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Big 89 Countdowns


Great website.  It took me back to the early 70’s, sitting in my Dad’s pickup, tuning in to WLS to hear all the great music that was coming into “my world” from “out there.”

I grew up in a very small town in Western Kansas, and all I listened to religiously, was WLS and AM1520 KOMA out of Oklahoma City.  WLS rocked the most, though, and the music I heard then was my “training” for later becoming a touring musician on the road in the 80’s to current.

Until I started playing gigs on New Year’s Eve, the absolute THING to do, was sit and talk on the phone with my girlfriend, while we both listened to the Big 89 countdown on New Year’s Eve.  I can still hear her radio through the phone, with mine turned down low so Mom & Dad wouldn’t hear me up that “late,” and so I could hear her talk.  We lived for those times.  For three years, ’79, ’80, & ’81, we would do the same thing, and then, the following year, her dad would let her sit in the car with me in their driveway, while we listened to the year-end show.  My first car…My first girlfriend…and WLS.

She has since passed away, but I will always remember those countdowns.  The thing that we waited for with great anticipation was the countdown medley of songs that would play “bites” from the previous years countdowns, through the current year.

Thanks for your time…I appreciate all you’ve been doing.  May God bless you and your family in the approaching new year, and all the years to come.


– Terry Wright
Topeka, Kansas

WLS Surveys

WOW what a great site!!!!!

I teach music in Winfield Illinois. One of our final projects for our General Music class is to research and find a top10 form an important date in their or their parents lives, print the list and make a compilation of the music to give to that person. Will you soon have the surveys available on-line so we can find specific dates for each survey. I know it is a huge task and I am currently building a resource database for my kids. I WILL be directing them to this site for future reference.

Thanks for all of your future help to the students at Winfield School.


– Bob Siemienkowicz,
Director of Music Winfield School District 34

Bob, you can find all the surveys through an agreement we have set up with Bill Danning and his Oldiesloon. They can be found here in the WLS Survey section.

Steve Lundy

Hi Scott,

Great site, but difficult to believe there’s no tape of Steve Lundy available. Do you know anyone that has an aircheck of him on WLS?

A “tough one to find” is an understatement. There’s zero out there of Lundy on WLS amongst collectors. I’ve been searching long & hard. Outside of a couple of short breaks — the ones one on the Reelradio composites, I have a couple other breaks on WLS that I recorded myself way back when (along with Gary Gears, and a beautiful quality 60 min Landecker). Even though there are other airchecks of him on other stations available — there was nothing like Steve Lundy on WLS. I’m thinking the only untapped source of him is from the general public in the Chicago area. In this regard, would you consider placing an appeal to the browsers on your site to come forth if they have some early seventies tapes in their house. I don’t know if you feel strongly enough about this to proceed this way but I know this is truly a rare situation — I don’t know of any similar situation where there’s not a single aircheck available of a major performer at a big league station. Lundy was hitting on all cylinders in Chicago at a time when the Big 89 was also hitting a peak. There may have been other rockers as good — but no one better. No Lundy on WLS — absolutely outrageous!

I know you loved WLS the way I did. I think you may be the only one who can help in a significant way beyond this point.

Thanks Scott.

I’m frustrated …Wayne McAteer

Wayne, Let’s see what our great audience can come up with. Any Steve Lundy airchecks out there? Reply here! In the meantime, check out a tribute to Steve here.



Dick Biondi


I’m 49 years old. listened to WLS as a kid, teen-ager,etc. A lot of memories. Grew up in Braidwood, Illinois.  Remembered Dick Biondi coming to some of our sock hops in the 60’s. Sang with him on stage a few times. he came out on the dance floor, danced with us, talked to us.  Just soooo many good-old memories with him and all the WLS jockeys.

Thanks for  all the good-old memories WLS!!

– Kathi

Ted Lauterbach


I just wanted to say thanks for the effort you have put into keeping alive the memory of the nation’s greatest radio station. I can tell you that you have devoted more effort to keeping the faith than a lot of the programmers who were “in charge” of the place over the years.  It was quite an experience working at the Rock and WDAI-WLS-FM.  It was a responsibility I never took lightly. Thanks again for your work. 

Just Me,

– Ted Lauterbach        

Jerry Mitchell

Hey Scott!

I really really love the radio website! The time you took to build it was painstaking, I’m sure, but well worth it for us old timers!  I was only able to glance at it for about 1/2 hour-can’t wait to dive into it.

Footnote: I had the privilege of working with Jerry Mitchell @ WYLL- he was a former newsman for WLS when they were still a farm station, and the gentleman had plenty of stories to tell- we lost him in 2000, sad to say.

Have a great day-you’ve made mine with this website!


– Larry Riggs,
Schaumburg, Illinois



Short note to thank you for the great WLS pages. I was jocking in Thunder Bay Ontario when WLS went contemporary.  They banged right up Lake Michigan and Superior and man I wanted to work there.  Well I didn’t but did get to work with Sam Holman when he assembled a crew to set up CKLG Vancouver.   He and I became good friends and would work together again at WOHO Toledo.  Although only some 35 miles from downtown Detroit, I have Pulse pages showing us knocking off CKLW in shared counties.  The crew that he brought together still are all close.  Craig Edwards who is Ops. Dir. for Metro Networks in L.A., Jim Meeker later at KWIZ and PD at KRLA LA and Al Vanik (Gary Mitchell) who languishes now in Hawaii doing voice runs for TV stations.  Sam was a tremendously generous person with both his time and love for radio.  We all miss him a lot I will alert his son and daughter of this tribute.


– Russ Simpson
Vancouver B.C.


Hi Scott,

After reading the WLS history on your web site what can I say but WOW!  Great job!!  Like so many of the other readers that wrote, I too grew up in the Chicago land area in the 60’s and 70’s and still live in the area.  WLS was a big part of my life.  I remember meeting Art Roberts at Camp Henery Horner (Ingleside) when I was in 4th grade.  I still have a picture someone took when I was standing with Art.  How blessed we were to have TWO 50,000 watt power house stations to listen to in the 60’s and 70’s.  My fondest memories were listening to Larry Lujack in the morning on the school bus on the way to High School (klunk letter and all).  I pull out some of my old WLS airchecks, put the headphones on, sit back and close my eyes….I’m in a different time.

Thank you for all the inside information and the memories.


-Rick Johnson
Oldies 96.7 WKMQ Rockford, Illinois


Hi Scott:

Our teen years, growing up in the mid-west wouldn’t have been the same without the Big 89-WLS.  So many memories, fondly reflected and re-lived, just by viewing your site.  You have assembled so much information and displayed it in an excellent and organized fashion. Thank You!!

Actually I happened upon your site while searching for a source from which I can purchase bits of WLS history.  I’m looking for a vendor who has available recordings from 1967-70.  I’m interested in the Fri/Sat shows, say from 8pm – 2am, when all the top hits of that time were played.  Tunes that we listened to while crusing the strips.  Also, looking for the year end count downs of the same years.  Its seems these recordings from one of the Country’s greatest stations would be available from someone…somewhere.  I would think there would be a wide market for such tapes.  Any help, or direction you can give me would be greatly appreciated!!!!!!!

Again, you have a remarkable site…..well done!!


– Pete,

Pete, a great place to start is Uncle Ricky’s Radio Repository! (  If you are looking for something more portable, I’d suggest hooking up with some of the many aircheck traders on the internet or eBay.  Most of them are very cordial to deal with, although most prefer trades over purchases.   ~Scott