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AM High power broadcasting stations in the USA. Which do you listen to?


Well-Known Member
Oct 30, 2020
I can remember many many moons ago as a young boy listing to WLS in Chicago. Seems like it's one I could always receive no matter if it was in an old pickup or little transistor radio.
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Well-Known Member
Jul 17, 2009
In the 60s, Wolfman Jack from the "X" just over the border from Del Rio.
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Sr. Member
Apr 25, 2017
In the mid 50’s I grew up in the corn fields, 60 miles south of Chicago listening to WLS. Kids with their 7 transistor AM only radios sang along on my bus to such hits as Honeycomb and The Banana Boat Song. Later as time moved into mid 60’s, WLS played the “Chickenman” radio series. He's Everywhere, He's Everywhere!! For most teens, time stopped for a moment whatever an episode was played. A copy of “White's Radio Log” that I found on the back pages of an Electronics magazine was my AM radio DX source during my early childhood.


Jun 15, 2009
The maximum radio power for AM in America is 50,000 watts and several operate with that power. In 1934 the 50,000 clear channel station WLW in Cincinnati went on the air for five years with 500,000 watts. The FCC felt one station that could reach every radio in the country was advisable . The huge specially built transmitter had tubes as tall as a human that generated so much heat they had to be cooled with water from WLW's own lake. The experiment ended in 1939 but the transmitter is still there at the WLW transmitting location ready to fire up a half million watts (enough power to service a city of 100,000 persons).
I have done some work at the WLW transmitter site. Some of the 500,000 watt amplifier is still there, but it is far from operational. The Pyrex cooling tubes are gone, as well as the cooling pond. I think the modulation transformer is gone, (was full of PCB) as well as a lot of other components.

The old Western Electric 50,000 watt tube transmitter has been kept operational and was last used New Year's Eve 1999 in case Y2K caused disruptions with the solid state Harris now used.

I was fortunate to be given an impromptu tour several years ago by the then broadcast engineer. There is a lot of history there.


Sr. Member
Jun 29, 2012
Connecticut mobile
News Radio 88 now 880 WCBS NYC. When I was little I built a Chrystal radio and this was the only station I could hear. I still listen to it today when I get tired of political crap and the same songs over and over the the FM dial. When I am working far away out of state its cool to tune it in at night and get that connection back home. Clear channel full time 50KW.

When I am up north I like to listen to 1030 WBZ out of Boston. Another old clear channel station from 1921.
The original towers at the Weston House plant where just knocked down 11 years ago. TimTron and some other hams set up a special station on them before they where knocked down.
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