WJR 100 | THIRD QUARTER CENTURY ~ 1972-1997

Through the 70s and 80s, 760 WJR stood guard over the city as it endured some of its darkest days. The riots of 1967 left the city in desolation, with an exodus of residents and businesses leaving blight in their wake. Unemployment and poverty made way to street gangs, arson, a heroin epidemic, and the nation’s highest murder rate. All of this earned Detroit the dire designation of “The Most Dangerous City in America.”

In 1973, 760 WJR began covering the mayoral campaign of then State Senator Coleman A. Young, the man who would become the city’s first African American mayor. Young ran and won on a promise of police reform, successfully transforming the force during his first term to better represent the citizens it served.

During his next four terms, Young brought about a legacy of initiatives that the city still benefits from to this day. Accomplishments include a revitalized riverfront, investments in public transportation, increased housing, and the attraction of new automotive plants that created jobs.

Also during this era, 760 WJR became the region’s leader in sports broadcasting. Fans of the Tigers, Pistons, Red Wings, and Wolverines would tune it to catch play-by-play coverage by legends such as Ernie Harwell, George Blaha, Bruce Martyn, and Frank Beckmann. Coverage culminated in victories that united the region, including an NBA title, a Stanley Cup, and a World Series Pennant.

These 25 years also brought about the passing of a legend. On August 16, 1995, veteran 760 WJR broadcaster Joseph Priestley McCarthy succumbed to his battle with leukemia. He was 62.

J.P. as he was known, was the preeminent Detroit media personality of his time, and the region’s top-rated morning show host for most of his 30-year career. Two days after his death, 28 radio stations across Detroit and Windsor simultaneously observed a moment of silence for this voice that was “the Great Voice of the Great Lakes.”

The most memorable thing about J.P. is that he was a Detroiter to his core. He grew up in Detroit, he knew Detroit, and he loved Detroit. He never tore this city down. He looked for ways to build it up. I was proud to consider him a personal friend.” – Coleman A. Young

 

Through the 70s and 80s, 760 WJR stood guard over the city as it endured some of its darkest days. The riots of 1967 left the city in desolation, with an exodus of residents and businesses leaving blight in their wake. Unemployment and poverty made way to street gangs, arson, a heroin epidemic, and the nation’s highest murder rate. All of this earned Detroit the dire designation of “The Most Dangerous City in America.”

In 1973, 760 WJR began covering the mayoral campaign of then State Senator Coleman A. Young, the man who would become the city’s first African American mayor. Young ran and won on a promise of police reform, successfully transforming the force during his first term to better represent the citizens it served.

During his next four terms, Young brought about a legacy of initiatives that the city still benefits from to this day. Accomplishments include a revitalized riverfront, investments in public transportation, increased housing, and the attraction of new automotive plants that created jobs.

Also during this era, 760 WJR became the region’s leader in sports broadcasting. Fans of the Tigers, Pistons, Red Wings, and Wolverines would tune it to catch play-by-play coverage by legends such as Ernie Harwell, George Blaha, Bruce Martyn, and Frank Beckmann. Coverage culminated in victories that united the region, including an NBA title, a Stanley Cup, and a World Series Pennant.

These 25 years also brought about the passing of a legend. On August 16, 1995, veteran 760 WJR broadcaster Joseph Priestley McCarthy succumbed to his battle with leukemia. He was 62.

J.P. as he was known, was the preeminent Detroit media personality of his time, and the region’s top-rated morning show host for most of his 30-year career. Two days after his death, 28 radio stations across Detroit and Windsor simultaneously observed a moment of silence for this voice that was “the Great Voice of the Great Lakes.”

The most memorable thing about J.P. is that he was a Detroiter to his core. He grew up in Detroit, he knew Detroit, and he loved Detroit. He never tore this city down. He looked for ways to build it up. I was proud to consider him a personal friend.” – Coleman A. Young

 

PODCASTS:

Broadcaster Joseph Priestley McCarthy spent more than 30 years as the morning voice on “The Great Voice of The Great Lakes.” On his passing in 1995, the staff at 760 WJR assembled and aired this 90-minute retrospective of J.P.’s time at the station. Segments feature live broadcasts from across the globe, plus interviews with top newsmakers, and clips of longtime features from his program.

Night Flight 76” was a popular overnight program that ran on 760 WJR from the late 50’s through the 80’s. On each episode, host Jay Roberts would serve as your captain on a flight to somewhere in the world. Destinations were spotlighted by facts, interviews, and music, all unique to the featured destination. Listen in on this episode from 1982. 

760 WJR remembers longtime Michigan Wolverines Football broadcaster, Robert “Bob” Ufer. Ufer, a former track-and-field star, served as the radio voice of Wolverines football for 36 years. He died on October 26, 1981, nine days after his last play-by-play broadcast.

Listen as 760 WJR reports on the D’wan Sims case, the crash of TWA flight 800, and the 1996 Election.

VIDEOS:

30 year 760 WJR veteran JP McCarthy reflects on the past as 760 WJR gets ready to move from their original 28th floor studios to their brand new ones on the Fisher Building‘s 21st through 23rd floors.

From the 70’s through to the mid 90’s, 760 WJR was Southeast Michigan’s home for Detroit sports. Broadcasts covered the play-by-play action of Detroit Tigers, Detroit Pistons, Detroit Red Wings, and Michigan Wolverine Football. Later, 760 WJR added Michigan State Football and Basketball, coverage which the station continues to carry to this day. 

PHOTOS:

WJR 100 | THIRD QUARTER CENTURY ~ 1972-1997

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