This is the WTMJ History section of
The Broadcast Archive

Maintained by: Barry Mishkind - The Eclectic Engineer
Last update: 3/20/06

A Pictorial Tour of WTMJ

WTMJ, owned by the Milwaukee Journal is among the oldest stations in the country. It holds a couple of interesting places in history. It is among those former regional channels that managed to increase to 50 kW operation. It is among the first AM stations to run IBOC. And it was the recipient of protection from the first Directional Antenna used on the broadcast band in the US. (It was 1932 when WFLA-WSUN in Tampa, FL, installed the first DA to protect WTMJ.) Fortunately, a lot of the history of this pioneer station has been preserved, and for that we give a tip of our hat to the fine folks at WTMJ!

Andy Laird, VP Engineering of Journal Broadcast, kindly (and proudly) showed off the site.

WTMJ has six antennas now, double the previous number. This permitted the station operation to increase from 5 kW to 50 kW, daytime, and to 10 kW at night.

Of course, visiting the site in a snowstorm makes it just slightly more difficult to count them all.

Inside it was much warmer!
A spacious transmitter room provides good access to the DX-50 Main, DX-10 auxiliary, and the rest of the equipment.
The site is well laid out and was a pioneer in introducing digital transmissions. The transmitter looks into a very nicely designed load which is very wide and flat, and the result is a digital signal that is easily receivable in Chicago.
A nice touch is sufficient room is provided to do the job, and even to hold a meeting ... or just relax. 
Of course, one of the real joys is to see a station that remembers its roots. WTJM's caretakers have been exemplary in this regard. In fact, there is something of a radio museum on site:


From early microphones, processors, and monitors to the documentation of the station, WTMJ's transmitter site has a lot of interesting things to see. 
Here Andy shows of one of the early remote microphone radios. Just think, your cell phone is probably half the size of the speaker alone!

There are old microphones, a mod monitor, conelrad unit, a symmetripeak  ... even an early TV camera!
Some of the tubes from earlier transmitters have been saved to show.
And more. WTMJ history is literally all over the place!

Making sure all the licenses and other documentation is available fills a large board.

There is even a picture of the old site, with the three self-supporting towers that served WTMJ for many years.

A quick peek back at the studio

The WTMJ control room
OK ... so there is some history in the back of the control room, too!
Master Control with Gary Timm and Andy Laird presiding.

We continue to search for more of the earliest pictures of WTMJ's operation.