am learned


WCCW (AM) is one side of a radio combo in Traverse City, Michigan. It is owned by the Midwestern Broadcasting group, which to this day includes the family members of its original partners from the early 1940s, the Biedermans, Kikers and McClays. Midwestern acquired WCCW AM/FM, its long-time "local competitor" in 1996. The highly-rated FM station is Oldies 107.5, while the AM station is one of the lowest-rated Arbitron-wise in the area.

WCCW today carries a sports talk radio format, and is the Traverse City affiliate of ESPN Radio, plus airs ESPN shows Mike and Mike in the Morning and The Dan Patrick Show. It also airs play-by-play coverage of the Detroit Tigers.


WCCW, whose call letters stand for "Cherry Capitol of the World", signed on in 1960 under the ownership of John Anderson, a former Midwestern employee who ventured out on his own with contemporary ideas and skills learned working for Midwestern as a salesperson in the 1950s.

On November 1, 1967, WCCW added an FM sister at 92.1, which broadcast with 6,000 watts. It was Traverse City's first late night broadcast signal, as both WTCM and WLDR signed off at 11 p.m. This FM originally had an automated beautiful music format.

In the beginning, WCCW-AM was an MOR-formatted station, but added Top 40 afternoon programming in the mid-1960s to appeal to the younger crowd. It was Northwest Michigan's first truly contemporary format, even though in later-dayparts, and was soon followed by WVOY-AM in Charlevoix about 1974.

For most of the 1970s, the WCCW air staff was:

  • Les Foerster - morning
  • Michael Bradford - Mid-days
  • Michael O'Shea - Afternoons
  • Phill Orth - Evenings
  • Carolyn Beaudette - Overnights

Jerry Meyer and Bob Burian were both involved in management along with owner John Anderson. Meyer later became operations manager at WTCM in 1976 and went on to co-own Murrays Boats & Motors, was the long time news anchor for TV 9 & 10, and made a run for state representative. LD Greilick and Michael Bradford were the stations engineers. Bradford went on to establish WBNZ-FM in Beulah-Benzonia.

"Radio Double C" also had Northern Michigans earliest avante-garde modern rock programming late at night with the "Pen Ultimate" radio show hosted by Al Vasquez ("Alan White") and Carolyn Beaudette, and was the home of Traverse Citys first "real" production agency for radio commercials.

By that time, WCCW-AM was carrying the Music of Your Life standards format. Anderson, who still lives to this day, sold WCCW Radio to the Fabiano Brothers of Mt. Pleasant, a well-known beer distributor. At this time, the station was housed in an old converted funeral home next door to the Cherry County Playhouse, sharing quarters with a local chapter of Planned Parenthood as the upstairs tenants. The Fabianos brought in Paul Binsfeld, son of former Lieutenant Governor, and State Senator Connie Binsfeld, to launch the FM side of the facility as WMZK, The Bay's Music. Binsfeld brought his morning man, Mark Blackwell from WSOO/WSUE in Sault Ste. Marie and started an adult contemporary music format which enjoyed some success. The line up included Steve Cook mornings, Ron Jolly middays, Mark Blackwell (who used the stage name Murphey) afternoon drive, and Jim Moriarty evenings. The AM side, still known as WCCW, continued the "Music of Your Life" format using an antiquated automation system setup up in what was once the viewing room of the funeral home.

Other Broadcasters associated with WCCW in and after its hey-day were Lucien Jaye ("The Boogie Man"), Dave Elliot (later with WTCM 14-T) and Dave Walker (now the longtime news anchor at TV 7&4). Steve Cook went on to be Production Director for WTCM, Mark (Murphey) Blackwell is currently Production Director at WJR Detroit, Ron Jolly became morning man on WTCM-AM, and Jim Moriarty faded into obscurity.

In 1996, the Fabianos sold WCCW combo Radio to Ross Biederman for $3 million, who made drastic improvements to the stations. He moved the stations out of the old Michigan Theatre building on Front St. to a Today Show-esque window studio next in the former Midwestern Cablevision building next door to WTCM.

In 2001, after years of airing some type of MOR format, this time being ABC's "Stardust" ("Unforgettable Music") format, WCCW-AM flipped to sports radio as ESPN Radio 1310 AM. The station airs most of ESPN's schedule.

WCCW-AM is currently a 15 kW days and 7.5 kW nights station. This upgrade was approved in May 2006. With the power boost and upgrade to a full-time signal, it allows Midwestern Broadcasting to air more sports on their AMs, as some speculate that WCCW-AM may become an affiliate of Detroit Pistons basketball. Currently, 1310 is a secondary affiliate to Detroit Tigers baseball to allow WTCM-AM to air Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity.


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