Friday, March 16, 2007

620 History

This is the 17th station history I have posted and this one focuses on AM 620 which once was a very popular top 40 station.

620 History

On February 12, 1927, 620 signed on the air as WNBJ. The station was owned by the Lonsdale Baptist Church and operated at 1450 which is currently home to LaFollette’s southern gospel station, WLAF-AM. In 1930, the station was sold to the Stuart Broadcast Corporation and moved to 1310 on the AM dial. In 1931, the calls were changed to WROL-AM. Ironically, WROL-AM would go on to apply for a television station on channel 6 which we know today as WATE-TV.

In March 1941, WROL would move to its current dial position at 620 on the AM dial. A few years later, WROL-AM would change the calls to WATE-AM which was WATE-TV’s sister station. WATE-AM 620 would launch the career of Ann Taylor who was a newsreader on both WATE-AM and WATE-TV.

In 1971, the calls were changed from WATE-AM to WETE-AM. The station aired an AC format during their time as WETE-AM. In 1976, WETE-AM changed the calls from WETE-AM to WRJZ-AM. That year, they became a top 40 station that featured many DJs including CP and Walker, Tony Taylor, John Wood, Adele Arakawa, Mark Thompson, and Rick Kirk. In mid 1981, WRJZ-AM would transition to AC and by early to mid 1982, they would be a country music station.

A few months later, WRJZ would become an oldies station and then afterwards, they went off the air. A few years later, WRJZ-AM would change formats to a religious talk format that continues to this day.


Steve Howard said...

I did the overnight shift at WRJZ from July 1980 to August 1981 under the station's second PD, Fred Story. The jocks I worked with were Fred, Jeff Jarnigan, JJ Scott, Adele (Arakawa), CP & Walker, Rick Kirk, Eddie Beacon, and Martin Baker.

The newscasters during my time there were the late Ernie Baker, David Henley, Roger Hawkins, Ron Sprowl, and Susan Adler.

Steve Howard said...

I forgot the great Tim Edwards! Tim returned in early '81 as PD when Fred Story departed for WBCY 107.9/Charlotte. Tim also went back on the air. He treated this night jock great and when I was offered the PDship of WKIN back home in Kingsport, I took it, but Tim's befriending of me made it hard to leave The Z.