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WJLB Control Room, 1942

Check out this all-RCA studio package

(click thumbnail)

This is a view of the WJLB and W49D Control Room in the Eaton Tower Building in Detroit, 1942 (now called the David Broderick Tower).

The 250-watt AM station went on the air as WMBC in 1926, later becoming WJLB when it was purchased by John Lord Booth in 1939. It’s still on the air today as WDTK.

W49D, Michigan’s second FM station, debuted in 1941 with 1,000 watts on 44.9 MHz, simulcasting the programs of WJLB. In 1945 it moved to 96.5 MHz in the “new” FM band, becoming WLOU and later WMZK. Today it is known as WJLB, commemorating the call sign of its original AM sister station.

In the photo we can see an all-RCA studio package, including the venerable RCA 76C console, an RCA 74B Junior Velocity ribbon microphone, RCA transcription turntables and a 77DX microphone in the adjoining performance studio.

On the wall is the famous Western Union synchronized clock that was found in most radio stations until 1971. The clock was synchronized with Naval Observatory time, and was reset at the top of the hour by a pulse delivered by phone line.

John Schneider is a lifelong radio history researcher. Write the author at [email protected]. This is one in a series of photo features from his collection; see more at the Roots of Radio tab under Columns at