|Broadcast area||Grand Rapids metropolitan area|
|Branding||NewsRadio WOOD 1300 and 106.9 FM|
|Affiliations||CBS News Radio|
Fox News Radio
Compass Media Networks
Grand Rapids Griffins
Michigan IMG Sports Network
Michigan Radio Network
|WBCT, WBFX, WMAX-FM, WSNX-FM, WSRW-FM, WTKG|
First air date
|September 16, 1924|
Former call signs
Call sign meaning
|Furnwood Broadcasting; station funded originally by furniture manufacturers|
WOOD (1300 kHz) is a commercial AM radio station in Grand Rapids, Michigan, serving West Michigan and owned by iHeartMedia, Inc. It has a news/talk radio format and is simulcast on co-owned WOOD-FM at 106.9 MHz. The studios and offices are at 77 Monroe Center in Downtown Grand Rapids. Following a local weekday drive time show, "West Michigan's Morning News," the station carries nationally syndicated talk shows from Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, Dave Ramsey, Joe Pags, "The Clay Travis and Buck Sexton Show" and "Coast to Coast AM with George Noory." Most hours begin with an update from Fox News Radio.
WOOD is powered at 20,000 watts. To protect other stations on 1300 AM from interference, it uses a directional antenna with a four-tower array. The transmitter is on 146th Avenue SE in Moline.
WOOD is the oldest radio station in West Michigan. It signed on the air on September 16, 1924. The call sign was WEBK and it was a marketing tool for the C.J. Litscher Company, a seller of radio receivers. The station's original owners were backed by the Furniture Manufacturers Association of Grand Rapids. At their suggestion, the station became WOOD on January 13, 1926, since wood is required for crafting furniture.
It broadcast on Sundays and Wednesdays at 1170 kilocycles during its early years in order to avoid interference with stations in Chicago, Detroit and Cleveland, all of which could easily be heard in West Michigan.
It went through numerous owners over the years before being bought by John King (known as John Kunsky until 1936) and George Trendle, owners of WXYZ in Detroit, in 1930. They bought Grand Rapids' second radio station, WASH, a year later; the two stations had shared the same frequency, for four years. The station operated as WOOD-WASH (with WASH on the air during the day and WOOD at night) until 1942, when the WASH license was dropped. At about the same time, WOOD's broadcast power was increased from 500 watts to 5,000 watts.
WOOD was an affiliate of the NBC Red Network. It carried NBC's schedule of dramas, comedies, news, sports, game shows, soap operas and big band broadcasts during the "Golden Age of Radio."
In 1946, the fledgling American Broadcasting Company (ABC) bought the King-Trendle stations, but the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) forced ABC to sell WOOD since it had been an NBC affiliate since 1935. After a two-year dispute between competing buyers, the station was finally sold to Harry Bitner, former general manager of the Hearst newspaper chain, in 1948.
Since 1951, the station's mascot has been Willie Wood, a cartoon woodpecker, tying in with the station's call letters. Also in 1951, a subsidiary of Bitner's company acquired Channel 8 for $1.37 million. That station had been called WLAV-TV but switched its call sign to WOOD-TV. In February 1962, an FM station was also added, 105.7 WOOD-FM. For the first few years, it simulcast WOOD 1300 but later took on a beautiful music format and today is adult contemporary WSRW-FM.
Time Inc. bought WOOD-AM-FM-TV in 1957 and owned it until 1972. As network programming moved from radio to television in the 1950s and 60s, WOOD began a full service, middle of the road format of popular adult music, talk, news and sports. In the 1980s, the talk programming increased and music was reduced, as most music listening switched from AM radio to the FM dial. By the 1990s, the station had evolved into a full time News/Talk format.
Clear Channel Communications bought WOOD and its sister stations in 1996. In 2011, Clear Channel's 106.9 WMUS-FM and its country music format came to an end. The station flipped to a simulcast, allowing its listeners to hear the station either on WOOD 1300 AM or WOOD-FM 106.9. Clear Channel switched its name to iHeartMedia in 2014. WOOD-AM-FM can be heard on the iHeartRadio platform and app.
WOOD Radio has received "Station of the Year" honors from the Michigan Association of Broadcasters for 2012, 2013, 2015, and 2016, as part of the Broadcast Excellence Awards in the Commercial Radio - Market 2 division. In earning "2012 Station of the Year", WOOD received numerous news and programming awards, with five entries receiving 'Best In Category' recognition, and three receiving 'Merit' recognition.
WOOD's program director Phil Tower leads an airstaff that includes an all-news morning program, West Michigan's Morning News with Steve Kelly, Bret Bakita, Lauren Smith, and Rick Albin. West Michigan Live follows with host Justin Barclay. The rest of the day is filled by: Glenn Beck, The Clay Travis and Buck Sexton Show, Sean Hannity, Dave Ramsey, Joe Pags and Coast to Coast AM with George Noory. Most of WOOD Radio's weekday lineup comes from iHeart's Premiere Networks.
Weekend programs and hosts include: "Leo Laporte: The Tech Guy," Gordon Deal, "The Weekend with Michael Brown," Bill Cunningham and "Jill On Money."
WOOD Radio's local newsroom provides local, regional and national news every day of the week, plus world and national news from Fox News Radio. It also utilizes reports and breaking news coverage through an ancillary affiliation with CBS News Radio.
WOOD Radio is the Grand Rapids home of University of Michigan Wolverines football and basketball. It also carries Grand Rapids Griffins ice hockey.