Broadcasting From The Beautiful Shores of Tawas Bay!
John Carroll, Jr.
AM 1480 signed on the air
at Noon on September 27th, 1958. Today, over 50
years later, WIOS AM 1480 is still broadcasting from
studios on Meadow Road in Tawas City, Michigan.
2008 marked the 50th year of operation, and WIOS
celebrated its Golden Anniversary. Carroll Broadcasting, Incorporated has owned the 1,000 Watt radio station since 1968. Before purchasing WIOS, John Carroll Sr. owned WKMF AM 1470 in Flint, Michigan.
Prior to that he had been Vice President of Knorr Broadcasting and General
Manager of their flagship radio station in Detroit, WKNR (KEENER 13).
John Carroll Sr.
John Carroll Jr.
(President & General Manager) said, “It doesn’t seem like I've been here for
35 years out of the fifty…I guess that dates me….time truly does fly by.
The Tawases are a great place to live and bring up a family…I feel very
fortunate to be able to live In Northern Michigan and to be doing something
I truly enjoy! "
(Vice President & Sales Manager) said, "I agree with John, for me it’s been
24 years. It’s great to be a part of the active history of the radio
stations and a second generation business."
Carroll Broadcasting programs what is called
"Nostalgia" or "Adult Standards" on WIOS. Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Barry
Manilow etc. are part of the musical fare offered on our station along with
news from ABC, plus big band specials on the weekends and talk radio at
John Carroll Jr. (President & General Manager) said, "Over
the years we have seen many changes in radio. Equipment that was bulky and
all vacuum tubes, turntables, tape recorders, albums, 45’s, 78’s…are a thing
of the past. Now, everything is on computer and digital. All the
music, commercials and everything that would fill two rooms back in 1958 is
sitting on your desk in a computer."
About John Carroll Jr., (President & General Manager) came to the Tawases after
graduating from College. At that time WIOS was an AM daytime-only radio
station. Upon his arrival, plans were made to add an FM radio station. An
application was made to the FCC and granted in late 1979. WKJC FM 104.7 went
on the air that year at 50,000 Watts. Over the years the Carroll
added WKJZ FM 94.9 (50,000 Watts) in Alpena and
WQLB FM 103.3 (25,000 Watts)
in Tawas City. John's brother, Tim Carroll joined the family business in
1984 after he graduated from college and is now General Sales Manager.
East Tawas 1960's Postcard
This newspaper article from the Tawas City
Newspaper shows WIOS is slated to begin daily operations
September 27th, 1958. Click thumbnail for entire
article. Thanks to Neil Thornton for photographing these
In this article, WIOS is still
building its 1,000 Watt facilities just off Meadow Road, located outside of the Tawas City
limits, in early 1958.
Here the reader is informed that at least one of the two towers is being set
in place. Today, those towers are still standing after over 50 years at the
same studio location and work is slated, soon, on restoration efforts to
keep the towers in good, broadcast-ready condition for decades to come.
WIOS now operates on pre-sunrise and post-sunset power levels 24 hours a
day. In 1958 a station was only on the air during daylight hours. Click on the
thumbnail to read the entire article. Archive access courtesy of Neil
Here is a picture of
R. S. Underhill
(President of WIOS beginning in 1958) with the Chief Engineer, discussing the new
equipment installation for WIOS. With a few more engineers since then,
the current Chief Engineer is Marvin Walther who has an A.E.E. from the now-historic Valparaiso Technical Institute, Valparaiso, IN
. Click on the thumbnail to view the full sized picture.
Archivist Neil Thornton.
In this article, WIOS is slated to
broadcast a Whittemore-Prescott versus Oscoda ballgame over the radio for the first time, no more than a
month after the station begins operation in 1958. Note the ballgames
had to be recorded back then, since there was no way to broadcast live, at
least with the equipment they had on hand! Click the thumbnail
to read the article.
Article reprint courtesy of Neil Thornton.
Old Silver Valley advertisement
extolling the fun to be had during the Silver Valley Winter Sports Carnival
(1958). Today, there are only hints of all the ski and toboggan
runs that existed at Silver Valley near Silver Creek in the Huron National
Forest northwest of Tawas City between Tawas and Lumberman's Monument.
You can still hike the area near the Corsair ski trails and see the impact
that years of frolicking fun have had on the region. Click on the
thumbnail to see the whole ad. Thanks to Neil Thornton for archive
Ron Gamble, WIOS first General
Manager is seen here as the DJ in this historical photo after the station
opened for broadcasting in September of 1958. Click on the thumbnail
to view the larger picture.
Reprint thanks to Neil Thornton, Tawas area Archivist.
Here the new WIOS ownership asks
"Will You Listen?" The station began broadcasting at 12 O'Clock (noon)
Saturday, September 27th, 1958. It's interesting to note that on
September 27th, 2008 (50 years later) it was also a Saturday. This
would not have happened if it weren't for the fact that in 2000, we did not
have a leap year due to the millennia rollover. Paper archive-Neil Thornton.
Postcard of Lumberman's Monument from May 25, 1941
Lumberman's Monument today. Notice how the trees
have grown big in the last 70 years!
Remember what was on TV in 1958?
How about "Popeye", "The Price Is Right", or "You Bet Your Life" with Groucho Marx?
How about the Jack Paar Show (the predecessor to Steve Allen and the Tonight
Show, followed by Johnny Carson when TV went to color in the 60's!).
Click on the old TV guide and see what was happening on the Television
airwaves in 1958 when WIOS went on the air! TV Guide-Herald newspaper archive
courtesy of Neil Thornton.
at this Philco Predicta TV from 1958. With an industry-first
printed circuit (PC) board design mixed with vacuum tubes, it made the
Predicta prone to overheating (not so predicta-ble!). Alas the
Predicta was fraught with reliability issues, but non-the-less remains an
iconic TV from 1958! They were so prolific in sales in 1958, that even
to this day they are not a rare find, and are still not too valuable as
collector items, that is unless you love the cool styling of the Predicta!
Click to see a larger Picture!
Neil Thornton's website and
learn more about the region's history through his books and DVDs. Neil
is the Tawas area's foremost historian and archivist. A reporter and
newspaperman, Neil's historic referential point of view of Iosco County and
surrounding areas breaths life into the historic figures and industries that
have come and gone from our region. Special thanks to Neil for letting
me photograph certain articles from the old News Herald from 1958.
Neil was the head of the Tawas paper for several decades. He's the author of
over 15 books on local history, lore and legend. You can visit
bookshops in downtown East Tawas that carry his historic writings, or to
learn more, just visit
Neil's Website. Thanks Neil for
letting me gather the photos for this historic review of WIOS Radio! -
1958 saw the innovation of
stereo phonograph records introduced to the public for the first time.
Columbia Records started as early as 1956, recording symphonies and
classical works in the new stereophonic format, just so there would be
enough material to release come 1958. Pop recordings were
recorded in stereo toward 1957, 58, and 59, during a transition phase and as
custom recording equipment was being hand-built by the recording company's
own engineers at a fervent pace and put into service. But, early on, most of the major
labels concentrated on their finer, classical masterpieces, often re-recording pieces
that had only been recorded a few years prior. Recordings from the likes of Leonard Bernstein and the
Columbia Symphony Orchestra which had been recorded in
monophonic High Fidelity since 1949 were such examples. Stereo
recordings were compatible with monaural players with the new,
lighter-weight tone arms which had just come on the market. Older,
heavier tone arm record players would virtually destroy the finer quality
groove of a stereophonic record, not only because of the weight, but because
the record player's stylus was not cut to the right shape or size, or
wasn't made of a good, hard material like sapphire or diamond. Often
steel, copper or osmium styli damaged stereo records to the dismay of the
owner! Mono versions of the records were for sale side by side with
their stereo counterparts for this very reason, so the older phonographs
could continue to play them for years after stereo was introduced!
Radio stations often had to buy the mono versions for this reason too, or
upgrade their tone arms and styli!
Tawas Tornado of June 7th, 1953
1. Photo capture of another tornado in Flint during
2. Recorded Paths June 1953
The summer of 1953 was a violent one. The June 7th "Tawas Tornado"
resulted in 4 local fatalities and provided the impetus to get the doors
open sooner to the newly built St. Joseph Hospital. The following day,
this interview was broadcast on WSAM in Saginaw with Iosco County News
editor Berkeley Smith. This event also showed that a local radio
station needed to be built in Iosco county: Courtesy
of SJHS. Audio restored from transcription disc by Marvin Walther
Special Thanks to the remarkable antique car dioramas
modeled and photographed by
Michael Paul Smith.
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