Radio Station WCAM

This abandoned building in Pyne Poynt Park was for many years the site of the transmitter for radio station WCAM. Photo taken during the summer of 2003.

Camden’s First Radio Station

Camden’s oldest radio station dates back to September 1925 when it signed on as WFBI at 1270 AM under the ownership of Robert Galvin. The city government became involved soon afterward. The official dedication of the now municipally-owned radio station, rechristened WCAM, occurred in Convention Hall, occurred on March 29, 1926. The station moved, sometime after 1931, to the 17th floor of the new City Hall Building at South 6th and Federal Street. Eventually it was permanently assigned 1310 on the AM band as its frequency.

WCAM changed frequencies several times over the next fifteen years. On April 26, 1927, the station was located at 890 AM. Soon afterwards, on June 15, 1927, it changed again to 1340 AM. Another changed occurred on November 11, 1928, when the station moved to 1280 AM and shared time with Trenton station WIMG and Asbury Park station WJLK. The final change took place on March 29, 1941, when WCAM moved to its current position of 1310 AM, where it briefly shared time with Philadelphia station WTEL.

By the early 1930s the city leased the station to private firms to operate it. Rud Priesendanz Jr. organized the Broadcast Advertising Company to run the station, beginning in 1932. The Broadcast Advertising Company operated the station through at least 1938. Priesendanz had passed away by this time, however, elements in city government had wanted to sell the station off, and eventually this took place.

During the late 1920s and early 1930s air personalities included Jim Howell and Dan McConnell, both of whom worked in city government, not surprising as the station was then municipally owned. Frederick W. Caperoon was musical director of WCAM in the spring and summer of 1933.

At some point in time WCAM built its transmitter building and antenna tower at the northwest corner of the Pyne Point Park in North Camden.

In the 1960’s, WCAM called themselves “All Request Radio.” Some popular DJ’s who got their start during this time included Gene Hart, Kal Rudman, Jerry Blavat, hy lit, Pat Delsi, Jack Lamar, Bob Mara, Rick Anthony, Charlie Mills, Chuck Gagliardi, and Gene Arnold.

In 1970, for a period of about 9 months, Jerry Blavat became PD and featured Top 40 in the daytime, calling themselves “The Little Giant.” On September 4, 1980, calls were changed to WSSJ.

The station was run by Pat Delsi and included DJ’s Bob Pantano and Pat Delsi’s son, Dave Michaels. In the early to mid 1990’s, WSSJ was mostly an automated operation featuring a wide variety of music. Barry Reisman played Jewish music on Sunday afternoons, while Fred Handy had a gospel music show Sunday mornings. Phil Casden interned with Fred Handy in late 1996 and early 1997 before moving to WNJC-AM 1360 in Sewell NJ.

In 1998, WSSJ was acquired by Mega Communications and began a Spanish Oldies format as “Classica 1310.” On August 31, 2001, calls were changed to WEMG and 1310 began to simulcast the Spanish CHR programming from WEMG-FM, 104.9 in Egg Harbor City.

When 104.9 switched to Smooth Jazz in 2003, 1310 remained as a stand-alone station as “Mega 1310.”


Photos


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