Today is the 95th birthday of WLS-890 Chicago

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Today is the 95th birthday of WLS-890 Chicago

Postby jon » Fri Apr 12, 2019 1:14 pm

Most of you have at least heard of WLS Chicago, one of the few Top 40 Clear Channels of the 1960s. Back then, Victoria's CJVI-900 played havoc with your listening pleasure of "Eighty-Nine W-L-S" if you lived in the Lower Mainland or Vancouver Island, but WLS was heard from Coast to Coast most nights of the year on any decent AM radio.

On this day in 1924, WLS first signed on as Sears (World's Largest Store) owned them. They had been testing in the days prior, as WES, World's Economy Store.

What few people know is that WLS did not gain full-time use of their frequency until 1954 when ABC bought a 50% interest in WLS, and surrendered the license of the other Chicago station on the frequency, WENR, which ABC had owned since 1931 when ABC was known as the NBC Blue Network.

Every WLS fan has their favourite announcer. Art Roberts was mine, with his weekly Oldies show that inspired the Buckinghams: Hey, Baby, They're Playing Our Song. Newsman Jeffrey Hendricks probably ranks Second in my favourites. Larry Lujack is a winner with most listeners. Of the three, only Jeffrey is still alive, having retired from WLS fairly recently.

Personally, I listened to WLS most in 1964 before I discovered WBZ in Boston on 1030. But my most memorable WLS moment came a few years later when I first heard MacArthur Park by Richard Harris. On WLS during transmitter testing after midnight one Sunday night.
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Re: Today is the 95th birthday of WLS-890 Chicago

Postby paterson » Fri Apr 12, 2019 2:50 pm

Always enjoyed flipping between WLS and WCFL when listening at night in the late sixties and early 70's. WLS was Chicago's true am top 40 station at the time but WCFL gave them a run from 1965 to March of 1976, when the format flipped to beautiful music. WLS-FM has a classic hits format and this past February sat at number 7 in the ratings with a 3.9% share. WLS 890 is hanging in at 21st spot with a talk/news format and a 1.7 share. Two great stations in one hell of a town!
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