WLS AM AND WCFL IN CHICAGO
This feature was created by our DIGITAL SAVIORS CHICAGO. We’re a five-star rated operation that digitizes VHS tapes, all audio tapes, slides, negatives, 8mm film reels, DAT tapes, reel-to-reel tapes, photos, documents, books, magazines, video leftover on old camcorders, cellphones, tablets and a whole lot more. All the great surveys you’re going to see in this feature (below) were scanned by our Digital Saviors Chicago and I can tell you, many of them were in horrendous shape so we were pretty happy we were able to tweak them all so you can enjoy them all.
Call our Digital Saviors Chicago at 815-556-2685 for more information on how we can transfer your old videotapes and more to digital formats or visit our website at http://digitalsaviorschicago.com for more information.
Back in the day, we had so many charts to measure where our favorite movies, tv shows and music stood in their popularity.
Growing up in Chicago, we had great radio stations with great, legendary iconic DJs throughout the 60s, 70s and 80s. There were ‘urban’ stations like WJPC and others with a lineup that was out of sight! DJs like Tom Joyner, B B D Banana, Richard Pegue, LaDonna Tittle, Harold Lee Rush, Doug Banks, Bob Wall, Barbara Stanek, Veronique, Marco Spoon, Evan Luck, Irene Mojica, Sid McCoy, Radio Hall of Famer, the late Herb Kent. For more information on all that click HERE and HERE.
Now, let’s get into it. Back in the day, there were really two powerhouse AM radio stations duking it out for superiority with the kids in the 60s and 70s – WLS and WCFL. Both stations fought to the end and in the end, only one would be left standing and it would be WLS. For those who didn’t know, WLS stood for, “world’s largest store,” after its owner, Sears, Roebuck & Co. in 1924. Four years later, Sears sold it to the Prairie Farmer newspaper, which made its Barn Dance a national hit. WLS at its peak reached 38 states and would be known as the Big 89, 890 AM, Music Radio WLS.
WCFL (Super CFL) was owned by the Chicago Federation of Labor and sat on the AM dial at AM 1000, their coverage at night was literally every state east. For a great history of WCFL, click here In their run as a top 40 station, WCFL issued almost 500 weekly music surveys (1966 to 1976) and we have 25% of them for you to enjoy below. WCFL’s run as a top 40 competitor to WLS would come to an end on March 15, 1976. FM was starting to make inroads and within 10 years, AM radio was no longer the choice of teens for music.
Both stations had some of the greatest personalities we all knew and loved. John Records Landecker, Bob Dearborn, Jeff Davis, Tim Kelly, Yvonne Daniels, Bob Sirott, Dick Biondi, Tommy Edwards, the list goes on and on however, the kingpin, the name all remember… the ringmaster of them all who worked at both radio stations, another Radio Hall of Famer, Uncle Lair… Larry Lujack.
From May of 2000 til about Jan of 2001, 103.5 FM, Chicago’s “Jammin’ Oldies” station brought Larry Lujack back to Chicago radio after he had retired comfortably in Santa Fe New Mexico. Every Saturday morning, I’d get up early and get ready for the show from May of 2000 til Jan of 2001 (I think that was the run). I was far ahead of many in understanding streaming so I was asked to produce the online stream and coordinate with him and the studio in Chicago for the show. I gotta tell ya, he was a hoot to work with! In between breaks and songs, we’d be talking, he’d be complaining about things that bugged him… like the internet and email, my God he hated email LOL. Through all that, he was a blast to work with – in that short period of time, at least for me., it really was an honor in many ways. Who me be? Sal Amato, I run this shindig here as well as a bunch of other things.
Below are some great air checks, interviews, jingles and more great stuff to take you back over 55 years [in some cases].
For a look at all those great old surveys, visit our Digital Saviors Chicago Facebook page at http://facebook.com/digitalsaviorschicago. When our Digital Saviors Chicago received those old surveys from a client, they looked like someone ate dinner on them, then crunched them up to throw in the garbage so we worked pretty damn hard to make them presentable.
For an amazing history of WLS put together by Scott Childers, click here, he really did an amazing job on it all.