|City of license||Chicago, Illinois, United States|
|Broadcast area||Chicago metropolitan area|
|Branding||Newsradio 780 and 105.9 FM, WBBM|
|Frequency||780 kHz(also on HD Radio)|
|First air date||February 6, 1924Lincoln, Illinois; moved to Chicago in 1925)(in|
|Class||A (Clear channel)|
|Callsign meaning||World's Best Battery Maker (referring to Mallory Battery Company)
We Broadcast Better Music (from a past slogan)
World's Best Broadcast Medium
|Former frequencies||1330 AM (1924–1926)
770 AM (1926–1941)
|Affiliations||CBS Radio Network
(which also includes CBS News)
(CBS Radio East Inc.)
|Sister stations||WBBM-FM, WBBM-TV, WCFS-FM, WJMK-FM, WSCR, WUSN, WXRT|
'WBBM, 780 AM, is an all-news radio station located in Chicago, Illinois, United States. The station is owned by the CBS Radio division of CBS Corporation. The station's studios are located in the combined CBS Radio facility at Two Prudential Plaza in the Loop neighborhood, and its transmitter is located in Itasca. WBBM broadcasts on a clear channel AM frequency, and is an affiliate of the CBS Radio Network.
Since August 1, 2011, WBBM's programming has been simulcast over sister station WCFS-FM (105.9). The FM station's call letters were retained and should not be confused with WBBM-FM (96.3), a heritage rhythmic contemporary station; WCFS's former adult contemporary format was retained in an automated form over its HD2 subchannel.
The station traces its history to 1911, when Leslie and Ralph Atlass, owners of the Mallory Battery Company of Lincoln, Illinois began an amateur spark station. In 1924, it received a commercial license and was assigned the frequency of 1330 AM. It also received its current call letters, which stand for World's Best Battery Maker. In later years, an alternate meaning, "We Broadcast Better Music," was created.
The Atlasses sold their battery company in 1924 to devote their full attention to WBBM, and moved to Chicago that same year. It became a charter CBS affiliate in 1928. The new network liked what it saw in the station, and bought a controlling interest in 1929. Leslie Atlass remained station manager with a 33 percent interest. CBS bought the remaining stock in 1933. As part of the deal, Atlass became vice president of CBS' Central Division while remaining station manager of WBBM – positions he continued to hold until his retirement in 1959. A series of transmitter power increases over the years culminated in its current effective radiated power of 50,000 watts in 1935, allowing the station to cover much of North America at night. The station operated from studios at various locations in Chicago until 1956. That year, WBBM began operating from a converted arena on North McClurg Court, where it remained until moving to Two Prudential Plaza in 2006.
The station maintained a MOR/Personality-based format until 1964, when the programming format was changed to news/talk. WBBM adopted its current all-news format in 1968. The station has been the flagship station of the Chicago Bears since 2000, and in its history has also aired games from the Chicago White Sox and Chicago Blackhawks.
Over the years, WBBM fended off competition from other all-news stations that were attempted in the market: McLendon-owned WNUS-AM-FM (1390 AM, now WGRB and 107.5 FM, now WGCI-FM), NBC's WNIS-FM (a predecessor to current rival WIQI), and from Group W's WMAQ, which came under the CBS umbrella when Westinghouse Electric Corporation purchased CBS in 1995 (sports-talk WSCR took over WMAQ's 670 AM frequency in 2000). For many years, WBBM has been in a spirited battle with rival news/talk/sports station WGN (720 AM) for the position of the #1 radio station in the Chicago market. In the June 2009 ratings period, as estimated by Arbitron, WGN held a slight edge over WBBM in PPM metered listenership ratings. However, since the fall of 2009, WBBM has regained the lead while WGN's listenership began to decline. Another challenge to WBBM's news radio domination from Merlin Media (operated by former Tribune Company executive Randy Michaels), which purchased FM station WKQX in June 2011 and flipped formats as the female-focused FM News 101.1 the next month, was fended off by WBBM with the launch of the WCFS-FM simulcast and WBBM making very few, if any changes to its format outside of tweaks to imaging music to sound more clear on FM and the station's Internet stream, and what became WIQI dropped its all-news format for Hot AC on July 17, 2012.
WBBM is known for a few trademarks. Typically before a commercial break the current on-air personality will read, “WBBM news time…(current time of day)" (as is standard procedure with other all-news stations owned by CBS). The station provides updates on traffic and weather "on the eights" (in ten-minute intervals beginning at :08 minutes past the hour), and a short rundown of local gas prices at :36 minutes past the hour. The station also serves as the official radio outlet for the Illinois Lottery, though audio simulcasts of drawings broadcast on WGN-TV (channel 9) have not run on WBBM-AM in the last few years to reduce format interruption during drawing times. After sports updates, an on-air personality will also state to viewers that “you're listening to the home of the Bears.” The station has also been the longtime flagship of the Chicago Air & Water Show in mid-August every year as the station's anchor and reporting staff describe the sights of aircraft performing stunts above Lake Michigan off Chicago's lakefront to listeners.
According to the radio industry website, RadioStats (RadioStats.Net), WBBM's website as a standalone entity was formerly the most visited radio station website in the United States, though since all of CBS Corporation's local television and radio properties were consolidated into the singular CBSChicago.com site, figures have not been updated.
WBBM's skywave signal has been reported to be received as far west as Salt Lake City, Utah. Additionally, hobbyists as far east as Scotland and Germany have claimed to have been able to pick up the station's broadcast.
- Pat Cassidy - weekday mornings (5-10 a.m.)
- Catherine Catalane - weekend middays (10 a.m.-3 p.m.)
- Jan Coleman - weekend evenings (8 p.m.-1 a.m.)
- Bob Conway - weekend middays (10 a.m.-3 p.m.)
- Steve Grzanich - weekday afternoons and early evenings (3-8 p.m.)
- John Hultman - weekday middays (10 a.m.-3 p.m.)
- Keith Johnson - weekday afternoons and early evenings (3-8 p.m.)
- Sherman Kaplan - weekend mornings (6-10 a.m.)
- Kris Kridel - weekday middays (10 a.m.-3 p.m.)
- Dave Marsett - weeknights (8 p.m.-1 a.m.)
- Felicia Middlebrooks - weekday mornings (5-10 a.m.)
- Dave Mitchell - weekday afternoons and early evenings (3-8 p.m.)
- David Roe - weekday afternoons and early evenings (3-8 p.m.)
- Jackie Swike - weeknights (8 p.m.-1 a.m.)
- Nick Young - weekend evenings (8 p.m.-1 a.m.)
- Bob Larson
- Dean DeVore
- Elliot Abrams
- Josh Liss
- Dave Kerner
- Eric Brown
- George Ofman
- Jeff Joniak
- Tom Thayer
- Bart Shore - mornings
- Jeanette Hudson - weekend overnights
- Kris Habermehl - weekday morning and afternoon "Chopper 780" traffic reporter
- Steven Hass - weeknight overnights
- John Cody
- Craig Dellimore
- Lisa Fielding
- Mike Krauser
- Nancy Harty
- Julie Mann
- Steve Miller
- Bob Roberts
- Regine Schlesinger
- Bernie Tafoya
- Len Walter
- Feder, Robert (15 July 2011). "It’s official: CBS to expand Newsradio brand with FM simulcast". Time Out Chicago. Retrieved 15 July 2011.
- The Creswell Chronicle in Creswell, Oregon - Community News and Visitor Information
- Salt Lake City DX log
- "WBBM chicago 780 khz received in scotland 24/9/09 05.59 utc". YouTube. Retrieved 22 October 2011.
- WBBM Newsradio
- WBBM website
- Query the FCC's AM station database for WBBM
- Radio-Locator Information on WBBM
- Query Nielsen Audio's AM station database for WBBM
- Website for WBBM's 40th anniversary as all-news
- RadioStats Web 100