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WGN
City of license Chicago, Illinois
Broadcast Chicagoland
Branding WGN Radio 720
Slogan "The Voice of Chicago"
Frequency 720 kHz
First air date May 19, 1922 (WDAP)
March 29, 1924 (first Tribune/WGN)
June 1, 1924 (WDAP becomes WGN)
Format News/Talk/Sports
Power 50,000 Watts
Class A (clear channel)
Facility ID 72114
Callsign meaning World's Greatest Newspaper
Sister stations(s) WGN-TV
Former callsigns WDAP (1922-1924)
Affiliations ABC News
Owner Tribune Company
(WGN Continental Broadcasting Co.)
Sister Stations WGN-TV
Webcast Listen Live to WGN Radio 720
Website WGN-AM's Website

WGN (720 AM) is a radio station in Chicago, Illinois, USA. It's owned by the Tribune Company, which also owns the flagship TV station WGN-TV, the Chicago Tribune newspaper & Chicago magazine locally. WGN's transmitter is located in Elk Grove Village, Illinois. The station has a news/talk format & is the flagship station of the Chicago Cubs, the Chicago Blackhawks, Northwestern University football & men's basketball & was the longtime flagship station of Paul Harvey until his death on February 28, 2009. WGN is usually the top rated radio station in Chicago & is 1 of only a handful of American talk radio stations to have all of it's programming originating locally.

Since around 1990, WGN has been mainly a news/talk radio station. WGN broadcasts news, weather, traffic & sports every hour. Pat Hughes & Ron Santo serve as the play-by-play team for all games of the Chicago Cubs & the broadcasts are known as the Pat & Ron Show. WGN is also the radio home of Northwestern Wildcats football & basketball games.

WGN is a high-powered clear channel AM station (50,000 watts), which during nighttime hours is often audible over much of the USA, parts of Canada & sometimes as far away as Australia & South America. The station also has a 24/7 Internet stream on it's website, which carries the station's broadcast programming except for commercial breaks & Cubs games, when public service announcements, station promotions, host-read commercials & alternate programming, is played instead.

WGN is responsible for activation of the Chicagoland Emergency Alert System when hazardous weather alerts, disaster area declarations & child abductions are issued.

HistoryEdit

The predecessor to the current WGN was WDAP, which was started on May 19, 1922, by Thorne Donnelley & Elliott Jenkins. Starting in the Wrigley Building, they moved the station to the Drake Hotel in July.

On May 12 1923, Zenith Radio Company began broadcasting with the callsign WJAZ from the Edgewater Beach Hotel. From March 29-May 9 1924, this was the first station operated by the Chicago Tribune & the first to carry the call sign WGN, which the Tribune had obtained from a Great Lakes ship station to match it's slogan, "World's Greatest Newspaper". However, after this brief period, the Tribune switched it's operations to WDAP & the Zenith station became WEBH, eventually being deleted from the license rolls on November 30, 1928.

The Tribune took control of the Drake Hotel station in May, 1924 & on June 1 1924, WDAP officially changed it's callsign to WGN, which has remained since. To underscore the relationship in the Tribune radio listings, the station was listed as "W-G-N", while other stations were listed without hyphens.

Early programming was noted for it's creativity & innovation. It included live music, political debates, comedy routines & some of radio's first broadcasts of sporting events, including the Indianapolis 500 automobile race & a live broadcast of the 1925 Scopes Trial from Dayton, Tennessee. In 1926, WGN broadcast Sam & Henry, a daily serial with comic elements created & performed by Freeman Gosden & Charles Correll. After a dispute with the station in 1927, Gosden & Correll took the program's concept & announcer Bill Hay across town to WMAQ & created the first syndicated radio show in history, Amos 'n' Andy.

WGN was a founding member of the Mutual Broadcasting System.

In November 1958, WGN became the first radio station in Chicago to broadcast helicopter traffic reports featuring Police Officer Leonard Baldy.

Over many decades, WGN was a "full service" radio station. The station played small amounts of music during mornings & afternoons, moderate amounts of music on weekends during the day, had midday & evening talk shows & sports among other features. The station's music was easy listening/Middle of the road (MOR)-based until the 1970s, when the music was more of an adult contemporary-type sound. The music played @ the station was phased out during the 1980s & by 1990, the station's lineup mainly consisted of talk shows.

Some former well-known personalities on the station include longtime morning hosts Wally Phillips, Bob Collins, Spike O'Dell, Paul Harvey & Roy Leonard. Orion Samuelson has been the station's farm reporter since 1960.

Recent eventsEdit

In 2005, Tom Langmyer joined WGN as VP & GM. Langmyer was previously VP & GM of KMOX Radio in St. Louis & VP-Programming of CBS Radio's 10 news/talk stations.

In the same year, WGN hired a new program director, Len Weiner, who held the same title with WMVP-AM, the Chicago affiliate to the ESPN Radio network. Not long after his arrival to WGN, the station added a new slogan, "The Voice of Chicago", which is still used today. Previously, WGN had branded themselves as "Chicago's News & Talk, Radio 720 WGN". Weiner's tenure with the station lasted about a year, before leaving to head the Boston ESPN Radio affiliate.

Not long after Weiener's departure, WGN added "news/talk" to their name & began identifying themselves as "The Voice of Chicago, News/Talk 720 WGN". WGN now identified themselves as "The Voice of Chicago, News/Talk 720 WGN"

On April 30 2008, the station announced a 3-year deal making WGN radio "The Voice of the Chicago Blackhawks", bringing NHL hockey to the station through the 2010-2011 seasons.

In October 2008, after a 10-year partnership with The Weather Channel to provide the station's weather forecasts, the station began to air forecasts prepared by Tom Skilling & other members of WGN-TV's weather staff.

WGN morning host, Spike O'Dell retired from radio & WGN moved then midday host, John Williams to mornings. William's old spot, 1-4 PM was now vacant. WGN opted to leave that spot vacant for several months, while having other WGN hosts fill-in on a rotating basis, including weekend host Nick Digilio & Bob Sirott, who hosts "The Noon Show" on the same station, in addition to a weekend program (he also is a prominent news anchor, now working for NBC 5 Chicago).

In March, long-time Chicago radio host, Garry Meier was given an audition for the 1-4 PM slot. Meier hosted 4 shows, which is believed to have caused a surge of excitement for the station among younger people, who traditionally never listened to that station. Chicago media message boards exploded with traffic & posts, many excited over a possible permanent Meier presence on the Chicago talk station. After the 4 Meier auditions, Jerry Springer was given 4 days to "guest host" as well as Rita Cosby a few weeks later.

On April 2, WGN announced that Garry Meier would now be the permanent host of the 1-4 PM slot, weekdays. Meier's first official show was Friday April 2, 2009. Meier's show will air each weekday when not pre-empted by Chicago Cubs broadcasts.

On May 22 2009, WGN announced that the Kathy & Judy Show was being canceled @ the end of that day's show. The final show was largely a retrospective of the 20 years that the show was on WGN radio. This follows shortly after the replacement of much of the station's weekend lineup.

On June 15 2009, the station announced that Greg Jarrett would be joining the station on June 22, 2009 as it's new morning-drive host, with John Williams being shifted to Kathy & Judy's old time slot.

Current LineupEdit

Monday-Thursday

Time (Cst) Show/Host
5-9 AM Greg Jarett
9 AM-Noon John Williams
Noon-1 PM The Noon Show with Bob Sirott
1-4 PM Garry Meier
4-7 PM Steve Cochran
7-9 PM Sports Central with David Kaplan
9-11 PM Extension 720 with Milt Rosenberg
11 PM-5 AM Steve & Johnnie "Life After Dark"

Friday

Time (Cst) Show/Host
5-9 AM Greg Jarett
9 AM-Noon John Williams
Noon-1 PM The Noon Show with Bob Sirott
1-4 PM Garry Meier
4-7 PM Steve Cochran
7-9 PM Sports Central with David Kaplan
9-11 PM Extension 720 with Milt Rosenberg
11 PM-2 AM Nick Digilio
2-5 AM WGN Overnight - Brian Noonan

Saturday

Time (Cst) Show/Host
5-6 AM Morning Show - Orion Samuelson and Max Armstrong
6-9 AM Mr. Fix-It - Lou Manfredini
9 AM-1 PM Jerry Agar
1-5 PM News Junkie - Shawn Wasson
5-9 PM Jerry Agar
9 PM-1 AM Nick Digilio
1-5 AM WGN Overnight - Brian Noonan

Sunday

Time (Cst) Show/Host
5-5:30 AM Great Outdoors - Charlie Potter
5:30-6 AM Love Changes Life
6-6:30 AM Lutheran Hour
6:30-9 AM Sunday Papers with Rick Kogan
9 AM-Noon Dean Richards (11 AM-Noon Food Time)
Noon-4 PM Jerry Agar
4-6 PM News Junkie - Shawn Wasson
6-9 PM Simon Rendezvous - Simon Badinter
9-10 PM Legally Speaking - Adamski & Conti
10-11 PM The Sunday Night Radio Special - Bob Sirott & Marianne Murciano
11 PM-2 AM Nick Digilio
2-5 AM Steve & Johnnie

External linksEdit

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