WIND (AM)

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WIND
City of license Chicago, Illinois
Branding AM 560 The Answer
Slogan Your Choice For Intelligent Talk
Frequency 560 (kHz)
First air date 1927
Format News/Talk
Power 5,000 watts
Class B (Regional)
Facility ID 67068
Transmitter coordinates 41°33′54″N 87°25′11″W / 41.56500°N 87.41972°W / 41.56500; -87.41972Coordinates: 41°33′54″N 87°25′11″W / 41.56500°N 87.41972°W / 41.56500; -87.41972
Callsign meaning W - INDiana (originally licensed to Gary, Indiana),
WINDy City
Owner Salem Communications
Sister stations WYLL
Website www.560theanswer.com

WIND "AM 560" is a radio station based in Chicago, Illinois, broadcasting its talk radio format on 560 kHz.

Its current owner is Salem Media, a company specializing primarily in Christian radio. WIND is similar to many of Salem's other secular talk stations, airing a lineup consisting of syndicated conservative talkers including Glenn Beck, Michael Medved, Dennis Prager, Michael Savage, Hugh Hewitt, Mike Gallagher, and former Saturday Night Live star Dennis Miller. WIND currently airs two local shows on the weekdays, Big John & Amy (5-9 a.m.) and Joe Walsh (5-8 p.m.). WIND is the flagship station for Carl Amari's nationally syndicated nostalgia & showbiz program "Hollywood 360" which airs Saturday evenings from 8 pm till Midnight. News headlines from Fox News Radio are aired hourly.

History[edit]

WIND first signed on in 1927. It was started by Ralph Atlass, originally licensed to Gary, Indiana. Atlass also started WBBM, Chicago. It was initially known as WJKS and operated on the 1360 KC frequency, sharing it with WSBT (owned by the South Bend Tribune), and WGES. The station moved to its present 560 KC dial spot in 1929, after Chicago stations WIBO and WPCC who were also operating at the 560 KC frequency, were shut down.[1]

WIND's coverage map notes a 4 tower directional array located South and East of Chicago along I-80/94 near Cline Ave.[2] The North lobe of their signal went to Milwaukee 24 hours daily. Another lobe of the directional signal extended toward Indianapolis during the day, but was shut off at sunset. At 560 on the dial, with 5000 watts, the signal easily blanketed the Chicago market.

WIND's studios were located on the 3rd floor of the South tower of the Wrigley Building.

According to old Chicago Tribune radio schedules (found on the website JJ's radio logs) in the late 40's WIND was the "hit music" station for Chicago, mostly playing contemporary music. It also featured Cubs and Sox baseball and big band programs, including Lawrence Welk.

WIND's programming has always been music and personality driven. In the 50's, Howard Miller (1994),[3] a Chicago radio personality, started a longtime run as Chicago's top rated morning DJ.[4] For the next 20 years, Miller claimed the top spot in Chicago morning radio ratings, only to be toppled in the 1970s by WGN's Wally Phillips.

Over the years, other WIND personalities included Bernie Allen, Lee Rogers, Dick Williamson, Perry Marshall, Kassidy, Joel Sebastian (1986),[5] Milo Hamilton, Doug Dalghren, Chuck Benson and Kurt Russell, Clark Weber, Jerry G Bishop, Ron Riley,[6] Ron Britain,[7] Steve King, Bill Jurek, and Connie Szerszen.[8]

Overnight programing began with "Night Watch" featuring Bruce Lee, several other hosts, then Larry Johnson, then Chicago Eddie Schwartz (1946–2009) (who was also music director for a time).

From the 1940s until the demise of the music format, following the 2:00am newscast, WIND played "The Whiffenpoof Song." The station had a library of over 100 versions of this song.

In 1956, Atlass sold WIND to Westinghouse. Westinghouse expanded the news department, adding such names as Walt Hamilton, Dick Brazie, Dick Elliott and Bernard Shaw (later of CNN). WIND pioneered 5 minute newscasts at the top and bottom of every hour, and a "meteorologist" (for many years, Earl Finckle) doing the weather forecast, hourly.

By the 1960s, though WIND, along with other Westinghouse stations employed a "gentle top 40" (an early version of what is now called Hot Adult Contemporary), sometimes derisively called "chicken rock"[9] music format, WLS did much better in the ratings. Several Westinghouse stations went to an all-news format. Others like WIND evolved into adult contemporary formats by the 1970s. Instead of competing against WLS they opted to compete against WGN and its MOR/talk format.

The station was managed from 1968-1977 by Phil Nolan, Vice President and General Manager. In 1973 WIND won the George Foster Peabody Award for their series "From 18th Street: Destination Peking." [10]

By 1977 WIND played music during the day along with local news until 10:00 p.m. when they would switch to call-in talk programming featuring Dave Baum (called "Contact"). Similar formats were on Westinghouse sister stations like WBZ in Boston, Massachusetts, WOWO in Fort Wayne, Indiana and KDKA in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

During these years, WIND and WGN had similar formats except the latter played less music. By 1978 WIND switched to a (mostly satellite delivered) news/talk format and opted to add local talk shows in the morning.

According to Radio and Records, a radio trade publication, the WIND oldies format was strong until FM station WKFM 103.5 changed call letters to WFYR when it was purchased by RKO for one million dollars (a record price for an FM at the time) and broadcast "Drake-Chenault" automated oldies in stereo.

When WIND evolved into talk, the tape cartridges, which held the 2000+ song music library, were sent to WOWO, Fort Wayne, another Westinghouse station.

In 1981, when WIND added all-news blocks between 6:00-9:00 a.m. and 3:00-7:00 p.m. the station did not perform as well as sister stations. In 1985 Westinghouse sold WIND to Tichenor Radio for $6 million and left the Chicago market. The radio station then moved to the 625 N. Michigan building.[11]

Westinghouse later returned to the area by purchasing WMAQ-AM 670 from NBC in 1987.

In 1985 WIND became a Spanish adult contemporary music station, including Spanish-language news and talk shows. WIND evolved into Spanish news and talk by 1990, but eventually brought back music. In 1998 Tichenor merged with Heftel Broadcasting (which Clear Channel Communications had acquired controlling interest in 1996) to form Hispanic Broadcasting, in which Clear Channel retained a minority stake. Five years later, when Hispanic Broadcasting merged with Univision, Clear Channel relinquished its minority stake in the company, which was renamed Univision Radio.

In 2004 Univision Radio swapped stations with Salem. Univision Radio wanted to move their music format to an FM station, while Salem wanted a major AM station as an outlet for its syndicated talk radio programming. This resulted in Salem owning WIND while Univision Radio got WPPN 106.7. WIND once again became an English-language talk station.

On January 21, 2013, WIND adopted a new branding, AM 560 The Answer, to follow suit with other Salem Communications-owned stations. This meant it would drop its longtime branding as "AM 560 WIND."[12]

Sportscasts[edit]

Effective July 1, 2005, WIND entered into a three-year agreement with the University of Illinois to carry Fighting Illini football and men's basketball games, as well as the coaches shows, through the Illini Sports Radio Network. Those broadcasts continued through the 2013 football season, with the Illini moving back to their longtime Chicago affiliate, WSCR.

WIND was formerly the alternate station of the Chicago Blackhawks and the Northwestern Wildcats in the case of scheduling conflicts at their flagship, WGN. Conflicting games were moved to WGWG-LP, the Tribune Company's new sports talk station, after its start-up in February 2014.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Chicago's Notable Time Shares-WJKS". Zecom Communications. Retrieved 10 June 2010. 
  2. ^ WIND transmitter & site, 2003
  3. ^ WMMB, Melbourne, FL-Howard Miller
  4. ^ "Howard Power". Time Magazine. 31 January 1969. Retrieved 11 May 2010. 
  5. ^ "Joel Sebastian, radio disc jockey". Chicago Tribune. 19 January 1986. Retrieved 31 July 2010. 
  6. ^ Ron Riley's website-ronriley.com
  7. ^ Chicago Radio Spotlight-Ron Britain
  8. ^ At WIND, It's Music, Talk of Today. Billboard. 6 March 1971. Retrieved 30 May 2010. 
  9. ^ Bill Barrett TV/Radio Column December 8, 1965-"Chicken Rock"
  10. ^ http://www.peabody.uga.edu/winners/winners_1970s.php#1973
  11. ^ A look at the WIND studios circa 2003
  12. ^ "Format Changes". Your Midwest Media. 21 January 2013. Retrieved 26 January 2013. 

External links[edit]