WDZ RADIO, TUSCOLA, ILLINOIS

THE NATION'S THIRD COMMERCIAL RADIO STATION

CENTRAL ILLINOIS ENTERTAINMENT SOURCE

PART B

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124.

A MINI-HISTORY OF WDZ, TUSCOLA, ILLINOS

1917-1921 as 9JR

1922-1949 as WDZ, when in Tuscola, Illinois

WDZ started in 1917 in the office of the James Bush Grain Elevator Company in Tuscola, Illinois. The original call sign was 9JR and the original intent of the station was to broadcast grain prices, making it the first radio station to do so. The station later started mixing some music in with the agricultural reports. In January, 1922, the call letters WDZ were assigned to the station.

The radio station's power was increased to 1000 watts in 1939 with a new 252-foot (77 m) tower. During that time, WDZ aired remote broadcasts that were unique for a rural station. The station started the use of remote broadcasting equipment which included a truck called the "WDZ White Relay Truck", equipped with a 100-watt transmitter to relay broadcasts from area locations, and some two-watt, battery operated transmitters that could be worn on the backs of assistants when a program originated from remote sites. The station was on 1020 kHz in 1941, but changed to 1050 kHz, and has remained there since.

1050 kHz has been a Mexican Clear Channel since 1941 (and was a U.S. Clear Channel before 1941). American stations operating on Mexican Clear Channel frequencies were restricted to 1,000 watts and had to sign-off at sunset, until the "Rio" treaty took effect in the late 1980s. Before 1941, 1020 kHz (WDZ's previous dial position) was a U.S. Clear Channel and that, too, was restricted. After "Rio" took effect, it was a simple matter for WDZ to add night operations with the maximum power permitted, 250 watts. Today the station is still operating with its pre-"Rio" maximum daytime power and its post-"Rio" minimum nighttime power. Anything more than 1,000 watts days and 250 watts nights very likely would require installation of a directional antenna system at great capital expense. WDZ is diplexed (i.e., it uses the very same vertical radiator) with co-owned 1340 WSOY.

In 1949, the station moved from Tuscola to Decatur.

Information from Wikipedia at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WDZ#History

 


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