Chicagoland Radio History
Chicagoland Radio History, By Call Sign
Part Deux, WHIP to WNUR
(updated to 6/12/99)
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- WHIP -- a station on 1480 in Hammond IN in the mid to late 1930s, then to 1520 with the 1941 frequency moves. Bought by the Chicago Sun in 1942, changing call to WJWC.
- WHPK - Chicago/88.5 Student-run mix of jazz, reggae, rock, classical and more, from the U. of Chicago (in the south-side Hyde Park neighborhood). Studio at 5706 S. University Ave, and the tower is near 55th and Woodlawn. Moved from 88.3 in the 1970s.
- WHSD - Hinsdale/88.5 Student-run rocker at Hinsdale South HS, 55th and Grant Sts.. On only school hours and a bit into the evening.
- WHT -- Began in 1925 on 1260. Briefly split time, 1260 days/750 nights. Shared 1480 with WJAZ and WORD from 1928-31, also as WSOA and then WCHI, until shut down by the frequency move to Kentucky (see WJAZ).
- WIBD -- broadcast from Joliet at what was then the end of the dial, 1500, for a few months in 1923.
- WIBJ -- see WBBZ for its Chicago history. This was one of the 3 which were shut down in 1928.
- WIBL -- on 1390 in Chicago for a few months in 1923.
- WIBM -- Originally licensed to Chicago, but see WBBZ for the history. This one permanently relocated to Jackson MI, on 1450, in 1928.
- WIBO -- from Gary IN during the 1920s, on a variety of frequencies until settling on 560 in the late 20s. Was on Mon-Sat, with WPCC using Sundays. Taken over by WJKS in 1933.
- WIBW -- see WBBZ for its Chicago history. Moved to 580, in Topeka KS in 1928, and retains that call to this day.
- WICV -- Call sign applied for by WEFM, and approved by FCC in 1975, as part of a big change to Top 40. Strong protests by classical fans delayed the music change for a couple of years, by which time the new calls (Roman numerals for "99-5") were apparently forgotten.
- WIDB -- the calls during most of 950's run as "1-on-1 Sports" talk, 1997-99.
Changed to WNTB 6/99.
- WILA -- Briefly broadcast on 92.1 out of Hammond, IN in the late 40s.
- WIND - Chicago/560 Studio is still on the 3rd floor at 625 N. Michigan, with their 4-tower site off Cline Ave (s. of I-80/94) in Gary, Indiana. Its earliest roots were WIBO and WPCC in the mid-20s, and WJKS which took over the frequency from the first two in 1933. Changed to present call in 1934 and from Gary to Chicago sometime in the early 1940s.
- WIVS -- call for Crystal Lake/850 from about 1965 to 1985, for "Wives", for the most part a suburban-oriented full-serve station during those years. Picked up current WAIT when 820 dropped the calls.
- WJAZ -- first used by Zenith during the 360 meters days before 1923, but in March of 1924 the Tribune took over the Edgewater Beach Hotel studio and transmitter to start up what would become WGN (see also WDAP). Zenith retained the WJAZ call to build another station...
- WJAZ -- ....but by the time Zenith's new station in Mount Prospect was ready to go, in 1925, their chosen 1120 was taken, so they essentially bounced around to whatever frequency they wanted until the Federal Radio Commission began to restore order with the 1928 re-allocations. WJAZ would share 1480 with WHT and WORD until 1931, when all 3 went off to clear space for WCKY, Covington KY (pleading strongly that northern KY was underserved... well wouldn't you know, WCKY would eventually switch to Cincinnati!?!). WJAZ now in Summerdale PA.
- WJBA -- signed-on in Joliet on 1450, in 1925. Would wind up sharing 930, and then 1210, with WKDR (in Kenosha WI) and WLBT during 1927 and 1928, only to have none of their licenses renewed by the Federal Radio Commission.
- WJBI -- began in Joliet in 1925, though within a year was WCLS. Is now WJOL.
- WJBT -- on the air 1926-34, most of that time sharing 770 with WBBM until the latter bought them out.
- WJBZ -- on the air from Chicago Heights, 1926-28, sharing 1440 with WNBA most of that stretch, only to not have its licensed renewed by the FRC.
- WJCG - Monee/88.9 Moody Bible Institute's tiny south suburban facility. Office is at 820 N. LaSalle in Chicago, and their tower is in the vicinity of Harlem and Steger Rds, just inside Will county near Frankfort. Former calls: WMBY, WGNR.
- WJCH - Joliet/91.9 Family Radio's Chicagoland outpost. Local office is at 13 Fairlane Dr. Tower is on US-6, one mile west of the Will-Grundy county line.
- WJEZ -- When the FCC got strict about simulcasting in medium and large markets (mid-70s to early 80s), 104.3 split off from WJJD first with "ez country", then with country hits. Now WJMK. Call moved down I-55 to Pontiac IL, on 93.7.
- WJIZ -- Original calls for 92.3, in the early 50s, later to be WJOB-FM. Now WYCA.
- WJJD -- J J Davies put this station on, at Mooseheart, the Moose Club children's home north of Aurora, in 1924. Re-allocated to Chicago on 1160 in 1941. From 1941 to 1980, it operated "Limited Hours", from local sunrise to Salt Lake City sunset. Despite 73 years of history, it died quietly, its remains taken over by WSCR.
- WJJD-FM -- Calls on 104.3, from the mid-50s until becoming WJEZ in the late 70s.
- WJJG - Elmhurst/1530 Owned by area car dealer Joseph J Gentile. Office is at 5629 Saint Charles Rd. in Berkeley, and their 2 unpainted towers are visible from the I-88/I-290 interchange on the far eastern fringe of Elmhurst. Former call: WKDC.
- WJKL - Elgin/94.3 Station is at 14 Douglas St, and its tower is now southeast of downtown Elgin, near Gifford and Spaulding Rds.
- WJKS -- began in Gary, IN in 1927, on 1290. Moved by the 1928 re-allocations to 1360, sharing time there with WGES until 1933, when they managed to grab 560 for themselves. A year later, changed call to current WIND, and switched to Chicago by the mid-40s.
- WJMK - Chicago/104.3 Office is at 180 N Michigan Ave., and transmitter is on Sears Tower...though was still on the Prudential Bldg. in the late 1980s. Former calls: WJEZ, WJJD-FM.
- WJPC -- the 950 spot was operated by Johnson Publishing Company (Ebony, Jet) from the early 70s until the mid-90s. Now WIDB.
- WJPC-FM -- Johnson bought WLNR in 1990, but waited a couple years to change the call and have it simulcast WJPC. Is now WYBA.
- WJOB - Hammond/1230 Tall tower at the studio, 6405 Olcott Ave. (off Kennedy Ave.), is a couple miles south of I-90 but still very visible. Former call: WWAE.
- WJOB-FM -- WJOB owned the 92.3 for a time, during most of the 1950s and perhaps into the early 60s? Now WYCA.
- WJOI -- call-change for WMAQ-FM, during a fling with ez listening in 1974-75. Now WKQX. Call now in suburban Memphis.
- WJOL - Joliet/1340 Studio and tower at 601 Walnut, at Maple St. Former call WCLS.
- WJOL-FM -- original call on 96.7, but has been WLLI since at least the late 60s.
- WJRC -- early call sign on 1510, from the late 1950s until change to WWHN around 1990.
- WJTW - Joliet/93.5 Office is now with WJOL, at 601 Walnut St...tower is either there now, or at the old Ruby St. location? Former call: WAJP.
- WJWC -- call change for WHIP about 1942, but the 1520 station did not last...the new owners hoped to move the station to Chicago, but war-time equipment embargoes made the necessary upgrades impossible, so it was off by mid-1943.
- WKAK -- used by 99.9 sometime in the 1960s, when it was simply a Kankakee station. Call now in Albany, GA.
- WKBA -- had a very short run on 1430, in 1926.
- WKBB -- started in Joliet in 1926. During most of its time there, it would have to share time with WCLS and as many as 3 other stations. They would wind up leaving town to get some air, out to East Dubuque. By the mid-50s they moved again, to Dubuque IA as present-day WDBQ. Shared time with WHFC on 1310 for awhile in the 1920s.
- WKBG -- see WBBZ for its Chicago history. This was one of the 3 which were shut down in 1928.
- WKBI -- started up in 1926. Shared time with several stations on 1310, and later on 1420 with WEHS and WHFC until bought out by the latter in 1936. Call currently used by 1400 in Saint Mary's, PA.
- WKDC -- the first 1530 in Elmhurst was on from 1975 to 1983. Was one of the first stereo AMs, but went broke.
- WKDC -- the 1530 allocation for Elmhurst was revived in 1987, then sold in 1994 to become WJJG.
- WKER -- was on from Waukegan around 1950, on 92.7.
- WKFM -- the 103.5 calls, at least during the 1960s until 1973 change to WFYR. Call sign was in the Syracuse area for years, but is now in Huron OH.
- WKGA -- the calls for 1500 in Zion from about 1989 to 1996, now WTAU.
- WKIE - Arlington Heights/92.7 Had been WCBR-FM through most of the 1990s, until grabbing these calls after an ownership and programming change late in 1998. Had applied for and been granted WXBR earlier that year, but never used. Simulcasts with co-channel WKIF down in Kankakee. Studio recently moved to 737 N Michigan #1600, Chicago, but the transmitter is still out at the old site, 120 W. University, off Arlington Heights and Dundee Rds. Former calls: WCBR-FM, WSEX, WTCO, WWMM, WEXI, WNWC.
- WKKC - Chicago/89.3 Kennedy-King College's station on the south side. Studio and tower at 6800 S. Wentworth Ave. Covers well south of the college, but signal limited north thanks to 89.3 dominant WNUR.
- WKKD - Aurora/1580 Was WFVR in the late 70s and early 80s, but then returned to old call. Three towers at the station, 1884 Plain Ave. on the far east side of Aurora.
- WKKD-FM - Aurora/95.9 Also sports play-by-play, shopping shows and talk Sunday evenings. Uses the tallest of the short WKKD towers.
- WKQX - Chicago/101.1 Despite numerous programming changes and an ownership switch or two, same call since 1977, chosen simply as it sounded "experimental" (they were automated AoR at the time?!). Studio in Merchandise Mart, #1700, transmitter on Hancock Bldg. Former calls: WNIS, WJOI, WMAQ-FM.
- WKRS - Waukegan/1220 Has two towers at the studio, 3250 Belvidere Rd., between Green Bay Rd and US-41.
- WKRS-FM -- Waukegan's FM station began on 106.7 in 1949, later moved to 102.3. Was WEFA by 1961, and is now WXLC.
- WKTA - Evanston/1330 Four towers at the station, 4320 Dundee Rd. next to I-294. Came on in the mid-80s, replacing the 1330 which went bust in 1981 (see WPRZ). There has been a "For Sale" sign on the property for 5 years now?! Former calls: WSSY, WEAW.
- WKXK -- The 94.7 calls during their year as country, 1996-97. Now WXCD.
- WKZN -- the calls on 1500 in Zion during the early 80s. Now WTAU.
- WKZN-FM -- calls for the 96.9 up in Zion, at least from the mid 70s to early 80s, somewhere between WAXO and the current WNIZ.
- WLAK -- "Lake" continued the ez from WWEL during the 1970s and into the 80s, but after drifting into soft AC for a few years switched to WLIT. Now being used in Huntingdon, PA.
- WLBN -- began life as a "portable" station, separate from the WBBZ/etc. bunch. Was on 1330 and then 1470 from 1926-28, then was moved to Little Rock, AR as KLRA.
- WLBT -- operated out of Crown Point IN during 1927-28, for most of that time sharing with WJBA.
- WLCL -- 107.1 down in Lowell IN used these calls in the 1970s. Now WZVN.
- WLEY - Aurora/107.9 "La Ley" is Spanish for "The Law". Transmits from WMAQ's main tower, Army Trail Rd. in Glendale Heights. Former calls: WYSY, WAUR, WMRO-FM.
- WLEY -- the first go-round for these calls began on 107.1 from a still-existing tower on Harlem Ave near Altgeld, Elmwood Park, in Leyden Township. In the mid-50s it was upgraded to 105.9 and moved studio and transmitter to downtown Chicago, but was WXFM by then. Now WCKG.
- WLIB -- Liberty Magazine, a Tribune publication, bought out Elgin's WTAS in 1926, sharing time with WGN until the stations were merged in 1933. Call now on the 1190 in New York City.
- WLIT - Chicago/93.9 Office at 150 N. Michigan Ave., and they transmit from Sears Tower. Former calls: WLAK, WWEL, WEBH-FM.
- WLJE - Valparaiso IN/105.5 Studio is at 2755 Sager Rd, and tower is on IN 49 northeast of town. Former call: WAKE-FM.
- WLLI - Joliet/96.7 Studio and transmitter at 601 Walnut St. Former call: WJOL-FM.
- WLMT -- first call for the 105.5 down in Wilmington, currently WYKT.
- WLMV -- original intended calls for WNVR, but never used.
- WLNR -- long-time call for the 106.3 in Lansing, for years one of the few FM all-talk stations, until being bought by Johnson Publishing in the mid-90s. Now WYBA.
- WLOO -- 100.3 dropped WFMF in 1970, picking a new call-sign which deliberately looked like "100"...their legal ID during these years would be a semi-loud "FM 100", then a mumbled/whispered "WLOO Chicago". ave this up when they drifted from ez into soft AC as WXEZ-FM in 1988. Now WNND.
- WLRA - Romeoville/88.1 Student-run alt.rock station from Lewis University. Mailing address is 500 Independence Blvd, #528. Formerly licensed to Lockport.
- WLS - Chicago/890 Offices at 190 N. State, the former State-Lake Theater. Tower is on 96th Ave (LaGrange Rd) north of I-80, Tinley Park. Founded by Sears (World's Largest Store) in 1925, but was WBBZ and WES during testing. Shared time with WENR until 1960.
- WLS-FM -- Call used several times by 94.7...from 1960 to 1970, from 1981 for 3 years or so, and from about 1991 to 1995. Now WXCD.
- WLTD -- call sign for 1590 from 1970 to 1978..."Limited Talk" (was ez listening). Now WONX.
- WLTH - Gary IN/1370 Office at 2019 Broadway, and a 4-tower array is nw of the I-80/94 and I-65 interchange.
- WLTL - LaGrange/88.1 Rock and hits from Lyons Township HS, 100 S. Brainard Ave (at Elm Avenue).
- WLTS -- Lane Technical High School had a highly-regarded though under-funded station from 1925 to 1928. Shared 620 with WCFL from June 1927 to November 1928. This would have been at Lane's former campus, Division and Sedgwick, as they did not move into the building I had to deal with for 3 years until 1934. (The old building later became Cooley High, of movie and TV fame, but is now a softball field.)
- WLUC -- Loyola U's first station was on 88.3 in the early 1970s. Was off by 1976 or so, and it returned on 88.7 as WLUW.
- WLUP - Chicago/97.9 "the Loop" since 1976. Studios in the Hancock Bldg., 875 N Michigan Ave., #3750, with their transmitter atop that building. Former calls: WEHS-FM, WHFC-FM, WSDM. Was WLUP-FM when former co-owned Chicago/1000 shared calls.
- WLUP -- WCFL was bought by WLUP in 1987, operated as "the Loop AM 1000" for 6 years or so before giving up and switching to WMVP.
- WLUW - Chicago/88.7 Loyola U's station is a mixed bag of rock, ethnic, blues and more these days. Studio at 820 N Michigan Ave., transmitter up at Sheridan Rd and Loyola Ave, on the north campus.
- WLXX - Chicago/1200 Office is at 509 W. Roosevelt Rd., and their 9-tower array is at 103rd and Woodlawn Ave., just off I-94. Former call: WOPA.
- WMAQ - Chicago/670 Studios are in the NBC Tower, 455 N Cityfront Plaza Dr (aka 454 N. Columbus Dr.). Big tower on Army Trail Rd, Glendale Heights. Former calls: WGU, WQJ.
- WMAQ-FM -- long-time early calls for 101.1, from the 1940s up to 1974 when it became WJOI. Presently WKQX.
- WMBB -- signed-on in 1925, on 1200. Moved to 1190 in mid-1927, and by the end of that year it had combined operations with co-channel WOK...also meeting the same fate in November, 1928. Operated out of Homewood and from the south side's Trianon ballroom.
- WMBH -- began in Chicago in 1926, mostly on 1470, but the next year moved to less-crowded Joplin MO, where it still broadcasts (on 1450 since 1941).
- WMBI - Chicago/1110 Preaching from the Moody Bible Institute since the 1920s, though added Spanish in the early 1990s. Began on 1080, but was moved to 1110 in 1941. Studios at the school, 820 N LaSalle Blvd., and its tower is near Mill Rd. south of Army Trail in Addison. Had to share time with WCBD 1928-41.
- WMBI-FM - Chicago/90.1 Same studio and tower as WMBI. See WDLM for early history. They have an odd new tower...has several elements near the top, like the old one on the same sight, but has a separate trio of elements about a third of the way down...auxiliary, or what? Far as I know, no other FMs on the tower!
- WMBY -- very briefly the calls for 88.9 in Monee...changed from WGNR in spring 1998, and within months became WJCG instead.
- WMCW - Harvard/1600 Studio at 67 N. Ayer, and their tower is a mile north of town on US-14. Began in late 1950s, same calls all along.
- WMET -- the call on 95.5 during Metromedia's ownership, from 1976 to 1986, after years as WDHF. Changed to WRXR, and now WNUA. Last heard from on the 1150 in Gaithersburg, MD.
- WMFT -- a Chicago station was briefly on 105.9 in the early 50s.
- WMNN -- WBEE briefly dropped jazz for business yap under this call, around 1990.
- WMOR -- a station using this call-sign was in Chicago on 102.7 around 1949-52, unrelated to the later Oak Park allocation.
- WMOR -- call later was on 103.5, but I could not find out if the 102.7 changed frequencies, if this was a separate station which picked up WMOR later in the 1950s, and/or if WKFM (now WRCX) came out of this 103.5 or if a separate start-up, too? Call currently in Morehead, KY.
- WMPP -- former call of Chicago Heights/1470, from its founding in the early 1960s up until about the late 80s...now WCFJ.
- WMRO -- call for Aurora/1280 for years and years, from the late 30s until they gave up being a local, full-serve station in 1988, in favor of WYSY. Currently WBIG. Call now in suburban Nashville?
- WMRO-FM -- original call for 107.9, from the early 60s. Now WLEY.
- WMTH - Park Ridge/90.5 Student-run rocker at Maine Township HS. Main studio and transmitter at the Maine East campus, 1131 S. Dee Rd (at Dempster), with a satellite studio at Maine West in Des Plaines. Pretty much school-hours only.
- WMVP - Chicago/1000 Changed call from WLUP the first time they tried out sports-talk, around 1994 or so. Studio is in the Hancock Bldg., 875 N Michigan Ave # 1510, and their 3 self-supporting towers are at about 35th St. and Meyers, Downers Grove. Former calls: WLUP, WWTN (never used), WCFL.
- WMWA -- The Midwest Academy of the New Church in Glenview owned the 88.5 there for a time, but sold it back to the high school district in 1997, now WGBK.
- WMXA -- 1200 first got this call, but went on the air as WOPA, while the call instead wound up in Opelika AL.
- WMXM - Lake Forest/88.9 Rock and big band from the campus of Lake Forest College, 555 N. Sheridan Rd., school days only it seems.
- WNAJ -- on only briefly in 1922.
- WNBA -- broadcast out of west suburban Forest Park, 1926-28. Started on 1260, but then had to share 1440 with WJBZ the last half of its existence.
- WNDZ - Portage IN/750 Running "Personal Achievement radio", and wants the WYPA calls someday...uses "WYPA" often!? Began in the late '80s, one of the last daytime-only authorizations. Last listed address was 2576 Portage Mall. Two towers behind the Kmart on US6 in Portage.
- WNIB - Chicago/97.1 Studio is at 1140 W Erie St., transmitter on Amoco bldg. Began in 1955, after WBBM-FM shifted over to 96.3.
- WNIS -- NBC Radio's News and Information Service ran here 1975-76, then became current WKQX.
- WNIZ - Zion/96.9 Simulcasts WNIB, who had bought this in the early 1990s so they could upgrade poor coverage. Studio at WNIB. Tower on Hwy. 31 just north of Wisconsin line. Former calls: WKZN-FM, WAXO, maybe others?
- WNIZ -- the 1500 up in Zion used this call for a bit in the 1980s, shoehorned between WKZN and WRJR. Now WTAU.
- WNMP -- original calls for Evanston/1590, from late 1940s until about 1970...now WONX.
- WNND - Chicago/100.3 Studio and transmitter at Hancock Bldg. Former calls: WPNT-FM, WXEZ-FM, WLOO, WFMF.
- WNOI -- operated on 102.3 out of Oak Park in the late 40s. By 1953, this would become WOPA-FM, and was eventually shifted to 102.7, now as WVAZ.
- WNTD - Chicago/950 Current call, from 6/99. Have to track down
studio address. Day transmitter site still the old single tower at 16th and Western, while the night array off Torrance Ave. in Burnham is a line of 6 towers. Former calls: WIDB, WZDB, WEJM, WJPC, WGRT, WAAF.
- WNTH - Winnetka/88.1 Student-run rock and alt.rock station at New Trier HS, 385 Winnetka Ave.
- WNUA - Chicago/95.5 Studio is at 444 N. Michigan Ave. #444, and it transmits from the Hancock Bldg. Former calls: WRXR, WMET, WDHF.
- WNUR - Evanston/89.3 Student-run rock, jazz, reggae, creole, talk, etc. station at Northwestern U. Office and transmitter on campus, at 1905 Sheridan Rd. Has been on since at least 1952.
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