WXYT (AM): Wikis

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WXYT
City of license Detroit, Michigan
Broadcast area [1] (Daytime)
[2] (Nighttime)
Branding 1270 XYT
Slogan "The Ticket"
Frequency 1270 kHz (also on HD Radio)
First air date October 10, 1925
Format play-by-play / Sports Talk / open phones
Power 50,000 watts
Class B
Facility ID 28627
Transmitter coordinates 42°01′39″N 83°20′42″W / 42.0275°N 83.345°W / 42.0275; -83.345
Callsign meaning WXYZ Talk
Former callsigns WXYZ (1930–1984)
WGHP (1925–1930)
Affiliations Sporting News Radio
Westwood One
Detroit Lions (co-flagship)
Detroit Tigers (co-flagship)
Detroit Red Wings (co-flagship)
Owner CBS Radio
Sister stations WXYT-FM, WOMC, WVMV, WWJ, WYCD
part of CBS Corp. cluster w/ TV stations WWJ-TV & WKBD-TV
Webcast Listen Live
Website http://www.wxyt.com/

WXYT (1270 kHz) is an AM radio station located in Detroit, Michigan. Its transmitter is in Monroe County at Ash Township and operations and studios are at CBS Radio's facilities in Southfield, Michigan. The station is owned by CBS Radio Inc. (formerly Infinity Broadcasting) and used the on-air nickname "1270-XYT The Sports Station" until October 2007, when sister station WKRK-FM became WXYT-FM. The two began simulcasting the sports format under the name "Detroit's Sports Powerhouse," but mere weeks later WXYT-FM took on the moniker "The Ticket," leaving mentions of the AM WXYT only during FCC-necessitated station identification.

WXYT-AM has an all-sports talk format, and is the flagship station (along with sister station WXYT-FM) for the Detroit Lions[1], Detroit Red Wings[2], and Detroit Tigers[3]; and along with WWJ, the Detroit Pistons [4] It also carries syndicated programming from the Los Angeles-based Sporting News Radio Network, as well as live (non-Detroit) NFL games from across the country via NFL on Westwood One.

This station was previously known as WXYZ, an ABC-owned radio station from 1946 until 1984.

In February 2009, the station announced it will broadcast games for the Detroit Pistons, beginning with the 2009-2010 NBA season.

Contents

History

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WGHP/WXYZ

The station first went on the air October 10, 1925 as WGHP - named after its owner, George Harrison Phelps. The radio station was originally licensed in Detroit, then moved to Mt. Clemens in 1927, and moved again to Fraser in 1928. The station was rated at 500 watts.

In 1930, the station was purchased by George W. Trendle's Kunsky-Trendle Broadcasting and switched the call letters to WXYZ which were acquired from a U.S. Army station. Trendle moved the station to the Maccabees Building on Woodward Avenue in downtown Detroit, where it remained until 1959. The station was rated at 1000 watts when it went on the air in 1930.

The station's slogan "The Last Word in Radio" would tie-in with its call letters. Another former slogan was "WXYZ, Where the Best Comes Last."

In 1934, WXYZ was one of the founding stations of the Mutual Broadcasting System, along with WOR in New York, WGN in Chicago, and WLW in Cincinnati. In September 1935, WXYZ dropped out of the Mutual group to become an affiliate of the NBC Blue network. The following year, its parent company, Kunsky-Trendle, changed its name to King-Trendle.

In 1946 the station was purchased by the American Broadcasting Company, which was recently formed from the NBC Blue by Edward Noble. On May 2, 1946, Noble, ABC board chairman, announced purchase of King-Trendle Broadcasting Corp. (WXYZ Detroit, WOOD Grand Rapids & Michigan Radio Network) for $3,650,000. The sale was approved by FCC on July 18.

Some time prior to 1949, the radio station's power was increased to 5000 watts.

In 1948 WXYZ personalities would contribute to launching programing on ABC's new Detroit television station WXYZ-TV, Channel 7, and WXYZ-FM also signed on at 101.1 MHz.. Dick Osgood of WXYZ radio was the first face on Channel 7. from their studios in the Maccabees Building.

WXYZ had many of Detroit’s most prominent radio personalities of the 1940s and 1950s including Dick Osgood, Francis Langford, Paul Whiteman, Fred Wolf, Ed McKenzie, Mickey Shorr, "The Lady of Charm" Edyth Fern Melrose, Jack Surrell (one of the earliest African-American air personalities on an otherwise white-oriented station), and future CBS News correspondent Mike Wallace.

ABC moved WXYZ AM-FM-TV in 1959 from the Maccabees Building to a new home known as "Broadcast House." WXYZ radio would occupy studios on the second floor of the new facility built on the site of a former farm in Southfield, Michigan until 1984.

Channel 1270

Over the next decade, as television grew in popularity, WXYZ was successful in replacing many of the declining ABC radio network variety features with local record shows hosted by personalities like longtime morning show host Fred Wolf, Paul Winter, and Mickey Shorr, one of the most influential of Detroit's early rock-and-roll disc jockeys.

Under the guidance of Hal Neal, WXYZ was the first ABC-owned-and-operated station to adopt the Top 40 music format in 1958; although WXYZ had already been making moves toward Top 40 in terms of playing more music and less network programming, the music played on the station during the various disc jockey shows encompassed a wide variety of genres, from mainstream pop to rock and roll to show tunes to opera. The transition to Top 40 was completed in 1958 with the station instituting an official playlist and taking away disc jockeys' privileges to play what they wanted. Although many of the DJs were disenchanted with the changes (particularly Fred Wolf, who was notable for his distaste for rock and roll), WXYZ's move proved a success in terms of ratings. The station's success in Top 40 inspired ABC to convert two of its flagship stations, WABC in New York and WLS in Chicago, to Top 40 in 1960. WXYZ was still, however, as an ABC network station, obliged to carry ABC's weekday-morning traditional radio variety show, "The Breakfast Club."

During the late 1950s and early 1960s, "Channel 1270", or "Wixie" (also spelled "Wyxie") as it was affectionately known, battled with Storer Broadcasting's WJBK (1500 AM) for the Top 40 audience in Detroit. The "Wixie" persona and WXYZ calls is reputed to have been the inspiration for "WIXY 1260," itself a Top 40 powerhouse in Cleveland, Ohio during the late 1960s.

Some noteworthy personalities during WXYZ's Top 40 era included: longtime morning drive host Fred Wolf; Lee Alan "On The Horn"; Joel Sebastian, (who later moved on to WLS); Paul Winter; Fred Weiss; Dave Prince; Steve Lundy, Don Zee; and, for a short time in 1966, Joey Reynolds and Jim Hampton.

Transitions

In 1963, WXYZ and WJBK were the two dominant Top 40 music stations in Detroit. However, both stations were dealt a fatal blow with the launch of WKNR "Keener 13" (formerly WKMH) at 1310 on the dial. "Keener" had a tighter, faster presentation and a shorter playlist than the competition, and quickly took over as Detroit's number one rated station. WJBK was the first of WKNR's competitors to fall, switching to an MOR format in 1964.

WXYZ battled tooth and nail with WKNR for over three years, but by the summer of 1966, WXYZ had also fallen behind Windsor, Ontario's CKLW in the ratings. In early 1967, WXYZ was third-ranked out of the three Top 40 stations. As a result, the station changed direction, softening its music mix to an adult contemporary/MOR approach known as "The Sound of the Good Life."

However, the station continued to flounder until Dick Purtan, formerly of WKNR, took over the WXYZ morning show after a short but eventful stint at WBAL in Baltimore. With Dick Purtan in the morning, WXYZ did respectably in the ratings through the 1970s with an adult Top 40/oldies hybrid. In the mid-1970s, WXYZ adopted the "Musicradio" slogan used by its sister stations WABC and WLS.

The station dropped music in favor of an all-talk format in 1978, which was the same year Dick Purtan left to work at CKLW. Ron Cameron, Joel Zelle, Dr. Sonya Freidman, David Newman and others hosted talk shows during this timeframe, under Program Directors Bob Oakes and Michael Packer. News reporters/anchors included Tom Bell, Tom Adams, Lou Hebert, Kathy Jackson, Robert Lambert, Scott Lewis and Mike O'Neill.

In 1977, WXYZ reporters, Lou Hebert and Tom Adams won a radio Peabody Award for Winter's Fear: The Children, The Killer, The Search, a presentation on the events surrounding the Oakland County Child Killer case.

Talkradio 1270

In 1984,The radio station was seeing its profits steadily declining along with its ratings. Station vice president and general manager Chuck Fritz, thinking he could operate it more profitably, offered to buy the station. ABC agreed and sold it to Fritz Broadcasting for $3-million (USD). The call letters were changed to the similar sounding WXYT, with the "T" standing for "talk." The WXYZ calls were retained by the TV station, which was sold two years later to Scripps-Howard to comply with divestiture requirements following Capital Cities Communications purchase of ABC. WRIF-FM was also sold while Cap Cities retained WJR-AM, WHYT-FM, the "Oakland Press" and numerous cable interests in Southeastern Lower Michigan. Fritz himself later bought the struggling 92.3 FM and converted it to the highly successful WMXD "Mix 92.3" (now a Clear Channel station), and founded the Radio Station Representative Association in Detroit.

WXYT-AM would continue with its talk format as "Talkradio 1270" airing local programs hosted by Kevin Joyce, Bill Bonds, Mark Scott, David Newman, John McCullogh and weathercaster Rob Kress; and syndicated talk show hosts such as Don Imus, Larry King, Michael Jackson, and Rush Limbaugh. Glenn Haege, known as "America's Master Handyman," hosted "Ask The Handyman", a weekend home improvement show that started on WXYZ in the mid-1980s, and lasted on WXYT until 2002. In 1998, after an unsuccessful campaign for Michigan governor, Geoffrey Fieger hosted an evening talk show that lasted less than a year.

In 1994 the station was sold again, this time to Infinity Broadcasting, which itself acquired CBS Radio in 1997, pairing WXYT with WWJ-AM and WKRK-FM. Infinity Broadcasting would revert its name to CBS Radio Inc. by December 2005.

The Sports Station

WXYT changed to an all-sports format in 2000 when the station, which had aired Detroit Lions football starting in 1998, acquired the broadcast rights to Detroit Tigers baseball and Detroit Red Wings hockey from rival WJR. The station re-branded itself as "Team 1270".

By 2002, WXYT would re-brand itself again as "AM 1270 The Sports Station". Power was also increased from 5,000 watts to 50,000 watts, though with a highly directional signal as opposed to non-directional WJR. In 2005, the station's nickname changed again, this time to "1270-XYT: The Sports Station."

WXYT's former afternoon show, The Locker Room, was hosted by former Detroit Tiger Kirk Gibson, Gary Danielson and former WJBK-TV and WABC-TV sports anchor Eli Zaret. Until the 2006 NCAA football season WXYT was the broadcast home for the Michigan State University Spartans. Opie and Anthony, upon their return to free radio, were also on WXYT from June to September 2006, after WXYT's local morning sports talk programming experiment fell through. Their show was moved to sister station WKRK, while WXYT picked up Mike and Mike in the Morning. In August 2007, WXYT became an ESPN Radio affiliate, same as its Detroit sports radio competitor, WDFN. The two stations simulcast ESPN content until the merger of WXYT with WKRK in October 2007, at which point they picked up WKRK's affilaition with Sporting News Radio, dropping ESPN.

Like WDFN, WXYT airs sports news updates, called "Sports Headlines". These updates air in the form of a one-minute update at the top of every hour, as well as a quick update at approximately 37 minutes after the hour on weekends and from 3-9 p.m. Monday thru Friday. This is unlike many other sports stations across the country which air their sports news updates three times an hour.

The station's original call letters, WGHP, are now used by a Fox O&O television station in North Carolina.

In January 2007, WXYT announced that they had renewed their flagship-broadcast contracts with the Tigers and Red Wings. Beginning with the 2007 season, the Tigers would have their games simulcast on WKRK. The Red Wings' simulcast began in spring 2007.

Detroits Sports Powerhouse/The Ticket

On October 1, 2007 1270 AM sister station Live 97.1 Free FM switched their format to sports from hot talk and began simulcasting with 1270 AM. The Mike and Mike in the Morning was replaced by Live 97.1 Free FM Deminski & Doyle.

On November 6, 2007 1270 AM and 97.1 FM changed their names from "Detroit's Sports Powerhouse 97–1 FM & 1270 AM" to "97–1 FM The Ticket." The 1270 AM frequency is only mentioned at the top of the hour. Another change was the names of the mid-day show "The Big Show" and the afternoon show "The Sports Inferno" with the names changing to the last names of their hosts.

When 1270 isn't simulcasting 97.1 FM (mostly during live spoting events with restricted contracts), 1270 uses a different set of station IDs.

Sources

  • Michiguide.com - WXYT History
  • W*Y*X*I*E* Wonderland: An Unauthorized 50-Year Diary of WXYZ Detroit, Dick Osgood, Bowling Green University Press
  • Rockin' Down the Dial: The Detroit Sound of Radio from Jack the Bellboy to the Big 8, David Carson, University of Michigan Press

External links

References


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