WJR 100 | SECOND QUARTER CENTURY ~ 1947-1972

After the passing of station owner G.A. Richards, “The Goodwill Station” was sold to Capital Cities Communications, who changed the brand identity of 760 WJR to The Great Voice of the Great Lakes.”

These 25 years placed 760 WJR amid headlines that shaped generations, while defining America’s challenges for the future: the rise of the Cold War and the mistrust of McCarthyism, race riots that kindled demands for equality and a movement for change, the assassination that ended America’s utopian dream of Camelot, and the uniting miracle of how “one small step” led to “one giant leap for mankind.” 

During this era, the station gave forum to many of the day’s most popular pop culture personalities. Notables included singer and actress Eartha Kitt, four-time Grammy Award-winning singer and actor Bing Crosby, and 12-time World Heavyweight Boxing Champion Joe Lewis.

Narrating all of this were voices that grew to become synonymous with “The Great Voice of The Great Lakes.”  Personalities like Jack HarrisMike Whorf, Paul Cary, Ernie Harwell, Frank Beckmann, and the legendary J.P. McCarthy were all here, earning trust while bringing the free speech facts to listeners across our region.


After the passing of station owner G.A. Richards, “The Goodwill Station” was sold to Capital Cities Communications, who changed the brand identity of 760 WJR to The Great Voice of the Great Lakes.”

These 25 years placed 760 WJR amid headlines that shaped generations, while defining America’s challenges for the future: the rise of the Cold War and the mistrust of McCarthyism, race riots that kindled demands for equality and a movement for change, the assassination that ended America’s utopian dream of Camelot, and the uniting miracle of how “one small step” led to “one giant leap for mankind.” 

During this era, the station gave forum to many of the day’s most popular pop culture personalities. Notables included singer and actress Eartha Kitt, four-time Grammy Award-winning singer and actor Bing Crosby, and 12-time World Heavyweight Boxing Champion Joe Lewis.

Narrating all of this were voices that grew to become synonymous with “The Great Voice of The Great Lakes.”  Personalities like Jack HarrisMike Whorf, Paul Cary, Ernie Harwell, Frank Beckmann, and the legendary J.P. McCarthy were all here, earning trust while bringing the free speech facts to listeners across our region.

PUBLICATIONS (CLICK TO FLIP THROUGH):

WJR Radio – The American Way” was created by 760 WJR to give the listening audience a visual of the voices and activities that the station presented on-air. The cover featured Free Speech Mike, who was developed by then station owner G.A Richards as a symbol that embodied the station’s ideals.

WJR Team of Announcers” was created as a sales tool to help account representatives sell live reads and sponsorships associated to the station’s various hosts and programs.   

WJR – 50 Years of Unique Radio” was created by Robert B. Tuttle for 760 WJR to present and preserve the history of the station’s first half century. The booklet is broken into decades, with feature of each era’s most prominent personalities, musicians, and programs. 

PODCASTS:

On June 8, 1953, the catastrophic Flint–Beecher Tornado devastated the northern edge of Flint and the suburb of Beecher. The near 20-mile path of destruction left 116 people dead, close to 1,000 people injured, and more than $19 million in damages. 760 WJR was there to bring listeners the latest, with the station’s mobile unit serving as headquarters for the Michigan State Police and then Governor G. Mennen Williams.    

On July 23, 1967, Detroit Police raided an unlicensed after-hours bar located on the city’s near west side that was popular with the African American community. The raid ignited tensions that had been fueled by the institutional racism and entrenched segregation that had gripped the city for decades. The resulting 12th Street Riot became the bloodiest riot in American history, with 16 killed and close to 500 injured.   

760 WJR coverage has never been limited to the radius of our signal. 760 WJR News Directors Bill Sheehan and Jim Vinyl are just two examples of this, traveling on the maiden voyage of the humanitarian hospital vessel, The Hope Ship, and following President Eisenhower to places like India and Europe 

VIDEO:

Capital Cities / ABC Co-Founder Lowell Thomas narrates a promotional video that overviews the station’s personalities and programming amidst the backdrop of 1960s Detroit.

PHOTOS:

WJR 100 | SECOND QUARTER CENTURY ~ 1947-1972

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