveland Heights, Ohio
January 14, 1959-June 4, 2007
Succeeded by
Preceded by
AM 1300 kHz in Cleveland, Ohio
June 4, 2007-Present
Succeeded by


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