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The Crosley Broadcasting Corporation was a radio and television broadcaster founded by radio manufacturing pioneer Powel Crosley, Jr.. The company was an early operator of radio stations in the United Statesmarker. Based in Cincinnati, Ohiomarker, Crosley's flagship station was WLWmarker (AM). Most of its broadcast properties adopted callsigns in which the first three letters were "WLW", which stood for "[the] World's Largest Warehouse". By the 1950s, the company would operate a small television network in the eastern Midwest.


Crosley Super Musicone speaker
During World War II, Crosley built the Bethany Relay Stationmarker in Butler County, Ohiomarker's Union Townshipmarker, one mile west of its transmitter for WLWmarker, for the Office of War Information. It operated as many as five shortwave stations, using the callsigns WLWK, WLWL, WLWO, WLWR and WLWS. It operated the facility for the government until 1963.

In 1945, the Crosley interests were purchased by Aviation Corporation. The radio and appliance manufacturing arm changed its name to Avco, but the broadcast operations continued to operate under the Crosley name until they adopted the Avco name in 1968.

Crosley (Avco) also owned WLWF, an FM station it operated along with its WLWC (now WCMH-TVmarker). In 1959, the station was sold to Taft Broadcasting, owner of WTVN-TV also in Columbus (now WSYX-TVmarker. The transaction was the first in Ohio broadcasting history where a broadcast owner sold one of its stations to a competitor in the same city. The FM station is now WLVQ-FM.

From the 1950s through the 1970s, Crosley operated a small television network in which programs were produced at one of its stations and broadcast on the other Crosley stations in the Midwest, and occasionally by non-Crosley stations as well. The company occasionally produced programs picked up for broadcast on either NBC or DuMont. Programs which aired nationally included NBC's Midwestern Hayride (on which Rosemary Clooney often performed) and Breakfast Party. Other programs originated on the Crosley network included DuMont's The Paul Dixon Show and The Ruth Lyons 50-50 Club. The Phil Donahue Show started in 1967, originating from WLWD in Dayton, Ohiomarker. The Jerry Springer Show started from WLWT in Cincinnati and was distributed nationwide by its syndication division, Multimedia Entertainment.

In 1968, Avco, which had just purchased Embassy Pictures, consolidated its television operations into Avco Embassy Television.

Beginning in 1975, Avco sold all of its broadcasting holdings. In 1975, it sold WLWC-TV in Columbusmarker, WLWI-TV in Indianapolis, WOAI-AM/FM/TV in San Antoniomarker (the AM station was sold to the nascent Clear Channel as the chain's second property), and WWDC-AM/FM in Washington D.C.marker; in 1976, it sold WLW-AM and WLWT-TV in Cincinnati, WLWD-TV in Dayton, and its Avco Embassy Television and Avco Embassy Program Sales divisions; in 1977, it sold KYA-AM/FM in San Franciscomarker and WRTH-AM in Wood Rivermarker-St. Louismarker.

The closest thing to a "successor" to Avco Broadcasting was Multimedia, Inc., to whom Avco sold flagship TV station WLWT, as well as Avco Embassy Television and Avco Embassy Program Sales in 1976. In December 1995, Gannett (who, coincidentally, owned former Crosley station WXIA-TV in Atlantamarker) acquired Multimedia, Inc., while the respective syndication division was acquired by MCA Universal. By 1997, all of the original Crosley radio and television properties had been sold off by its successor companies, with the exception of WTHRmarker in Indianapolis, which is still owned by an affiliate of the Dispatch Broadcast Group.

Ironically, by the 1970s the Crosley name had ceased to exist in the memory of most US citizens (as would that of its major successor company, Avco, a decade later); but many of the "WLW-" station call-letters persist (see below). And, even today, the deserted ruins of the major Crosley manufacturing facility can be seen on the west side of I-75, just north of the area where the Cincinnati Museum Center [previously the Union Terminal train station] is currently located and near where Crosley Fieldmarker once stood. The impressively huge transmission tower and old 50,000 watt transmitter at the Tylersville Road facility near route 42(Reading Rd.), between Dayton and Cincinnati still exists.

Broadcast outlets operated by Crosley Broadcasting or its successor Avco include:

AM Radio Stations

FM Radio Stations

Television Stations

All are currently NBC affiliates (though WLWA/WXIA and WLWI/WTHR were ABC affiliates when they were owned by Crosley/Avco).
Current DMA# Market Station Years Owned Current Owner
8. Atlantamarker WLTV/WLWA 2/8/11
(now WXIAmarker 11)
1951-62 Gannett Company
25. Indianapolismarker WLWI 13
(now WTHRmarker)
1957-74 VideoIndiana, Inc., part of the Dispatch Broadcast Group
32. Columbusmarker WLWC 3/4
(now WCMHmarker 4)
1949-76 Media General
34. Cincinnatimarker WLWTmarker 4/5 1948-76 Hearst Television
37. San Antoniomarker WOAI-TVmarker 4 1965-75 High Plains Broadcasting (operated by Newport Television)
64. Daytonmarker WLWD 5/2
(now WDTNmarker 2)
1947-76 LIN TV Corporation

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