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WNEM
Wnem-am.jpg
City of license Bridgeport, Michigan
Broadcast area Saginaw-Bay City-Midland
Branding WNEM 1250 AM
Frequency 1250 kHz
First air date November 26, 1956
Format News
Power 5,000 watts (Daytime)
1,100 watts (Nighttime)
Class B
Facility ID 4600
Transmitter coordinates 43°20′31″N 83°53′57″W / 43.34194°N 83.89917°W / 43.34194; -83.89917
Callsign meaning Northeastern Michigan
Former callsigns WKNX (2/1/97-8/2/04)
WJZZ (8/23/96-2/1/97)
WXOX (2/13/84-8/23/96)
WTCX (11/1/83-2/13/84)
WXOX (1962-11/1/83)
WWBC (11/26/56-1962)
Owner Meredith Corporation
Webcast [1]
Website [2]

WNEM AM 1250 is an all-news radio station for the SaginawBay City area. It is currently owned by the Meredith Corporation. Although licensed to Bridgeport, WNEM currently operates from the WNEM-TV studios in downtown Saginaw at 107 Franklin Street. The station operates from its transmitter facilities in Bridgeport.

Contents

History

WNEM-AM's history can be traced back as early as April 17, 1947, when the station first signed on the air as AM 1210 WKNX, owned by Lake Huron Broadcasting. The station was like many of its day, programming a full-service format of music, news, and talk. For many years, it was also a leading Top 40 hit music station in Saginaw, competing with WSAM-AM 1400 and Flint's WTAC-AM 600.

Among the station's history was the acquisition of a sister television station in the 1950s, and was also the radio home of 50's country music artist "Little" Jimmy Dickens. WKNX's resident "legend" would take form of Ohio State University graduate Robert Dyer, who joined the station in 1950 and remained a part of its staff for more than half a century.

In 1977, Lake Huron Broadcasting acquired an FM station in the Tampa Bay region of Florida -- WQYK-FM, a station that also carried a country format.

The following year, in 1978, WKNX underwent a major change when it was purchased by Radiocom Limited, a company headed by Robert Dana McVay. WKNX's city of license was immediately changed to Frankenmuth, and the station's studios and offices were moved to 306 West Genesee Avenue in Frankenmuth, where it was joined by a Tuscola-licensed sister FM station, WGMZ-FM (now WWBN), which programmed beautiful music. (The WGMZ calls and format moved from 107.9 FM, which became WCRZ "Cars 108" in 1984.) By the early 1990s, WKNX-AM was programming big band music and adult standards.

Radiocom owned WKNX and leased WGMZ (which would later became country-formatted WKMF and move its operations to Flint) until 1994, when WKNX was purchased by Detroit-based Bell Broadcasting Company in a frequency swap involving another AM station in Bay City (1250 WXOX) which had been silent since the early 90's.

Bell Broadcasting owned WCHB, an AM station licensed to Taylor, which operated at a daytime signal of 25,000 watts and a nighttime signal of 1,000 watts. WCHB was a talk station targeted to an African-American audience. The company's intent was to acquire WKNX's dial position at 1210 and silence it in order to provide WCHB with a 50,000 watt daytime signal.

WKNX would then acquire the license of the silent 1,000 watt WXOX-AM 1250 in Bay City and assume that dial position, as well as its abandoned three-tower directional transmitter site. In January 1997, WKNX signed on at AM 1250, and AM 1210 was placed at WXOX and assigned the new call letters WJZZ, though it did not sign back on from Frankenmuth or the surrounding area.

The FCC then granted WJZZ a request to change its city of license to Kingsley, a village near Traverse City, located on the other side of Michigan. The move allowed WJZZ to increase its power from 10,000 to 50,000 watts, as it was no longer in the path of WCHB. WJZZ was later sold and later became WLDR-AM (now WJNL).

WKNX continued its format of middle-of-the-road music under the moniker "Memories 1250". Six months after the frequency change, WKNX was sold by Bell Broadcasting to Frankenmuth Broadcasting, a company owned by WKNX announcer John Blehm and his wife Kathy. Four years later, the music became more rock-and-roll oldies-based and also added religious-based talk programming during the daytime hours.

WKNX was granted permission to broadcast at night two years later with a power output of 129 watts, directional. In January 2004, Frankenmuth Broadcasting applied for a power increase from 1,000 to 5,000 watts. Two months later, Frankenmuth Broadcasting entered into an agreement to sell WKNX to the Meredith Corporation for $1.1 million.

In the Summer of 2004, the parent company of WNEM-TV, Meredith Corporation, purchased WKNX. Soon after the purchase, the call sign was changed to "WNEM-AM" and shifted its studios to the television studio building in Saginaw. Unlike its TV counterpart, however, the AM station does not serve Flint or areas south of Saginaw County, due to the directional antenna array beamed towards the north. The station is also simulcasted via the Internet on WNEM's website, except for sports coverage.

The former WXOX calls have since been recycled for a Cleveland low-powered TV station, WXOX-LP.

The AM station now broadcasts at a power of 5000 watts daytime, 1100 watts at night, also directed towards the north. The FCC granted WNEM-AM permission in January 2006 to operate at the new power levels with the addition of a fourth tower in its directional antenna pattern. WNEM-AM's primary programming are repeats and simulcasts of channel 5's newscasts, plus syndicated regional sports and additional programming. WNEM picked up Detroit Red Wings hockey coverage in late 2005, making it mid-Michigan's only source of NHL hockey. Saginaw-based WSGW (790 AM) has decided to pick up the Red Wings in the fall, leaving some question whether WNEM will continue to air the team.

In a coincidental situation, WNEM rival WEYI-TV is descended from the former WKNX which is today's WNEM radio.

Personnel

  • Wes Goheen and Steve Duncan co-host Friday Night Lights, a post game/scoreboard show heard after WNEM's coverage of high school football.
  • And in 2009 Goheen and Duncan have a segment on My5 TV's 5th Quarter show,a high school football show with scores and highlights.

Sources

External links

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