Chicago's Oldest Radio Station
of some of WMAQ's earliest personalities. It includes include (starting at the
top left and reading clockwise) the Whitney
Sherman and Russell Pratt in 1927 with studio director Roy Hasenbalg; Georgene
Faulkner ("The Story Lady") broadcasting in 1924; and Hal
Totten in 1925 doing one of the earliest play-by-play broadcasts from Wrigley
Field with engineer Lewis Rice.
WMAQ became, by default, Chicago's oldest radio station in 1934
when Westinghouse transferred the license of KYW to Philadelphia.
(WGN remained---and still remains---the city's oldest station
under its original ownership.) WMAQ celebrated its seventy-fifth
anniversary in 1997.
was originally licensed to the Chicago Daily News and
the Fair Store (a Loop department store). The station was purchased
by NBC in 1931 (the network's second Chicago acquisition) and
remained a key NBC owned-and-operated station until General
Electric (which purchased RCA, NBC's parent, in 1985) sold it
to Group W on February 1st, 1988.
By following the links below you can:
the WMAQ studios in the La Salle Hotel in the 1920's.
a previously unpublished history of WMAQ covering the
first seventeen years of the station's history.
- Learn about Judith Waller, Chicago's
"First Lady of Radio". She was WMAQ's first
manager and, after NBC's purchase of the station in 1931,
became the director of public affairs programming for the
network's Central Division. Ms. Waller's innovations made
an indelible mark on the medium. You can read her recollections
of WMAQ's earliest days and look at snapshots from her photo
Amos 'n' Andy (the alter egos of Freeman Gosden and Charles
Correll), the biggest stars of WMAQ's early days.
how NBC acquired WMAQ.
about W9XAP, WMAQ's experimental television station.
how WMAQ celebrated its twenty-fifth anniversary in 1947.
This link will take you to an HTML version of anniversary
material in the April, 1947 edition of The Chain Break,
NBC-Chicago's in-house newsletter. Included are a brief station
history, along with articles that recount WMAQ's numerous
broadcasting innovations and list the famous performers who
made their radio debuts on the station. You can get a preview
of the WMAQ's gala twenty-fifth anniversary broadcast. And
you can read telegrams from famous station alumni. (The celebration
of WMAQ's golden anniverary was remarkable for its absence).
to an episode of "Uncle Ned's Squadron" from November
11, 1950. Quality youth programming featuring Ned Locke
(later of WGN-TV's "Bozo's Circus") and his co-pilot,
Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie, WMAQ's first African American
Jack Eigen, pioneer of the late-night radio talk show.
Johnny Erp, legendary sportscaster.
video documenting the demise of WMAQ. (Infinity Broadcasting
retired the WMAQ call letters on August 1, 2000 and moved
WSCR, its sports-talk operation, to the 670 kHz channel.)
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