WLOL signed on from Minneapolis in 1940 as a Mutual Broadcasting System affiliate. The call letters stood for “Land Of Lakes.”
WLOL’s owner planned to launch a TV station. The station applied in 1954 for the Channel 9 allotment in the Twin Cities, but withdrew the application at the last minute.
The owner purchased WMIN-FM in 1956, renaming it WLOL-FM. After operating as a commercial classical music station, it flipped to a Beautiful Music format in 1973.
WLOL-AM 1330 aired a Top 40 format in the 1950s. By 1977, it switched to country music. WLOL flipped back to Top 40 in 1979 as WRRD “13 Rock.”
Minnesota Public Radio purchased WLOL-AM in 1980, renaming it KSJN. It was the AM sister of MPR’s KSJN-FM.
WLOL-FM was sold to a different owner and carried a popular Top 40 format in the 1980s. When owner Emmis Broadcasting ran into financial problems in the early 1990s, it sold WLOL to MPR, which turned it into the flagship station of the public radio network’s new classical music service. The move infuriated pop music fans. The classical format continues under the KSJN-FM call letters.
MPR used the 1330 AM frequency to simulcast KNOW-FM in the early 1990s. It was sold and became WMNN-AM in 1995, serving as the flagship of the commercial Minnesota News Network.
Starboard Broadcasting bought the AM station in 2004 and flipped it to a Catholic religious format. The new owner also returned the WLOL call letters to the frequency, after several stations in the area had used them.
Radiotapes.com has an extensive collection of WLOL-AM/FM airchecks.
Sources: Wikipedia (WLOL-AM), (KSJN)