Requested Broadcast Calls of the 1920s

Last revision: Oct. 25, 2021

Most calls from the 1920s were assigned from an alphabetical sequence, and were not requested. Some famous sequentially-assigned calls are KDKA, WBBM, WCAE, WCAO, WCAU, WCBM, WDAE, WDAF, WDBJ, WDBO, WEAF, WFAA, WHAM, WHAS, WIBG, WJAR, WJAS, WKBW, WMAQ, WOAI, WQAM, WSAI, WSAZ, and WTAM. Notice that many of the "W" sequential calls had an "A" as the third letter; many of the "K" sequential calls began with "KD" or "KF." (In the early 1920s, calls beginning with "KA," "KB," and "KC" were not allocated to the U. S.)

It seems likely that almost every requested four-letter call of the 1920s is listed here because the four-letter alphabetical sequence is very easy to follow through the 1920s and the requested four-letter calls stand out. However, the three-letter calls were not issued in a recognizable order, and calls that were specially requested do not stand out. So there may well be some three-letter requested calls not on this list.

See the bottom of this page for additional information on KMOX, KPRC, WWJ, KFWB, and WLBL.

The following appear to be the earliest requested or arranged calls:

KOPDetroitpolice departmentMarch 1922
WLAW*New Yorkpolice departmentSeptember 1922
WWAC*WacoWacoOctober 1922
WRCWashingtonsee belowJune 1923
WCAPWashingtonChesapeake and PotomacJune 1923

*WLAW and WWAC were actually issued in the alphabetical sequence, but still appear to have been intentionally timed. WCAP was out of the alphabetical sequence, but nevertheless had had "A" as the third letter, as if it were in the sequence. See the information on WLBL at the bottom of the page.

The following calls have been left out of the main list because they seem more likely not to have been requested, with the slogans subsequently adopted to match them. However, comments are welcome. If KQV was a requested call, it would be the earliest requested call.

WEBEddie Bensonissued in April 1922
WMCMemphis Commercial Appealissued in January 1923
WOCWorld of ChiropracticFeb. 1922
KJSKing Jesus SavesMar. 1922
KSDSt. Louis Post-DispatchMar. 1922
WFIPhiladelphiaMar. 1922
WBSWorld's Best StoreMar. 1922
KQVKing of the Quaker Valley...

WAPIAuburnAlabama Polytechnic Institute
WBRCBirminghamBell Radio Corporation
WSFAMontgomerySouth's finest airport

KREPPhoenixArizona Republican (newspaper)
KTARPhoenixThe Arizona Republic
KPJMPrescottPrescott Journal-Miner
KVOATucsonVoice of Arizona

KLCNBlythevilleCharles Leo "Dutch" Lintzenich
and Courier-News
KUOAFayettevilleUniversity of Arkansas
KTHSHot SpringsCome to Hot Springs
KLRALittle RockLittle Rock, Arkansas
KBTMParagouldW. J. Beard's Temple of Music

KELWBurbankEarl L. White
KFWBHollywoodWarner Brothers (?) see note below
KMICInglewoodUniversal Microphone Co.
(co-owned and co-located)
KFONLong BeachEchophone Radio Shop
(may have been sequentially assigned)
KFOXLong BeachFox Movie Co.
KECALos AngelesEarle C. Anthony
KEJKLos AngelesEarl J. Krause, owner
KFSGLos AngelesFour-Square Gospel
KRLOLos Angeles?
KNRCLos AngelesKierulff 'n' Ravenscroft Co.
KTBILos AngelesThe Bible Institute of Los Angeles
KMTRLos AngelesK. M. Turner Radio Corporation
KPLALos AngelesPacific Los Angeles (?)
KRCALos AngelesRadio Corporation of America (temporary
KGHQOaklandGeneral Headquarters (?) (temporary
KGOOaklandGeneral Electric Oakland (?)
KTABOaklandTenth Avenue Baptist Church
KPPCPasadenaPasadena Presbyterian Church
KPSNPasadenaPasadena Star News
KFSDSan Diego? San Diego (licensee was Airfan
Radio Corporation)
KGBSan DiegoGeorge Bowles
KGGCSan FranciscoGolden Gate Church
KGTTSan FranciscoGlad Tidings Tabernacle
KJBSSan FranciscoJulius Brunton & Sons
KREGSanta AnaOrange County Register (newspaper)
KWTCSanta AnaCome West to California (?)
KSMRSanta MariaSanta Maria Valley R. R. Co.
KPWFWestminsterPacific-Western Broadcasting
Federation (Thomas White believes
this station never went on the air)

KPOFBelleview CollPillar of Fire

WICCBridgeportIndustrial Capital of Conn.
WCONDanburyConnecticut (?)
WTICHartfordTravelers Insurance Co.
WCACMansfieldConnecticut Agricultural College
WDRCNew HavenDoolittle Radio Corporation


WCAPWashingtonChesapeake & Potomac Telephone Co.
WMALWashingtonM. A. Leese Optical Co.
WRCWashingtonWashington, Radio Corporation of
America or Washington Radio Corporation or
Washington Radio Center/Central (?)
WRHFWashingtonWashington Radio Hospital Fund

WFLABoca RatonFlorida
WFHHClearwaterFort Harrison Hotel
WFLAClearwaterWest Florida
WGHBClearwaterGeorge H. Bowles Developments
WRUFGainesvilleUniversity of Florida
WIODMiami BeachWonderful Isle of Dreams
WMBFMiami BeachWonderful Miami Beach Florida
WOCBOrlando? (licensee was Orlando Broadcasting
WCOAPensacolaWonderful City of Advantages
WSISSarasotaWinter is Summer in Sarasota
WSUNSt. Petersburgsee note below

WTHSAtlantaAtlanta Technological High School
WGSTAtlantaGeorgia School of Technology
WTOCSavannahWelcome to Our City or The Ocean City
WTFIToccoaToccoa Falls Institute

KIDIdaho FallsIdaho
KSEIPocatelloSouth East Idaho

WORDBataviaWord (Peoples Pulpit Assn.)
KYWAChicagoTo correspond to the call KYW
WBCNChicagoWorld's Best Community Newspaper
WCFLChicagoChicago Federation of Labor
WCRWChicagoClinton R. White
WEBHChicagoEdgewater Beach Hotel
WENRChicagoE. N. Rauland
WEDCChicagoEmil Denemark Cadillac
WFKBChicagoFrancis K. Bridgman
WHFCChicagoHotel Flanders
WLTSChicagoLane Technical High School
WMAQChicago? (call was sequentially assigned
but may have been requested for
William A. Quinn, publisher of the
Chicago Daily News
WMBBChicagoWorld's Most Beautiful Ballroom (Trianon
Ball Room)
WMBIChicagoMoody Bible Institute of Chicago
WOBBChicago? (perhaps too early for a
sequential WOB- call?)
WPCCChicagoWe Preach Christ Crucified
WGNChicagoWorld's Greatest Newspaper (Chicago
WLSChicagoWorld's Largest Store (Sears, Roebuck
& Co.)
WSBCChicagoWorld Storage Battery Company
WHTDeerfieldMayor William Hale Thompson
WSOADeerfield? Ray Soat, founder of National
Radio Advertising Co.
WCEEElginCharles E. Erbstein
WLIBElginLiberty Weekly
WEHSEvanstonEvanston Township High School
WCLSJolietWill County's Largest Store
WJJDMooseheartJames J. Davis
WGESOak ParkWorld's Greatest Electrical School
(Coyne Electrical & Trade School)
WOCGSycamoreWatch our Church (or City) Grow (see below)
WPEPWaukeganPep (energetic, or, in music, up-tempo)
WLBIWenonaWenona Legion Broadcasters Inc.
WSWSWooddaleS. W. Straus and Co.

WCMACulverCulver Military Academy
WGBFEvansvilleG. B. Finke
WCWKFort WayneChester W. Keen
WGLFort WayneWorld's Greatest Loudspeaker (Magnavox)
WOWOFort WayneWayne Offers Wonderful Opportunities
WJKSGaryJohnson Kennedy Radio Corporation
WHOGHuntingtonWatch Huntington, Opportunity’s Gateway
WSBTSouth BendSouth Bend Tribune
WBOWTerre HauteBanks of Wabash Broadcasting Assn.
WRPITerre HauteRose Polytechnic Institute
WRBCValparaisoWorld Redeemed by Christ

KWCRCedar RapidsKeep watching Cedar Rapids
WMTCedar RapidsWaterloo Morning Tribune
KOILCouncil BluffsMona Motor Oil Co.
KWLCDecorah(Norwegian) Luther College
WHODes Moinesperhaps the word who,
perhaps We Help Others,
perhaps not a requested call
WSUIIowa CityState University of Iowa
KWUCLeMarsWestern Union College
KTNTMuscatineKnow The Naked Truth
KMAShenandoahEarl May, nursery owner
KSCJSioux CitySioux City Journal

KFBIAbileneKansas Farmers and Bankers Insurance Co.
KFJCJunction CityJunction City
KFKULawrenceKansas University (?)
WRENLawrenceJenny Wren Co. flour mill
KSACManhattanKansas State Agricultural College
KFHWichitaKansas' Finest Hotel

WCKYCovingtonCovington, Kentucky
WFIWHopkinsvilleWhitest Flour in the World (Acme
Mills Inc.)

KWKHKennonwoodW. K. Henderson Iron Works and Supply Co.
WDSUNew OrleansDe Soto Hotel, New Orleans States, Joseph R. Uhalt
WNORNew OrleansNew Orleans Radio (temporary license)
WOWLNew OrleansOwl Battery Co.
WSMBNew OrleansSaenger Amusement Co. & Maison Blanche Co.
KSBAShreveportShreveport Broadcasters Association
KRACShreveportCaddo Radio Club (?)
KRMDShreveportRobert M. Dean
KTBSShreveportTristate Broadcasting Co.
KTSLShreveportShreveport, Louisiana (?)
KWEAShreveportWilliam E. Antony

WCSHPortlandCongress Square Hotel Co.

WSMDSalisburySalisbury Maryland
WBESTakoma ParkBliss Electrical School

WASNBostonAir Shopping News (the Shepard Stores)
WATTBostonwatt (Edison Electric Illuminating Co.)
WBISBostonBoston's Information Source (was supposed
to be an all-shopping station)
WEEIBostonEdison Electric Illuminating Co.
WMESBostonMassachusetts Educational Society
WNABBostonTo correspond to co-owned WNAC Boston (?)
WSSHBostonStrangers' Sabbath Home
WLFQChelseaMayor Lawrence F. Quigley (temporary
WLOEChelseaLoews Theatre
WRSCChelseaRadio Shop of Chelsea
WEPSGloucesterEthel Pearl Stevenson, maiden name of
owner John J. Matheson's wife
WLEXLexingtonLexington Air Stations Co.
WBETMedfordBoston Evening Transcript
WARCMed. HillsideAmerican Radio & Research Corporation
WNBHNew BedfordNew Bedford Hotel
WRESQuincyWollaston Radio Electric Shop
WAGSSomervilleWillow Avenue Garage Station
WAITTauntonA. H. Waite & Co.
WKBEWebsterK & B Electric
WBSOWellesley HillsRoger Babson's Statistical
WCTSWorcesterC. T. Sherer Co.
WCUWWorcesterClark University of Worcester
WTAGWorcesterWorcester Telegram and Gazette

WBCMBay CityBay City, Michigan
WSKCBay CityWorld's Star Knitting Co.
WEMCBerrien SpringsEmmanuel Missionary College
WBMHDetroitBraun's Music House
WDXLDetroitDXL Radio Corporation
KOPDetroitDetroit Police Department "cop" (?)
WGHPDetroitGeorge Harrison Phelps
WMBCDetroitMichigan Broadcasting Co.
WTHODetroitW. J. Thomas Broadcasting Co.
WWPRDetroit? (perhaps "police radio"; licensee
was the Detroit Police Department)
WJAFFerndaleJ. A. Fenburg Radio Co
WTHSFlintFlint Senior High School
WFDFFlintFrank D. Fallain
WASHGrand Rapidswash (Baxter Launderers & Cleaners)
WBDCGrand RapidsBaxter's Dry Cleaning
WOODGrand Rapidswood, for the furniture industry
WREOLansingReo Motor Car Co.
WMPCLapeerFirst Methodist Protestant Church
WSMHOwossoShattuck Music House
WJRPontiacJewett Radio and Phonograph Co.
WAFDPort HuronWe are Ford dealers
WAGMRoyal OakAlexander G. Miller, father of
station owner Robert Miller

WRHMFridleyRosedale Hospital music or messages (?)
WAMDMinneapolisWhere all Minneapolis dances
WDGYMinneapolisDr. George W. Young
WGMSMinneapolisGold Medal (Flour) Station
WGWYMinneapolisGeorge W. Young
WHDIMinneapolisWilliam Hood Dunwoody Industrial
WCCOSt. PaulWashburn-Crosby Co.
KSTPWestcottSt. Paul

WRECColdwaterWooten's Radio & Electric Co.
WCOCColumbusCrystal Oil Co.
WGCMGulfportGulf Coast Music Co.

KMBCIndependenceMidland Broadcasting Co. or Midland
Broadcast Central
KLDSIndependenceReorganized Church of Jesus Christ
of Latter Day Saints
KMJPKansas CityJournal Post (station perhaps
was never on the air)
KWKCKansas CityWilson Duncan Studios Kansas City
WEBSt. LouisL. A. "Eddie" Benson (?)
WSBFSt. LouisStix-Baer & Fuller

KFCCHelenaFirst Congregational Church
KUOMMissoulaUniversity of Montana

KMMJClay CenterM. M. Johnson Co.
KFABLincoln? (see note below)
KUPROmahaUnion Pacific Railway (temporary license,
portable, moving train)
KOCHOmahaOmaha Central High School
WOAWOmahaWoodmen of the World
WOWOmahaWoodmen of the World

WDCHHanoverDartmouth College, Hanover
WCOMManchesterCity of Manchester
WBRLTiltonBooth Radio Laboratories

WCAPAsbury ParkCity of Asbury Park or We Charm Asbury Park
WDWMAsbury ParkDonald W. May
WPGAtlantic CityWorld's Playground
WCAMCamdenCity of Camden
WCDACliffsideCorriere d'America, Italian newspaper
WPAPCliffsidePalisades Amusement Park
WHPPEnglewood CliffsHappy (?)
WCGULakewoodCharles G. Unger
WTRLMidland ParkTechnical Radio Laboratory
WBPINewarkWarner Brothers Pictures Inc.
WGCPNewarkGrand Central Palace
WMVMNewark? (licensee was Edward J. Malone)
WNJNewarkWireless New Jersey
WODAPatersonO'Dea Temple of Music (Richard E. O'Dea)
WBMSUnion City?

WGBSAstoriaGimbel Brothers store
WRSTBay ShoreRadiotel of the Sunrise Trail
WINRBay ShoreThe winner
WTRCBrooklynTwelfth Assembly District Regular
Republican Club
WARSBrooklynAmateur Radio Specialty Co.
WHAPBrooklynWe hold America Protestant
WLTHBrooklynLeverich Towers Hotel
WSGHBrooklynSaint George Hotel
WBRSBrooklynBrooklyn Radio Station (?)
WCLBBrooklynCity of Long Beach
WBBCBrooklynBrooklyn Broadcasting Corporation
WFRLBrooklynFlatbush Radio Laboratories
WKENBuffaloKenmore (?)
WSVSBuffaloSeneca Vocational School
WGOPFlushingGrand Old Party
WGHSGardenvilleGardenville High School (temporary
WCOHGreenvilleCity of Homes, the nickname of Yonkers
WLCIIthacaLutheran Association of Ithaca NY
WMRJJamaicaMerrick Radio, Jamaica (as in Merrick Blvd.)
WOCLJamestownWe're On Chatauqua Lake
WMBCNew York? (licensee was Malbrook Co. [Everett
M. Roeder])
WBNYNew YorkBaruchrome Corporation, Sydney Baruch
WECONew YorkWestern Electric Company
WJUGNew York?
WLAWNew Yorklaw (Police Department, City of New York)
WLWLNew YorkWe listen, we learn
WMCANew YorkHotel McAlpin
WMHANew YorkYoung Men's Hebrew Association of
Washington Heights
WMSGNew YorkMadison Square Garden Broadcast
WNYCNew YorkNew York City
WOKONew York?
WPCHNew YorkPark Central Hotel
WPUBNew YorkPublic Broadcasting Corp. (call was
requested by WMSG but never used)
WRNYNew YorkRadio News Station New York or Roosevelt
New York
WSDANew YorkSeven Day Adventist Church
WAOKOzone ParkA-OK?
WPOEPatchoguePatchogue Order of Elks
WABCRichmond HillAtlantic Broadcasting Co.
WAHGRichmond HillAlfred H. Grebe
WBOQRichmond HillBorough of Queens
WGMURichmond Hillfor Dr. Mu, company spokes-character
WRMURichmond HillMU-1 yacht, for Dr. Mu, company
WWGLRichmond Hill?
WHECRochesterHickson Electric Co.
WSOMWoodhavenHotel Somerset
WEVDWoodhavenEugene Victor Debs
WWRLWoodsideWoodside Radio Laboratories

WABCAshevilleAsheville Battery Co.
WWNCAshevilleWonderful Western North Carolina
WNRCGreensboroWayne Nelson’s RadioCasting
WPTFRaleighWe Protect The Family (Durham Life
Insurance Co.)
WRCORaleighWynne Radio Co.
WSJSWinston-SalemWinston-Salem Journal-Sentinel

KDLRDevils LakeLake Region or Devils Lake Region
KLPMMinotLeslie P. Maupin, owner

WADCAkronAutomobile Dealers Co.
WFJCAkronW. F. Jones Broadcasting
WJPWAshtabulaJ. P. Wilson
WKRCCincinnatiKodel Radio Corporation
WEARCleveland? (perhaps "tire wear," for
Goodyear Tires, or "ear")
WJAYClevelandbecause the President and G. M., J. P. Turner,
was known as “Jay,” and because almost all of
the members of the corporation that owned
WJAY came over from WJAZ
WAIUColumbusAmerican Insurance Union
WSMKDaytonStanley M. Krohn Jr.
WSROHamiltonWe sell radios only
WCSOSpringfieldWittenberg College of Springfield, Ohio

KVOOBristowVoice of Oklahoma
KOCWChickashaOklahoma College for Women
KCRCEnidChamplin Refining Co.

KOACCorvallisOregon Agricultural College
KOOSMarshfieldCoos County
KOINPortlandKnow Oregon's Independent Newspaper
(Portland News)
KROWPortland? [station never went on the air]
KWBSPortlandWilliam Berthold Schaeffer
KTBRPortlandBrown's Radio Shop [original licensee] or
Tell the World By Radio [slogan found on
letterhead 1927-28]
KLITPortlandLewis Irwin Thompson
KVEPPortlandVoice of East Portland
KWJJPortlandWilbur Jeffrey Jerman

WFBGAltoonaWilliam F. Gable Co.
WEDHErieErie Dispatch Herald
WCODHarrisburgWonderful City of Distribution
WHPHarrisburgHarrisburg, Pennsylvania
WMBSHarrisburgMacks Battery Service
WPRCHarrisburgWilson Printing & Radio Co.
WJACJohnstownJohnstown Automobile Company
WKJCLancasterKirk Johnson Co.
WELKPhiladelphiaElks Club (call adopted when station moved
to Elks Club, Broad and Vine Sts.)
WFKDPhiladelphiaFoulkrod Radio Engineering Co.
WHATPhiladelphia? (perhaps William Penn's hat?)
WLITPhiladelphiaLit Brothers
WPENPhiladelphiaPennsylvania or William Penn (?)
WPSWPhiladelphiaPhila. School of Wireless Telegraphy
WPSCState CollegePennsylvania State College
WBREWilkes-BarreBaltimore Radio Exchange
WALKWillow GroveAlbert A. Walker

KZIBManilaI. Beck

WDWFCranstonDutee Wilcox Flint
WLSICranstonLincoln Studios (Inc.)
WCOTOlneyville(Jacob) Conn's Olympia Theatre
WFCIPawtucketFrank Crook Inc.
WCWSProvidenceCharles W. Selen

WCSCCharlestonCharleston, South Carolina
WGTBColumbiaG. T. Barnes (station became WIS
for "Wonderful Iodine State" in 1930
and may never have used the WGTB call)

KSOOSioux FallsSioux
KUSDVermilionUniversity of South Dakota

WOPIBristolWatch Our Popularity Increase
WDODChattanoogaDynamo of Dixie
WFBCKnoxvilleFirst Baptist Church
WMCMemphisMemphis Commercial Appeal
WBAWNashvilleBraid Electric Co. and Waldrum Drug Co.
WDADNashvilleDad's Auto Accessories Inc.
WLACNashvilleLife & Casualty Insurance Co.
of Tennessee
WSMNashvilleWe Shield Millions (Natl. Life
and Accident Ins.)
WTNTNashvilleThe Nashville Tennesseean
WSIXSpringfield638 Tire & Vulcanizing Co.
WCFTTullahomaWe Care for Them (Knights of Pythias Orphanage)

KGRSAmarilloGish Radio Service
KUTAustinUniversity of Texas
KFDMBeaumontKall for Dependable Magnolene
KWWGBrownsvilleKome to the World's Winter Garden
KRLDDallasRadio Labs of Dallas
KTSMEl PasoTri-State Music Co.
WPATEl PasoSt. Patricks Cathedral
KSATFort WorthSouthern Air Transport
KTATFort WorthTexas Air Transport Broadcast Co.
KHMCHarlingenHarlingen Music Co.
KRGVHarlingenRio Grande Valley
KFVIHouston? 56th Cavalry Brigade (issued
KPRCHoustonsee below
KTRHHoustonThe Rice Hotel
KTUEHoustonUhalt Electric (?)
KTAPSan AntonioKum to America’s Playground
KGRCSan AntonioGene Roth & Co.
KTSASan AntonioTexas San Antonio
KFYOTexarkanaKome Find Your Opportunity (?)

KSLSalt Lake CitySalt Lake

WEHCEmoryEmory and Henry College
WTFFMt. Vernon HillsThe Fellowship Forum
WJSVMt. Vernon HillsJames S. Vance, general
manager of the Fellowship Forum
WGHNewport NewsWorld's Greatest Harbor
WNEWNewport NewsNewport News
WIVANorfolkWe're In Virginia (?)
WPABNorfolkPark Ave. Baptist Church
WRCVNorfolkRadio Corporation of Virginia
WBBLRichmondBible (?) (station was licensedto
Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church;
call was issued in the alphabetical
sequence but may have been requested)
WRVARichmondRichmond Virginia

KXROAberdeenRoy Olmstead
KVOSBellinghamVoice of Seattle
KWSCPullmanWashington State College
KOMOSeattleOwner liked the sound of the call
KTCLSeattleKnow The Charmed Land
KPCBSeattlePacific Coast Biscuit Co.
KRSCSeattleKelvinator Radio Sales Corporation
KOWWWalla WallaWalla Walla (?)

WMMNFairmontMatthew M. Neely
WHISBluefieldHugh Ike Shott
WWVAWheelingWheeling West Virginia

WAIZAppletonAppleton Irving Zuelke
WTMJBrookfieldThe Milwaukee Journal
WCLOCamp LakeCamp Lake Oaks
WKDRKenoshaKenosha Edward A. Dato (?)
WOMTManitowocMikadow Theatre
WGWBMilwaukeeGeorge W. Browne
WKAFMilwaukeeWood, Kesselman, and Ford
WSOEMilwaukeeSchool of Engineering of Milwaukee
WISNMilwaukeeThe Wisconsin News
WRJNRacineRacine Journal-News
WRRSRacineRacine Radio Station
WLBLStevens PointLand of Beautiful Lakes (see note below)

KFBIAirplaneFlying Broadcasters Inc.


KFAB in Lincoln, Nebraska, was apparently first assigned the call KFRR, but before going on the air requested a change of call to KFAB. A history of Nebraska radio stations says legend has it that the call stood for Keep Following a Buick. The station was owned by the Nebraska Buick Co. Information from Thomas White.


It has been suggestsed that KFWB was requested, to stand for “Four Warner Brothers” (Harry, Albert, Sam, and Jack) or “Keep Fighting Warner Brothers.” However, the call letters were issued in squential order between KFWA in Ogden, Utah, and KFWC in Upland, California. It seems that the most likely explanation is that the call letters were not requested, but that perhaps the clerk who issued the call letters might have noticed the availability of the call and arranged it to happen.

Jim Hilliker provided the following information to LARADIO.COM and this web site:

On Febraury 12, 1925, the Los Angeles Times reported:

Radioland will be able to tune in on a new broadcasting station beginning March 4, next. It will be station KWBC, now being installed at the Warner Brothers studio on Sunset Boulevard, at a cost of approximately $50,000. ... The station, named with the last three letters representing Warner Brothers Classics, will not be a commercial proposition, nor will it be used for the exploitation of Warner Brothers pictures, Sam Warner said yesterday.

The story also reported that other film studios would be invited to take over broadcasting certain nights each week, during the initial 6 to 11 p.m. airtime schedule.

The 1989 book Hollywood Be Thy Name by Cass Warner Sperling, Cork Millner, and Jack Warner, Jr., mentions KWBC, but incorrectly states that the Warners found “an existing radio station, KWBC, for sale.” The book claims that the head of the family, Ben Warner, told his son Sam Warner to change the call letters from KWBC to KFWB “because that stands for Keep Fighting, Warner Brothers.” However, government records indicate the call KWBC was never used and was not even requested. In newspaper radio columns and radio magazines of the day, no slogans with any combination of words derived from the KFWB call letters were ever used in print. Only slogans such as “Movieland-Lights, Camera, Action,” “The Hollywood Radio Station,” and “The Radio Station of the Motion Picture Industry” were used at the time in newspapers, trade magazines and on KFWB stationery.


Frank Absher writes: “The story of the KMOX calls Kirkwood MO Xmas is a legend but untrue. My research has shown the calls were essentially random after the station applied for KVSL and KMO, both of which were denied. The Xmas attribution came from the Kirkwood Mayor who proclaimed on the station's first broadcast from its transmitter on Christmas Eve that KMOX was Kirkwood's Christmas gift to the nation.”


The May 22, 1922, Houston Post-Dispatch has:

Station KPRC—“Kotton, Port, Rail Center”—the Houston Post-Dispatch’s big new 500-kilowatt broadcasting station, took the air in its official debut at 8 p.m. Saturday....

It has been claimed that the call stood for Houston Printing Co. or Port, rail, cotton.

The web site has:

Regarding the decision of Ross Sterling, Sr., to start a Post-Dispatch radio station, it's been reported in several sources that it was his son Ross, Jr., who was interested in radio and talked his dad into taking action. Boudreaux says Sterling had two sons, Walter and Ross, Jr., and both were interested in radio and convinced their dad to buy the 500 watt Westinghouse Electric transmitter. Additionally, when the decision had been made to proceed with the station after a period of mourning over the death of Ross, Jr., Sterling turned to his son Walter to name the station. He picked the call letters KPRC to stand for Kotton Port, Rail Center. I don't know that anyone has claimed for sure who picked the call letters though I had speculated it was Daniel's suggestion.


9XM Talking by Randall Davidson has on page 204:
With the change came a new set of call letters, WLBL for "Wisconsin, Land of Beautiful Lakes." The originally requested WLOL was not available because the federal government then required that all four-letter call signs have a B as their third letter. After all such call letter combinations were exhausted, C could be the third letter, and so on. Stevens Point officials were satisfied with the WLBL call letters and felt that "they form a good descriptive slogan for state publicity.

The reference for the above information is page 1 of the May 12, 1924, Stevens Point Daily Journal.

Thanks to Thomas White for this information.


A May 6, 1925, newspaper article reported that the St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church in Sycamore, Illinois, planned to set up a new station, and hoping for the call letters WOCG, standing for "Watch Our Church Grow."

However, the new station list in the Sept. 1, 1925, RSB showed WOCG in Sycamore, licensed to Triple Alliance Radio Station.

On Nov. 2, 1925, the RSB reported WJBN (which was alphabetically assigned) was the call for the newly station of St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church in Sycamore.

An Oct. 14, 1925, newspaper article reported that the church had requested WOCG, for "Watch our City Grow," but was was issued WJBN instead. WJBN was licensed on Oct. 6.

The Jan. 30, 1926, RSB reported that both WJBN and WOCG had been deleted.

Thanks to Thomas White for this information.


“Why stay up north?” was adopted as the official slogan about a month after the station signed on the air. However, I have seen nothing to explain why the call was chosen. It would seem that “sun” or “sunshine” could have been the reason.


It has been suggested that the call WWJ might have stood for W. J. Scripps. However, the evidence suggests strongly that although the change from WBL to WWJ was a requested change, the assigned call was chosen for phonetic reasons, and did not stand for anything.

WWJ: The Detroit News, issued by the station in 1922, explicitly states (p. 82): “WWJ is not a person. WWJ is The Detroit News radiophone station. WWJ is not the initials of any name. It is a symbol.”

In his 1989 autobiography, Radio's First Broadcaster, Elton Plant wrote (p. 36):

On March 6, 1922 the call letters became WWJ. WBL being scrapped as hard to understand when heard over the air. If you can imagine, we used to get mail addressed to WCL, WEL, WDL, WGL, WPL, almost everything but WBL.

Plant also (incorrectly) thought that the WWJ call letters came about as the result of some sort of contest.

“WWJ — Pioneer in Broadcasting,” by Cynthia Boye Young in the December, 1960 (Volume 44, #4) issue of Michigan History, has the following (p. 423):

The present call letters of the Detroit News station, WWJ, were adopted in March, 1922, replacing the first commercial call letters, WBL. The reason for the change is explained by Edwin Boyes. When the fad was raging to pick up distant stations,51 people often sent postcards to the transmitting station to inform them that their programs were being received at great distances. WBL was sent hundreds of cards, addressed not only as WBL, but as WGL, WDL and other combinations of letters that sounded the same. Interference on the air waves and noise on the receiving sets made it difficult to hear call letters clearly. Hence, it was decided that letters would have to be chosen that would be more easily recognized through the interference. This need was made known to radio inspector Edwards who in turn requested the commissioner of navigation to assign new call letters to the Detroit News station.52

The station had requested WKL or WWW. However, in a letter from Edwards dated March 6, 1922, they were informed:

You will also note your call has been changed from WBL to WWJ. This is about as good as we could do in the matter of call letters and we hope that you will find them satisfactory.

51Distance seemed to interest listeners more than quality of reception.

52Samuel W. Edwards to the commissioner of the Bureau of Navigation, February 1, 1922, in the Detroit News file.

(Edwin G. Boyes, mentioned in this recap, is listed as a WWJ engineer since 1922)

As noted above, the station requested either WWW or WKL. However, during this period call letters with the same letter repeated three times were not permitted, so WWW was not available. Also, according to the May, 1922 edition of The Consolidated Radio Call Book, WKL was already assigned to a ship called the Mexican. Station lists in the Call Book indicate that the following WW- calls were aleady assigned:

WWA China Am ss
WWC Western Wave Am ss
WWD Arcadia Am ss
WWE Manchuria Am ss
WWF City of Para Am ss
WWH Newport AM ss
WWI Pennsylvania Am ss Pacific Mail Tugboat Co.
WWK Western Queen Am ss
WWL San Jose Am ss (P. M. SS. Co.)
WWM San Juan Am ss
WWN Mongolia AM ss
WWP Ausable Am ss
WWQ Bellefonte, Pa., U. S. A.
WWR Rose City Am ss
WWS Alaska Am ss
WWU Hazelhurst Field, N. Y.
WWV Washington, D. C., U. S. A.
WWX Post Office Dept., Wash., D. C.
WWY Slocum Am ss

This left WWB, WWG, WWJ, WWO, WWT and WWZ as the only unassigned WW- calls, so it appears that Edwards just choose the most phonetically dstinct of the WW- calls that were still available.

This information on WWJ was contributed by Thomas H. White, creator of the United States Early Radio History web site.

The following people contributed to this page: Craig Adams, Jeffrey J. Allen, Byron Balentine, Jason Brose, George Brusstar, Fred Cantu, Robert J. Carpenter, Mike Carroll, Tom Conner, Jim Damm, Chris Davis Jim Douglass, Jim Ewer, Phil Galasso, Jim Godfrey, Donna Halper, Jim Hilliker, Dave Hough, Barry A. Howard, Jackie Howell, Bill Jaker, Paula Keiser, Todd Kosovich, Richard Kunz, Mike McKenna, Oscar Medina, Barry Mishkind, Nat Pendleton, Bob Pinsker, Rick Plummer, Nolan Porterfield, Mark Roberts, Douglas E. Smith, Willard Smith, Fred Studenberg, Dave Thompson, Chuck Till, Thomas White, Jim Workman, Paul Yacich, Jeff Korns, Jean Airey, and Dick (“Nitelinger”) Golembiewski, Gene Davis, and Jack Darden. If you can offer any information for this page, please contact Jeff Miller. (Please note that currently the page only includes call letters from the 1920s.)

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