|City of license||Chicago, Illinois|
|Branding|| *67-Q (early 1970s)|
*67 WMAQ (mid 1980s)
*WMAQ All News 67 (late 1980s-mid 1990s)
*WMAQ All News 670 (late 1990s-August 1, 2000)
|Slogan||You give us 22 minutes, we'll give you the world (All-News Era from late 1980s-August 1, 2000)|
|First air date||April 13, 1922|
|Format|| Adult standards (1940s-1960s)|
Hot Adult Contemporary (early 1970s)
|Callsign meaning||W e M ust A sk Q uestions|
|Sister stations(s)|| WMAQ-TV (1948-1988)|
WBBM-AM, WBBM-FM, WBBM-TV, WXRT (1994-2000)
|Former callsigns||WGU (1922-?)|
|Affiliations|| NBC Radio (1931-1988)|
CNN Radio (late 1980s-mid 1990s)
|Owner|| Chicago Daily News (1920-1931)|
NBC Radio (1931-1988)
Group W (1988-1994)
CBS Radio (1994-2000)
|Sister Stations|| WMAQ-TV (1948-1988)|
WBBM-AM, WBBM-FM, WBBM-TV, WXRT (1994-2000)
WMAQ was an AM radio station in located in Chicago, Illinois, USA & broadcast @ 670 kHz with 50,000 watts. The station was in existence from 1922 to 2000 & was the oldest surviving broadcast outlet in Chicago. It was a class A clear channel station & could be heard, particularly @ night, over most of the eastern US. WMAQ was a charter affiliate for the CBS Radio Network, but was longest known as a NBC Radio O&O station. It's transmitter was located in Bloomingdale, Illinois just off of Army Trail Road, where it remains to this day. The AM 670 transmitter is now in use by WMAQ's successor, All-Sports Radio WSCR.
WMAQ came to life as WGU on April 13, 1922. The station was formed as a joint venture between Fair Department Store & Chicago Daily News. Technical problems forced the station quickly off the air. Herbert Hoover would inaugurate a new antenna & transmitter & give the station the call letters WMAQ. The station's longtime motto was "We Must Ask Questions," which was derived from this call sign.
WMAQ was the 1st station to broadcast Chicago Cubs games. The 1st game, against the Pittsburgh Pirates, was called by Hal Totten on April 20, 1925.
NBC purchased the station in 1931 as an affiliate. WMAQ carried original local & network programming. Marian & Jim Jordan started @ WMAQ with a local show & later would move on to form Fibber McGee & Molly. Interestingly, during it's 1st months on the air, Fibber McGee & Molly was distributed over NBC's Blue Network, which meant that in Chicago the program was produced @ WMAQ but heard over WLS, 1 of 3 NBC Blue Network affiliates in Chicago @ the time. Amos 'n' Andy was also a popular program.
Sister station WMAQ-TV went on the air in 1948 & moved from an experimental station to a TV pioneer. As TV made waves around the nation, radio stations like WMAQ shifted to recorded music.
1950s & 1960sEdit
During the 1950s & 1960s, they played adult popular music by artists such as Frank Sinatra & Perry Como.
Although the station never shifted completely to Top 40, by the early 1970s, WMAQ's playlist could be considered something of a Hot Adult Contemporary. During the period, WMAQ used the on-air name "67-Q". A 1975 format change to country music saw WMAQ taking on WJJD-AM. The 1st song played under the new format was "Your Cheatin' Heart" by Hank Williams Sr. The station's fortunes were helped in no small part by the infamous "WMAQ is Gonna Make Me Rich!" cash giveaway promotion, which was eventually used on other NBC-owned radio outlets. WMAQ also served as the flagship station for Chicago White Sox broadcasts, mostly @ night, throughout the 1970s & 1980s. Bob Pittman, future head of MTV, was Program Director of WMAQ during it's country period. Ellie Dylan, WMAQ's overnight host, later replaced Don Imus @ WNBC in New York.
As the country format faded in 1985, WMAQ saw a transition to a news/talk format, but that format did not last very long. After 57 years, NBC sold all of their radio stations following RCA's merger with General Electric. NBC sold WMAQ to Group W in 1988. This was Westinghouse's 3rd stint @ station ownership in the Chicago market, having founded KYW before relocating that station to Philadelphia in 1934 & later with WIND from 1955-1985. Group W switched WMAQ to an all-news format of the "give us 22 minutes" variety, patterned after it's more successful all-news outlets in Philadelphia, New York & Los Angeles. Morning anchor Pat Cassidy (now with WLS in Chicago) was on the air when the switch was made to all-news. The news staff included reporters Bill Cameron, Bob Roberts, Lisa Meyer, Larry Langford, Dave Berner, Mike Doyle & Mike Krauser. Chicago news veteran Jim Frank (deceased) was hired as the 1st news director, following a stint @ WIOD in Miami. Other news directors included Bonnie Buck (daughter of late sports broadcaster Jack Buck) & Krauser, who took the same position @ rival WBBM-AM after Viacom shuttered WMAQ & fired the staff.
WMAQ eventually added more long-form news programming & some assorted call-in shows in the late 1990s.
A series of acquisitions in the 1990s, precipitated by the Telecommunications Act of 1996, would eventually doom the station. Westinghouse merged with CBS in 1994, putting WMAQ & WBBM under the same ownership. While both stations were able to successfully run separate news divisions after the 1st buyout, Viacom then purchased CBS in 1999. With the 2nd merger, Viacom exceeded the allowed number of stations in the Chicago market & had to spin several off to different owners.
WMAQ-AM signed off permanently on August 1, 2000, with the final playing of the NBC chimes @ 6 AM CDT (7 AM EDT). Viacom relocated all-sports WSCR from 1160 AM to WMAQ's former dial position @ 670 AM & spun off the 1160 AM frequency to Salem Communications. The WMAQ call sign is still retained to this day by it's former TV sister station WMAQ-TV, ch. 5