Tuesday, September 05, 2006

WDZ was number three

Everybody argues on who was the first. The first license, the first broadcast, the first Fm , the first 24 hour operation, the first to run ads the first to whatever... WDZ stands up and proudly states that they are number three. (Who's going to argue with that?)

WDZ is also known as Illinois' first commercial radio station. It began broadcasting from Tuscola, Illinois as experimental station 9JR. But this thrist oldest over all is somewhat lesser known. [And to be specific I do mean licensed station.] They went live on March 17, 1921 with a schedule grain market reports for the agricultural community running twice an hour ...between long stretches of dead air. Anecdotally it has been reported that there were a total of two receivers in the area to actually hear the original broadcast on 883 AM. Their slogan was "The Buckle of the Corn Belt."

The original station broadcast from an antenna that was a simple wire strung between a couple of buildings in Tuscola. The station changed frequency to 1080 AM as power output was reduced to 10-watts in 1923. It was a slow year. By that date there were only three radio stations on the air in America. These were KDKA in Pittsburgh and WGY in Schenectady, New Jersey. I think that WDZ got him more often with legislated license changes than any of them.

In1927 the station was given a full time licence to broadcast at 100-watts. But thenThe Radio Act of 1927 changed to licence of WDZ to broadcast only during the daytime at 1070 kc. Then in 1936 the power changed to 250-watts, and the frequency to 1020am. With only three other staitons it seems like their vbing singled out...

By 1941, WDZ had a fairly stable homw 1050 AM home but still was broadcasting mostly Agricultural news but thankfully more continiously than twice an hour. they began to add entertainment programming drawing performers from the southern hot beds of blues and country music. Today they run a dull Urban AC format: http://www.magic1050am.com/home.php

further history here: http://www.dougquick.com/areachrradiohistory2.html