12 Key Moments In WOR History

12 Key Moments In WOR History

WOR was the first major radio station to feature three generations of one family as morning show hosts. The Gambling family hosted the morning show on WOR for more than 80 years (“Rambling with Gambling” starting in 1925 and then “The John Gambling Show” beginning in 2008). John B. Gambling started the tradition, and was succeeded by his son John A. Gambling in 1959. His son, John R., joined as co-host in 1985 and took over hosting solo in 1991. The Gambling morning dynasty came to an end when John R. left the station at the end of 2013.

Countless notable politicians and public figures, from Mayors to Governors to Presidents, have appeared on WOR during its 100 year history, including Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan, Albert Einstein, Harry Houdini, Charlie Chaplin, Guy Lombardo, Milton Berle, Roy Rogers, Vincent Price, Nelson Rockefeller, Coretta King, Mayor Ed Koch, Governor George Pataki, First Ladies Rosalyn Carter and Barbara Bush, Dick Clark, and Casey Kasem. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg made weekly one-hour appearances with John R. Gambling from 2008-2013, and former New York Governor David Paterson hosted a daily afternoon-drive show from September 2011 until December 2012. 

Joan Rivers hosted an evening talk show on WOR in the late 90s, beginning in 1997. It aired weeknights from 7-9pm.

WOR was the flagship station for Larry King’s national overnight radio program in the late 70s and 80s.

Other well-known personalities (in addition to those listed above…the Gamblings, Joan Rivers, Larry King, and Governor David Paterson) who hosted shows on WOR during its history include Arlene Francis, Joan Hamburg, Bob and Ray, Jean Shepherd (writer/narrator of the holiday film classic “A Christmas Story”), Dr. Joy Browne, Joe Franklin, Barry Gray, Bob Grant, Deborah Norville, Sally Jesse Raphael, Donna Hanover, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, the McCanns, George Meade, Joey Reynolds, Pegeen & Ed Fitzgerald, Ken & Daria Dolan, Arthur Schwartz, Martha Deane, Ed Walsh, Len Berman, Michael Riedel, Mark Simone, Ralph Snodsmith, Buck Sexton, Michael Savage, Dennis Miller, Tex & Jinx, Lou Dobbs, Joe Bartlett, Shelley Strickler, Bruce Williams, John Batchelor, George Noory, and many more. 

WOR was originally started to sell radios and other merchandise at Bamberger’s department store in Newark.

WOR’s first transmitter was on the roof of Bamberger’s department store in Newark and operated at 250 watts. Today’s transmitter is located in Rutherford, New Jersey, and operates at the highest power allowed by the FCC -- 50,000 watts.

 WOR is the only station remaining in New York City approved by the FCC to retain a three-letter call sign.

For nearly 40 years (roughly 1949-1987), WOR operated both an AM and an FM radio station, as well as a TV station (WOR-FM and WOR-TV, Channel 9).

 WOR introduced the concept of live helicopter traffic reports from “Helicopter 710” with pilot-reporters Fred Feldman and George Meade.

Before the Internet, WOR was the radio station of record for young kids in the New York metropolitan area during bad winter weather. Students of all ages listened as the Gamblings announced a comprehensive list of school closings for New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, in strict alphabetical order.

WOR’s first studio was located in Newark. Our first New York City studio was opened on 57th Street in 1924, ahead of our move to 1440 Broadway near Times Square in 1926, a location we called home for nearly 80 years before moving downtown.

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