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A: Detroit, Michigan, United States

Station 8MK in Detroit, the First Radio Station Owned by a Newspaper, Broadcasts the First Radio News Program

On August 31, 1920 the first radio news program was broadcast by station 8MK in Detroit, Michigan. The station, owned by The Detroit News newspaper, which was owned by E.W. Scripps, had begun broadcasting less than two weeks earlier, on August 20. It was the first radio station owned by a newspaper, started by the Scripps family as an experiment in the use of the new medium of radio for the publication of news. For the first ten days the station broadcast only music until the system of news presentation could be worked out by the radio staff of The Detroit News. 

 The Detroit News summed up the momentous event a few years later:

"Everything was found to be satisfactory, and on Aug. 31, which was primary election day, it was announced that the returns — local, state and congressional — would be sent to the public that night by means of the radio.

The News on Wednesday, Sept. 1, 1920, carried the following announcement: “The sending of the election returns by The Detroit News’ radiophone Tuesday night was fraught with romance and must go down in the history of man’s conquest of the elements as a gigantic step in his progress.

In the four hours that the apparatus, set up in an out-of-the-way corner of The News Building, was hissing and whirring its message into space, few realized that a dream and a prediction had come true. The news of the world was being given forth through this invisible trumpet to the waiting crowds in the unseen market place” (, accessed 10-19-2014).

8MK changed its call letters to WBL in 1921 and then to WWJ in 1922.

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