|City of license||Ann Arbor, Michigan|
|Broadcast area|| (Daytime)
|Branding||Sports Talk 1050 WTKA|
|Slogan||The Leaders and Best|
|First air date||1945|
|Power||10,000 watts (Daytime)
500 watts (Nighttime)
|Callsign meaning||The Ticket|
|Former callsigns||WPZA (12/87-2/93)
|Sister stations||WLBY, WQKL, WWWW-FM|
First on-air as WPAG in 1945, the station was the first licensed to Washtenaw County, with studios on the third floor of the Hutzel Building, at the corner of Main at Liberty Streets in Ann Arbor. (Currently, a digital service called A3 Radio netcasts from the old WPAG studios.) Owned by brothers Paul and Art Greene, the call letters WPAG were selected to reflect their names. (For many years there was a ladies lingerie and apparel store down on the Hutzel Building's first floor, which caused long-time University of Michigan football broadcaster Bob Ufer to joke that WPAG really stood for "Women's Panties And Girdles".) WPAG also briefly operated a television outlet, WPAG-TV on channel 20 in the 1950s.
Meanwhile, the radio station went through a series of formats. WPAG played Top 40 music for much of the 1960s, then transitioned to a full-service format featuring MOR music in 1968. By 1982, WPAG was an adult standards station, then changed to country music a short time later.
In December 1987, WTKA was purchased by Tom Monaghan and had its calls changed to WPZA -- a nod to Monaghan's thriving Domino's Pizza business. In late 1992, Monaghan (who now owns Ave Maria Radio, including Ypsilanti's WDEO), sold WPZA to the MW Blue Partnership; eventually, it went to Cumulus Broadcasting and then to Clear Channel Communications, who flipped the station to all-sports WTKA ("The Ticket").
WTKA is now owned by Cumulus Broadcasting due in part to a multi-station swap between Cumulus and Clear Channel that involved stations in Michigan And Ohio.
Today, WTKA bills itself as "Sports Talk 1050 AM", the unofficial voice of the University of Michigan sports. Sports Talk 1050 AM carries U-M football, basketball and hockey as well as Detroit Tigers baseball games (a holdover from the WPZA era, as Monaghan also owned the Tigers at that time.
Go Blue Wolverine magazine editor Sam Webb and Ira Weintraub host "The Michigan Insider" weekday mornings from 6-10am. The show features many prominent guests, including sports writers John Bacon and Bob Paige, ESPN The Magazine contributor Eric Adelson, and frequent interviews with University of Michigan coaches Rich Rodriguez, John Beilein, Carol Hutchins, Rich Maloney and more. One of the most popular features on "The Michigan Insider" is called "Recruiting Roundup" with the latest information on Michigan football and basketball recruiting. The segment is hosted by Sam Webb and does not air when Webb's days off. The segment is recorded and available at any time on the station's website.
A weekly appearance on Tuesdays at 8:05am by Mike Fowler, a longtime Detroit Lions reporter, who's blog appears at LionsInsider.net is also heard. Mike, who also is the managing editor of GoSpartans.net also comments on Michigan State athletics when Michigan State is a topic.
Webb also appears Sunday mornings from 9-10am on "The GoBlueWolverine Hour". The 10am-12noon spot is then filled by author John U. Bacon and Jamie Morris. Morris is a former University of Michigan tailback. He played under legendary coach Bo Schembechler in the 1980s, becoming Michigan's all-time leading rusher in the process. Now, he ranks third on the all-time list.
During the 2009-2010 Michigan Hockey Season, Ira Weintraub and John U. Bacon host "The Red Berenson Show" with legendary Michigan hockey coach Red Berenson and other Michigan hockey coaches and Michigan hockey players. The show airs Tuesday nights at 6pm during the season from the The Arena Sports Bar and Grill in Ann Arbor.
WTKA also airs the University of Michigan Coaches Show (football) on Thursdays at 7pm and will air the John Beilein Show once the basketball season begins. Both programs are broadcast on location from Pizza Houseon Church Street in the East U. area of Ann Arbor.
Mondays at 6pm Ira Weintraub hosts the Eagle Nation Insider, focusing on Eastern Michigan University athletics with guests like head football coach Ron English and women's basketball coach AnnMarie Gilbert. The show is rebroadcast Wednesday afternoon at 3pm.
Ben Copeland provides weekday traffic and sports reports in the afternoons, and occasionly sits in on "The Michigan Insider". On weekday afternoons, the station features ESPN Radio programming The Herd with Colin Cowherd from 10am-1pm, and The Scott VanPelt Show from 1-3pm.
Beginning on December 10, 2008, WTKA debuted Ann Arbor's Big Show from 3-6pm. The host of the show rotates throughout the week between John U. Bacon (Mondays), Jeff Radford (Tuesdays) Jeff DeFran (Wednesdays and Thursdays), and Jim Stark and Al Fellhauer (Fridays). The host is joined by Mark Copeland each day. Brian Cook of [mgoblog.com] is filling in on Mondays in the fall of 2009 while John U. Bacon works on other projects. The first hour of The Big Show is called the recap and features interviews from earlier in the day as well as replaying the popular morning show segment Recruiting Roundup with Sam Webb. The Big Show is live from 4-6pm.
WTKA airs two hours of a delayed version of The Huge Show with host Bill Simonson from 6-8pm. Simonson is known for marching into area businesses and demanding goods or services for free. When merchants would object, he often responds with "Don't you know who I am?" The station also airs a delayed version of the Dan Patrick Show from 8-11pm. The Huge Show and Dan Patrick Show are often preempted by live broadcasts of Detroit Tigers baseball and University Of Michigan basketball and hockey.
On April 23, 2007 WTKA fired former University of Michigan hockey player Dave Shand from the station. Shand served as the co-host for the morning show titled "In the Locker Room with Dave Shand." The station gave no reason for the firing. Shand claims University of Michigan athletic director Bill Martin pressured the station to fire him. Others say Shand was a liability on the air.
On October 15, 2009 former Michigan star quarterback Rick Leach sharply criticized former head football coach Lloyd Carr during a call to The Michigan Insider. Leach said "our ex-coach flipped a huge middle finger right in our current coach's face," after finding out that Carr was mingling with some of the University of Iowa's athletic department during Michigan's game at Iowa the previous Saturday. Leach's comments have contributed to reports that there is friction and division within the Michigan football community over the hiring of Rich Rodriguez. The audio of Leach's phone call is available on the station's website.