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WCPT logo
City of license Willow Springs, Illinois
Broadcast area Chicago, Illinois
Branding AM 820 WCPT
Chicago's Progressive Talk
Slogan "Our Kind of Talk for Our Kind of Town"
"We Are Chicago's Progressive Talk AM/FM"
Frequency 820 kHz
First air date 1941
Format Progressive Talk
Power 5,000 watts (day)
1,500 watts (night)
Class B
Facility ID 16849
Transmitter coordinates 41°56′18″N 87°45′5″W / 41.93833°N 87.75139°W / 41.93833; -87.75139Coordinates: 41°56′18″N 87°45′5″W / 41.93833°N 87.75139°W / 41.93833; -87.75139
Callsign meaning We're Chicago's Progressive Talk AM/FM
Affiliations Dial Global
Owner Newsweb Corporation
(WYPA, Inc.)
Sister stations WCPT-FM, WCPQ, WCPY
Website wcpt820.com

WCPT (820 AM) is a progressive talk radio station licensed to Willow Springs, Illinois, and serving the Chicago area. The station carries programming from Dial Global. WCPT is owned by Newsweb Corporation. Studios are located in Chicago's Northwest Side.

On October 20, 2008, WCPT began simulcasting its programming from 5A.M.-9P.M. on the three co-owned FM stations formerly known as Nine FM.[1] The FM frequencies continue to carry the separately programmed "Dance Factory" music format after 9P.M.

In April 2010, the FCC finally allowed the station to begin transmitting 24 hours a day, albeit at reduced power after sunset in order not to interfere with WBAP in Texas. WCPT's post-sunset programming is mirrored directly over their internet stream.[2]


The station was originally licensed in 1941 as WAIT and was owned by Gene Dyer. From 1947 to 1959 the station shared time on Sundays with WCBD in Zion, Illinois.[3] As WAIT the station played a Beautiful Music format throughout the 1950s, '60s and 70s.[4] In 1978, WAIT briefly switched to an all talk format, before returning to the beautiful music format it had long aired.[4] In 1982 the station began 24-hour-a-day operations and in the mid '80s started airing a Big Band format. In April 1986, the station began airing a Soft AC format as "Cozy" WCZE, airing Transtar Radio Networks' soft Adult Contemporary "Format 41".[5] In 1988, the station became a simulcast of WXEZ-FM 100.3, as WXEZ (AM), airing Easy listening music.[6]

In 1990, the station's transmitter site in Elmhurst, Illinois was sold and the station was taken off the air. In early 1992 the station returned to the air from a new site,[7] though without nighttime operations, as WSCR The Score, an all-sports station.[8] In 1997 the station changed its call letters to WYPA, airing "Personal Achievement Radio". On June 5, 1998, the station adopted a Spanish language format as an affiliate of Radio Unica.[9] In mid 1999, WYPA was purchased by Catholic Family Radio and began airing a Catholic oriented talk format.[10][11][12]

In early 2001, WYPA was purchased by Newsweb.[13] The station changed its call letters to WCSN, and it again aired an all sports format, as an affiliate of Sporting News Radio.[14] In April 2003, Starboard Broadcasting began leasing two hours of airtime a day to air the Relevant Radio Catholic network, and in December 2003 began leasing programming for the entire day.[15] Relevant Radio continued to air on the station until November 25, 2007 when the format moved to AM 950 WNTD.

On May 3, 2005, the station's call letters changed to WAIT when AM 850 WAIT launched progressive talk with the new call letters WCPT.[8]

WCPT 850 logo, May 2005-November 2007

On November 26, 2007, WCPT moved its format from 850 AM to 820 AM, doubling its power and providing coverage to all of Chicago.[16] The WCPT call letters moved along with the format to 820 AM,[8] and the WAIT call letters returned to 850 AM.[17]

Newsweb's owner, Fred Eychaner, is a significant donor to Democratic Party causes.[18]

As of October 17, 2007, WCPT did not appear among Arbitron's top 30 Chicago stations and was beaten out by other competing high-profile Chicago talk radio stations, WGN, WLS, WIND, and WCKG.[19] WCPT ratings have gone from 0.4 share in Fall 2007 to a 0.8 share in Winter 2008 to a 0.2 share for March 2009, according to Arbitron. It was the 46th most popular commercial station in Chicago. In November 2009 it had a 0.3 share and had climbed to be tied for the 42nd most popular commercial station in Chicago.[20]


  1. ^ "WCPT/Chicago Gets FM Simulcasts". Radio Ink. October 17, 2008. 
  2. ^ http://www.chicagoprogressivetalk.com/pages/pages.php?page=9
  3. ^ "Chicago's Notable Time Shares-WGES". Zecom Communications. Retrieved 10 June 2010. 
  4. ^ a b Stations, everywhere: a listeners' guide to the AM and FM bands Chicago Tribune Magazine. March 4, 1979. Accessed December 29, 2013
  5. ^ Radio`s Satellite Networks Beam With Success Boss, Kit. Chicago Tribune. July 17, 1986. Accessed December 29, 2013
  6. ^ WXEZ FM 100.3 Radio Chicago. Winter 1990. Accessed January 6, 2014
  7. ^ Application Search Details fcc.gov. Accessed December 29, 2013
  8. ^ a b c Call Sign History fcc.gov. Accessed December 29, 2013
  9. ^ Jurado, Nickie. Radio Unica is "On the Air" in Chicago on WYPA 820 AM June 15, 1998. Accessed September 8, 2012
  10. ^ Am 820 May Help Catholic Station Reach Out Kirk, Jim. Chicago Tribune. April 06, 1999. Accessed December 28, 2013
  11. ^ Catholic Radio CEO Keeps The Faith About Family Programming Kirk, Jim. Chicago Tribune. June 27, 1999. Accessed December 28, 2013
  12. ^ Investor May Rescue Catholic Radio Kirk, Jim. Chicago Tribune. May 18, 2000. Accessed December 28, 2013
  13. ^ Application Search Details fcc.gov. Accessed January 8, 2014
  14. ^ Chicago Media Headlines - February DJHeadlines.com February 5, 2001. Accessed December 28, 2013
  15. ^ Starboard Network™ will significantly expand its Chicagoland presence by taking two major steps at the end of this month and the beginning of December. CatholicCitizens.org. November 18, 2003. Accessed December 29, 2013.
  16. ^ WCPT doubles the power
  17. ^ Call Sign History fcc.gov. Accessed December 29, 2013
  18. ^ "Fred Eychaner". Mother Jones. March 5, 2001. 
  19. ^ Chicago Sun-Times report of Arbitron ratings, October 17, 2007
  20. ^ "Arbitron PPM Ratings Data". Arbitron. 

External links[edit]