Happy 100th Anniversary to WGN 720 Chicago!
WGN is a 50,000-watt, non-directional, clear channel Class A station, licensed to Chicago, illinois. WGN used to be easily heard here in Southern California in the 1980s when KDWN Las Vegas would take Monday morning silent periods.
WGN 720 in Chicago signed on the air 100 years ago today — May 19, 1922 — as WDAP. The radio station was originally located in the Wrigley Building.
The Chicago Tribune purchased WDAP, and on June 1, 1924, renamed it WGN. The call letters stood for “World’s Greatest Newspaper,” a slogan the newspaper used since 1911.
The WGN call letters were in use by a Great Lakes vessel, but the skipper agreed to relinquish them so the newspaper could use them for the radio station.
Wikipedia says: “Early programming was noted for its creativity and innovation. It included live music, political debates, comedy routines, and some of radio’s first sporting event broadcasts, including the 1924 Indianapolis 500, and a live broadcast of the 1925 Scopes Trial from Dayton, Tennessee.”
In 1934, WGN became a founding member of the Mutual Broadcasting System. Previously the station was affiliated with NBC and CBS.
Over many decades, WGN aired middle of the road music until the 1970s, when its switched to adult contemporary. Music programming was phased out during the 1980s, and by 1990, the station’s lineup mainly consisted of talk shows.
“100 Years of WGN Radio: A Retrospective” will air Thursday, May 19 at 7 pm CT and Sunday, May 22 at 2 PM CT on WGN-TV. The video will also be available for on-demand viewing on wgnradio.com beginning Friday, May 20.
Steve Mittman to MWDX – The National Radio Club FB group (2022-05-20)