In making its debut, the infant WNBQ joined its sister AM radio station WMAQ, which occupied an honored position as a pioneer station and NBC's Chicago flagship radio station since November of 1931. In a larger sense, however, it was carrying on the NBC tradition of broadcast pioneering, so ably begun in Chicago by WMAQ.

Right: WMAQ's first radio studio was a drapery decked room on the top floor of The Fair department store on State Street.
WMAQ studio in 1922

Pratt, Sherman, Rudolph Left: The Three Doctors---Pratt, Sherman and Rudolph were featured on radio's popular 'Club Matinee' from NBC Chicago.

WMAQ was Chicago's second radio station, going on the air April I2, 1922 under the joint ownership of the Fair Store and the Chicago Daily News. Its heritage is not only that of a pioneer radio station, but also as an incubator of talent which became world-renowned.

Right: NBC Chicago's Studio A was the most modern and elegant in the early 1930's. Studio A

Fred Waring's Pennsylvanians made their first broadcast over WMAQ. So did George Arliss, Ben Hecht, Red Skelton and a five-year-old youngster named Jackie Coogan.

WMAQ introduced such radio stars as Amos 'n' Andy, Fibber McGee and Molly, the Great Gildersleeve and the Ameche brothers, Don and Jim.

Marian and Jim Jordan
Left: Marian and Jim Jordan, better known as Fibber McGee and Molly, got their start in broadcasting on WMAQ Radio.

The station was the birthplace of the daytime serial drama-the 'soap opera', beloved of America's housewives and in 1928 was the first station to broadcast a trans-Atlantic conversation between John Gunther, then London correspondent of the Chicago Daily News, and Hal O'Flaherty, foreign news editor of that newspaper.

The "umbrella" radio mobile unit of the 1930's (above) attracted as much attention in its time as the sleek new Channel 5 Video Tape Mobile Unit (below) equipped with the color camera for on location taping.

WMAQ also played an early role in the development of television with its experimental transmitter W9XAP, established in August, 1930. The wavering 45-line picture (compared to today's 525-line image) featured such established radio stars as Sportscaster Hal Totten and Irene Wicker, the Singing Lady.

Return to the Channel 5 20th anniversary booklet index

Introduction and main index to this site
WMAQ radio history | "Amos 'n' Andy" | "Fibber McGee and Mollie" | "The Breakfast Club"
Dick Kay | Television at the Merchandise Mart | 1970 television facilities tour | Channel 5 turns 20
The "Chicago School" of television | "Kukla, Fran and Ollie" | Dave Garroway | Mary Hartline
"Lights Out" | Sound effects | 1930 studio tour | WLS | "Empire Builders" | Barry Bernson
Floyd Kalber | The Queen of Love and Beauty | "Today's Children" | Staff announcers | Carol Marin
Ron Magers | Studs Terkel l "Chicago Tonight" | Channel 5 News scrapbooks |Roger Miller recalls
Zoo Parade | Clifton and Frayne Utley | Val Press | Len O'Connor | Johnny Erp | Bill Ray | Daddy-O
Experimental Television: 1930-1933 | Bob Deservi | Kermit Slobb | Ding Dong School | Quiz Kids
Bob Lemon | The Korshak Chronicles | KYW: The Chicago Years | WENR | O.B. Hanson | Renzo
Jack Eigen | Ed Grennan | The World's Best Cup of Coffee | Glenn Webster | Mr. Piano | Hawkins Falls
Chicago Television for Kids |
Radio Hall of Fame |The NBC News Night Report: 23 February, 1967
Audio and video downloads
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