Thank you for making this website available. I was able to take a trip down memory lane. WLS was my school days radio station. I have a CD of Cruisin’ 1970. Which featured Kris Eric Stevens. And of course my Animal Stories collection. I used to have a cassette recording of WLS’ Tribute to Jim Croce. Did you know that on the T.V. Series WKRP, on the wall of the program director (Andy Travis) was a bumper sticker of WLS and Animal Stories. Well anyway, thanks again for making my day.
Sincerely yours a WLS die hard fan,
– Joe L. Babb
Back in 1975, I was a freshman at Lyons Township high School in LaGrange, IL. I joined the student owned station WLTL 88.1 FM. We were able to broadcast our voices and music just like the Chicago legends. We only had 10 watts but it was a great time. I remember going down and obtaining my third class license. We had classes in broadcasting. On the way back we stop for a tour of WLS. We met Superjock Larry Lujack. I remember him telling us that radio was a great job and we had to be good little boys and girls if we wanted to be on the radio. Ha Ha, This was before the internet. I really enjoyed your website.
By the way what ever became of Captain Whammo from WMET. We never knew his real name.
– Marty Farraher
Marty, Captain Whammo’s real name is Jim Channell and after switching from rock to religious music many years ago, the last we heard was that Jim is off the air and heading up a ministry in Florida -Scott
I happened to stumble into your website. Really great reading and easy to navigate. I enjoyed getting the history of 94.7, and seeing the names and faces of all the stations. Kind of wish I grew up with Chicago radio, the more I read about it. You’ve done a great service to the legends and to anyone who loves radio, past or present. I’ll be back again for the Dahl page and WMAQ and more.
Nice web site. Thank you! I’m a “retired” broadcaster. Worked at several stations here in Minneapolis in my radio days. Radio is still a fascinating medium, especially technically. Best To You in a tough biz!
– Jim Stokes
formerly, WLOL-FM, “The Twin Cities Voice of Classical Music”
One of my listeners directed me to your website and I was absolutely blown away. I spent several hours going through the audio, the articles and all the memories. It’s nice to see WLS portrayed in the way you did. It was a MAJOR part of my childhood and one of the reasons I decided to become an announcer. Lujack, Landecker, Sirott, Edwards, Davis and King were mainstays in my voratious broadcasting appetite when I was a teen growing up in NW Indiana. Once again a great site and keep up the great work.
– Rik Anthony
National Host/ Sr. Producer All Star Radio Networks
Thanks for including me in to the Where Are They Now segment. I was the production manager of WLS during 1969 to 1971 while Mike McCormick was Program Director.
I’m now running a marketing, syndication and sponsorship sales company in Los Angeles, CA. By the way, I have a lot of WLS production stuff in my storage bin. Particularly lots of PSA’s and station imaging I did with Joel Sebastian, Steve Lundy and Fred Winston. In fact, I did tons of pop PSA’s and built the tags with Lundy that said, “WLS says a lot for Chicago” and WLS getting it said for Chicago”. It was fun because I used to hear other stations around the country imitate not only the PSA’s but also the tags that Lundy did. In fact there was this guy in Charlotte at WBT, Tom McMurray, that used to recreate the stuff word for word, note for note. Incredible. I would’ve just sent them to him.
– Jim Hampton
Former WLS Production Director
Greenhouse Marketing Group
Jim Hampton on the air at WXYZ Detroit in 1966
I read with interest your information on WLS-FM. WENR-FM also has an interesting history. From the mid 1940s until 1955, when WENR-AM merged with WLS-AM, and WLS-AM went fulltime, WENR-FM simulcast WENR-AM. After that, to keep the license, WENR-FM simulcast the sound of sister station WBKB-TV for a few years. Then it aired five hours a day of ABC Radio programming. Finally, WENR broadcast five hours a day of classical music, jazz, Broadway music and background music. The station was computerized and operated out of a broom closet at WBKB at 190 N. State St. Becoming WLS-FM, the station moved to 360 N. Michigan Ave., the home of WLS-AM. Some of the DJ’s there did double duty, working the station breaks at WBKB and doing air time on WLS-FM. One such person was Don Ferris, who had worked at Channel 11 and did a jazz show at WXFM. Ferris returned to channel 11 and recently retired from there.
I am presently writing a book on the history of Chicago radio: 1922 to the present time and hope to get it published by the end of the year.
-Kenneth R. Masson
My name is Prairie Farmer. And no I am not kidding. I was researching the internet for the “Prairie Farmer magazine” and came across your web-site for the “Prairie Farmer Days” and was amazed. I never knew that my name had circled around so many things. I thought I would write a letter to tell you that well my name is Prairie Farmer, and people are quite shocked to know that there actually is one. Surprising enough, I’m not far from Chicago. I’m about 3 hours south. I visit some family in Crystal Lake every year. Thank you for your time!
– Prairie Farmer
This will sound like a funny question, but do you know where that picture of the WLS Magic Bus was taken?
At the resolution it’s scanned at, it’s hard to tell, but there’s a kid in that picture who looks a lot like I did back then, and although it’s been a while since I’ve been there, it reminds me an awful lot of the north parking lot at Mitchell Park in Deerfield, where the Magic Bus often used to visit on its trips up to Deerfield… I don’t suppose you’ve got a higher-resolution scan of that picture available, do you?
Great site, by the way. Once upon a time, I used to spend countless hours at the 5th floor window of the Stone Container Building just watching the jocks do their thing. WLS was my inspiration to get into the radio business… I’ve been “in the biz” for 22 years now!
– Jeff Axelrod
Los Angeles, California
Hey Jeff, Unfortunately that is the only copy that I have of that picture, but you never know – it could be you! Just like you, I spent many a summer following around the Magic Bus and hanging out on the 5th floor as well. I have been in the radio biz since 1988! -Scott
I just finished reading every page and listening to every link on your great WLS web site. I was a kid growing up in the ’60s and ’70s and my back yard adjoined the huge field just west of Tinley Park where the WLS transmitting tower was (and is) located. All of the kids use to climb the fence and “play war” while daring each other to go closer to the tower. We never got up the nerve to actually walk ALL the way up to it! What a kick as a kid to listen to guys like Lujack and Landecker on the radio while staring out my bedroom window at that huge hulking tower. My brother and I grew up watching lightning strike it during thunderstorms and were “shocked and awed” as the guide wires sparkled and flashed with its power. The station was so strong that we use to pick up “The Rock of Chicago” through our heating ducts on a regular basis. My neighbor got it through her mix master and the entire neighborhood got it through their telephone at one time or another.
It was a great era and a great station. Thanks for the memories!
Ron, Thanks so much for the memories! I am VERY glad that you and your friends did not get the nerve to get near the tower, because we probably would not be getting your email today! You probably would have been fried, just like the bugs in a bug zapper! A 50,000 watt AM tower radiates it’s whole length and can be very dangerous. Glad you passed on your great story! -Scott