"The Little Station from Tuscola"
Radio Station 9JR
(later renamed WDZ), Tuscola, Illinois
With its new equipment and generator. This photo was taken
about 1922. The new equipment and generator
on the left were for the 50 watt phase of WDZ. Next to it is the
original 15 watt G.E. transmitter (with tubes). The next two panels
are amplifiers and dial tuners on a Westinghouse R-6 receiver that could
pick up stations 1,999 miles away (cost $216). On the right hand
end is a Magnavox speaker (cost $45) and under the table, the various
wet and dry cell batteries.
the Decatur (Illinois) Tribune, Nov. 15, 1989, p. 6)
WDZ radio started in the office of James Bush's grain elevator
office in Tuscola. Call letters for the beginning years were 9JR.
The intentions of the radio station were to broadcast the grain reports.
Besides being one of the first commercial radio stations in the U.S.,
it was the first to broadcast grain reports. This historical event occurred
March 17, 1921. The antenna in 1921 was a simple strung wire between
buildings in Tuscola. At the time there were only two receivers
in the area to hear the signal. This first broadcast only lasted
five minutes. Two other radio stations, KDKA in Pittsburgh and WGY, Schenectady,
N.J. were also broadcasting signals. These three were they only
ones as of this date. For some time 9JR would intermingle music with the
WDZ Transmitter Room (left)
and the Performers Studio
Transmitter building and base of the big in tower in 1941. Note
the WDZ mobile unit in front of the building. WDZ was heard all
over the country in 1941, and was very popular for its news and live
entertainment. WDZ's new 250 foot tower at Tuscola, Il,in 1941. Seemed like Illinois' First Commercial Radio
Station would be in Tuscola forever. In actuality, it would
leave to nearby Decatur in 1949.
Began his career at Tuscola's WDZ
WDZ from Tuscola was very
popular in the 1930's and 1940's.
had their own band, and would travel around Central Illinois to
entertain their fans. Local talent would travel to Tuscola to
present their own entertainment to listeners.
Many families in Central Illinois could say
that they had members who performed at WDZ.
My 2nd Cousin, Lee Lynch, was the Coles County
Reporter, and had a regular news broadcast on the station concerning
news and personalities of Coles County.
Visit my Radio Website to find out more radio
history and information about old-time radio.