WEDC

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WEDC, and its sister shared-time radio stations, WCRW and WSBC, are an important part of United States radio history. They operated as "shared time stations" for their entire existence; this was not uncommon in the early days of radio, but very rare in more modern times.[1] They were also foreign language stations, catering to "niche markets". In October 1926, WEDC signed on and was operating at 1240 on the AM dial in Chicago; in the same year, the station began sharing the frequency with WCRW and WSBC.[2][3]

Foreign-language broadcasters were always under government suspicion, especially during years when the US was at war, because of the possibility of "un-American", traitorous or "coded" information being broadcast.[3] A nationwide council of owners of foreign language stations, including WEDC, was formed during World War II to uphold the good name of foreign-language radio stations and insure foreign propaganda was banned from being broadcast.[citation needed]

The Broadcasting Yearbook notes that WEDC operated 11 hours daily. The three stations on 1240 were each authorized 8 hours, but according to Ed Jacker, owner of WCRW, "no one listened overnight" so WCRW sold its 3 overnight hours to WEDC.[1]

WEDC's original studios were located on Ogden Avenue at the car dealership known as Emil Denemark Cadillac, the owner of the station. The studio was in the showroom in a glass booth.[3]

In the 1970s, WEDC was purchased by the Pucinski family. Roman Pucinski was a Congressman and later, a Chicago alderman. His mother was a long-time program host and did a daily Polish language program on WGES that included news, interviews, recipes, and commentary of interest to Chicago's Polish community. Puchinski purchased WEDC after WGES dropped all of its foreign language programming to become an all black oriented station.[2][3] The Congressman fought the WGES format change because he wanted to preserve foreign-language radio programming in Chicago. During Pucinski's ownership, WEDC's studios were located in the Jefferson Park neighborhood on Milwaukee Avenue on Chicago's northwest side.[2][4] In 1966, Pat Sajak, now host of TV's "Wheel of Fortune", was employed to read hourly five-minute newscasts during an all-night Spanish-music radio program.[5]

The format of WEDC had always been mostly foreign language programming, mainly Polish and Spanish. Under the Denemark ownership in the 1950s, an English language program featuring "Love Music" was aired from 3:30-5 p.m. weekdays and its overnight program, "The Midnight Fliers" (from Midnight-6 a.m.) was in English and featured big band music.[citation needed] In the 1930s, the station broadcast live music of jazz bands from night club venues in Chicago.[citation needed] There was also black oriented programming on WEDC and its sister stations produced by Jack L. Cooper.[3]

In 1995, WCRW was purchased by the owner of WSBC, Daniel Lee, for $500,000. A year later, he also purchased WEDC for $750,000 to make WSBC a 24 hour a day radio station; this ended the 60+ years of "shared-time" operation.[3] The next year, Lee sold WSBC to Fred Eyechanner's Newsweb; Eyechanner was the former owner of WPWR-TV Channel 50 Chicago.[2][3] WSBC and WEDC used separate transmitter sites, located within a mile of each other on the northwest side of Chicago.[3] Lee was once the owner of WXRT-FM and WSCR in Chicago. Those stations were later sold to Westinghouse Broadcasting, and are now a part of CBS.[3]

At midnight on June 13, 1997, WSBC took over WEDC's hours putting an end to the last of the original time-sharing arrangements in the United States.[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Timesharing Stations". Route56.com. Retrieved November 16, 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Chicago's Notable Timeshares". Zecom Communications. Retrieved November 15, 2010. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Chicago Radio Timeline". Zecom Communications. Retrieved November 15, 2010. 
  4. ^ Fybush, Scott (July 18–25, 2001). "The Big Travelogue: Part One-Monday, June 24". Fybush, Scott. Retrieved November 15, 2010. 
  5. ^ "Pat Sajak Biography". Pat Sajak Games. Retrieved November 16, 2010.