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WAIT logo.png
City of license Crystal Lake, Illinois
Branding "The Promise"
Frequency 850 kHz
Format Brokered Religious
Power 2,500 watts (day only)
Class D
Facility ID 53504
Transmitter coordinates 42°15′30.00″N 88°21′48.00″W / 42.2583333°N 88.3633333°W / 42.2583333; -88.3633333
Former callsigns WCPT, WAIT, WIVS, WCLR
Owner Newsweb Corporation

WAIT (850 AM) is a radio station licensed to Crystal Lake, Illinois. It was purchased by Newsweb Corporation in 2003.[1]

The station is licensed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) as a Class D station and broadcasts only during daytime hours.[2] The station is off the air from sunset to sunrise to protect 850 KOA in Denver.

Because of its far northwest suburban location and directional pattern, WAIT covers Rockford, IL, Janesville, WI and Madison, WI in addition to the Chicago market]].[3]


The station first came on the air in the mid 1960s using the call letters WCLR, which stood for Crystal Lake, its city of license.

WIVS years[edit]

In 1969, the station was purchased by Mal Bellairs, a WBBM personality, who changed the daytime only station's call letters to WIVS, standing for wives.[4] As WIVS, the station aired MOR/Easy listening music as well as local talk and community programming.[5] The station's talk shows and music were targeted to the women Bellairs targeted when he worked for WBBM. Bellairs owned the station until 1981.[6][7] Mal Bellairs would continue to host a music and talk show on the station until March 11, 1985, when WIVS began airing a Country music format using programming fed by the Satellite Music Network.[7][8] In December 1985 WIVS's power was increased from 500 watts to 2,500 watts.[9]

850 becomes WAIT[edit]

In April 1986, the original WAIT at 820 kHz, which was best known for its Beautiful music format in the 1950s, '60s and '70s, changed its call letters to WCZE, or "Cozy" radio, now airing an adult pop music format.[10] In May 1986, 850 picked up the WAIT call letters, which originally stood for the station's dial position (Eight).[11] In 1988 the station was sold to Crystal Lake Radio, and the new owners replaced the Country music format with a full service format playing Oldies music.[12][13] By early 1990 the station had adopted a Beautiful music format.[14][15] In 1991, the station was sold to Pride Communications.[16] The station's former owner, Mal Bellairs would return as the station's morning announcer while the station ran a Beautiful Music format.[7]

Adult Standards years[edit]

By 1993, WAIT had adopted an Adult Standards format.[17][18] The station initially aired ABC Radio's satellite-fed Adult Standards format Stardust,[17] and later aired Westwood One's satellite-fed Adult Standards format called "AM Only" (now America's Best Music).[19] WAIT enjoyed ratings success as an Adult Standards station, making it into the top 10 among Chicago area stations and taking a 3.3 audience share in April 1996.[20] At least part of the ratings increase could be attributed to longtime adult standards station WJJD switching to a news/talk format. In October 2000, NextMedia Group purchased WAIT from Pride Communications.[21][22]

Chicagoland's Voice[edit]

Although still enjoying relatively good ratings, WAIT switched from Adult Standards to a News-Talk format branded "Chicagoland's Voice" on January 28, 2002.[23] The station carried longtime talk show host Libby Collins,[24] as well as syndicated hosts including Bill O'Reilly, Mike Gallagher and Michael Savage.[25][26][27] Ratings plummeted after the station's format change, and the station was sold in the fall of 2003.[28]

Newsweb ownership[edit]

On October 31, 2003, Newsweb took ownership of AM 850 WAIT, and the talk format ended on the station.[1] The station began airing brokered programming.[28] On May 5, 2005, AM 850, launched progressive talk with the new call letters WCPT.[11] The WAIT call letters were moved to 820 AM, which until November 25, 2007 was leased by Newsweb to Starboard Broadcasting and was part of the Catholic Relevant Radio network. On November 26, 2007 the WAIT call sign returned to 850 AM and the WCPT call sign moved to 820 AM, along with the progressive talk format.[11] The Catholic talk format that had aired on WAIT 820 was moved to WNTD 950 kHz. WAIT, still owned by Newsweb Corporation, is now a brokered station airing a Spanish-language religious format.


  1. ^ a b Application Search Details fcc.gov. Accessed December 28, 2013
  2. ^ WAIT fcc.gov. Accessed January 8, 2014
  3. ^ Predicted daytime coverage area for WAIT 850 AM, Crystal Lake, IL Radio Locator. Accessed December 29, 2013
  4. ^ Longtime local radio broadcaster Mal Bellairs dies at 90 Northwest Herald. Jul 12, 2010. Accessed December 29, 2013
  5. ^ Stations, everywhere: a listeners' guide to the AM and FM bands Chicago Tribune Magazine. March 4, 1979. Accessed December 29, 2013
  6. ^ Application Search Details fcc.gov. Accessed December 29, 2013
  7. ^ a b c Still Crystal Clear Mal Bellairs Has Maintained A Mellow Spot Kening, Dan. Chicago Tribune. September 13, 1992. Accessed January 6, 2013
  8. ^ Phillips, Lujack May Say G`night To The Mornings Zorn, Eric. Chicago Tribune. February 21, 1985. Accessed January 6, 2014
  9. ^ Application Search Details fcc.gov. Accessed December 29, 2013
  10. ^ Radio`s Satellite Networks Beam With Success Boss, Kit. Chicago Tribune. July 17, 1986. Accessed December 29, 2013
  11. ^ a b c Call Sign History fcc.gov. Accessed December 29, 2013
  12. ^ WAIT 850 AM Dialog Magazine. October 1989. (p. 5) Accessed January 5, 2014.
  13. ^ Application Search Details fcc.gov. Accessed January 5, 2014
  14. ^ WAIT AM 850 Radio Chicago. (p. 36) Winter 1990. Accessed January 5, 2014
  15. ^ It`s A Wasteland Kening, Dan. Chicago Tribune. September 01, 1992. Accessed January 6, 2014
  16. ^ Worth the WAIT: After over a year of negotiations... Lauer, Paula. Chicago Tribune. September 22, 1991. Accessed January 6, 2014
  17. ^ a b Station Formats Chicago Airwaves. (p. 13) August 1993. Accessed January 4, 2014
  18. ^ Station Formats Chicago Airwaves. (p. 13) October 1993. Accessed January 4, 2014
  19. ^ Oldies, Goodies at this station are listeners Borden, Jeff. Crain's Chicago Business. April 5, 1999. Accessed December 29, 2013
  20. ^ WAIT Soars In The Ratings Relying On The Golden Oldies Reich, Howard. Chicago Tribune. May 23, 1996. Accessed December 29, 2013
  21. ^ Suburban Radio Signals Scooped Up By Colorado's Nextmedia Group Kirk, Jim. Chicago Tribune. July 04, 2000. Accessed January 6, 2014
  22. ^ Application Search Details fcc.gov. Accessed January 6, 2014
  23. ^ A format switch has WAIT talking about its future Chicago Tribune. March 11, 2002. Accessed December 28, 2013
  24. ^ No strangers to the format DJHeadlines.com. February 28, 2003. Accessed January 8, 2014
  25. ^ O'Reilly's TV attitude makes leap to radio Chicago Tribune. May 09, 2002. January 8, 2014
  26. ^ Pining for nostalgia? Don't WAIT and hope Chicago Tribune. March 26, 2002. January 8, 2014
  27. ^ The next Rush, Bill, or Sean? DJHeadlines.com. February 19, 2003. Accessed January 8, 2014
  28. ^ a b Time-brokered format awaits WAIT's new owner Feder, Robert. Chicago Sun Times. September 18, 2003. Accessed January 8, 2014

External links[edit]