WWL, which started as an experiment of Loyola’s physics department, became the radio station that introduced the South to New Orleans’ sound. The station, “Wide World Loyola,” was founded in 1922, in the early days of radio. It began broadcasting a 10-watt station at 833 AM from the university’s Marquette Hall. The first broadcast was a piano recital. The station’s power grew steadily and switched dial positions until in 1941 it began being broadcast at 870 AM with 50,000 watts of power. On a clear night, the station can be heard in more than 40 states.
The station was affiliated with CBS Radio Network and in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s featured live broadcasts of local jazz, including Papa Celestin, Sharkey Bonano and Lizzie Miles.
The radio station gained a wider audience in the 1970s with the “The Road Gang” an overnight country music show with announcers including Big John Parker.
WWL started a TV station on Sept. 7, 1957, becoming the fourth television station in New Orleans.
In 1989, Loyola sold the stations. The radio station is owned now by Entercomm.
The station broadcasts the Saints and Louisiana State University sports. It gained a new following during Hurricane Katrina as it stayed on the air and provided continuous coverage of storm news.