|City of license||Des Plaines, Illinois|
|Broadcast area||Chicago, Illinois|
|First air date||1971
(WPPN since November 1, 2004)
|Former callsigns||WYEN (1971-1980s)
|Sister stations||WOJO, WRTO-AM, WVIV, WVIX
Also part of the Univision Cluster: TV Stations WXFT and WGBO
Due to WPPN's 50,000 watt transmitter and Northern Suburb location, it can be heard through much of the Rockford and Southern Wisconsin area.
The Des Plaines-licensed 106.7 signed on as locally owned WYEN in 1971. Initially, the station aired an Beautiful music format, before becoming "Request Radio", playing music requested by listeners. WYEN's format evolved to an Adult Contemporary format and was branded Y-107. In September 1986, the station took on the syndicated Z-Rock format and the call letters WZRC. In 1987, the station took on a smooth jazz format as WTWV, "The Wave", until it was sold to Salem Media, an ancestor of today's Salem Communications, in 1989.
Upon acquiring the station, Salem flipped the station to a Christian Contemporary Music format, using the WYLL call letters. However, the format was short lived, as Salem began selling half of the day to Christian ministries in 1990. By 1991, music was heard only in afternoons, and in 1992 the remaining music was eliminated entirely, other than a short block on Saturday afternoons.
In 1993, local Christian talk shows was added during middays and afternoons. By this point, the format had entirely become what the radio industry would consider "Christian Talk and Teaching". They also ran 3-4 hour blocks of satellite Contemporary Christian music overnights.
The religious talk format continued on WYLL until 2000. In 2000, Salem acquired WXRT-AM 1160, a powerful signal formerly known as WJJD, which had been used by former owner Infinity to simulcast 93.1 WXRT following the move of WSCR to 670 AM. Salem moved the Christian talk programming of WYLL to WXRT-AM, which soon received the WYLL call letters, which remain to this day.
With the move of WYLL to 1160, the 106.7 frequency became a clean slate for a new format. Salem utilized the frequency to bring Christian Contemporary Music back to Chicago. The new station was known as WZFS, "106.7 The Fish", and launched with "40 Days and 40 Nights" of commercial free music. "The Fish" branding, which Salem used for new Christian Contemporary stations, was also used in such markets as Atlanta, on WFSH-FM 104.7, and Los Angeles, on 95.9 KFSH-FM.
However, "The Fish" was never a huge success in Chicago. There are many possible reasons for the failure of WZFS, which could include the presence of numerous non-commercial CCM stations, including K-Love affiliate 94.3 WJKL, the weakness of the 106.7 signal in Chicago's southern suburbs, and the fact that the majority of Chicago area Christians are Catholic, not Protestant, the denomination toward which "The Fish" stations are targeted.
By 2004, Salem had set most of its expansion hopes on a network of secular conservative talk stations. Affiliates in typically liberal markets, such as 1150 WTTT in Boston, saw little or no ratings progress, but enabled Salem to charge more for national advertisements.
At the same time, Univision Radio wanted Salem's 106.7 signal in Chicago. Univision offered to trade KOBT 100.7 in Houston (now KKHT-FM), KHCK 1480 in Dallas (now KBXD), KOSL-FM 94.3 in Sacramento (now KLMG), and 560 WIND in Chicago, in exchange for WZFS and KSFB 100.7 (now KVVZ) in San Francisco. Salem agreed.
So, at midnight on November 1, 2004, Salem took control of 560 WIND, where the conservative talk format was launched. At the same time, Univision took control of WZFS. After a few minutes of fumbling around on air, a new Spanish-language Adult Contemporary format debuted on the frequency, as WPPN, "Pasion 106.7".
Pasion took fire in the ratings, and pulled far better ratings initially than WZFS, beating some of Chicago's full-signalled stations. However, by summer 2005, the station was beginning to lose steam in the ratings, although the ratings were still better than those of WZFS.
As the one-year anniversary of WPPN approached, Univision tweaked the music blend of WPPN, but let the name and the personalities of Pasion in place. The station aired a unique blend of Spanish oldies music, although the format mirrors that of an English-language Jack FM station due to the idea of variety in the music.
On January 28, 2009 at midnight WVIV, its sister station changed its format to Spanish oldies. WPPN then followed suit by changing formats to Spanish CHR.
After WZFS launched its CCM format in 2000, they did not have jingles yet. In October 2000, WZFS got GMI's Lite AC package. It only lasted a year and a half before purchasing a package from a well known producer in Nashville.
Chris Haris, who did a package for several CCM-formatted stations as a one-time deal, resang the same package for WZFS. WZFS had the package in January 2002, and used it until its format to Spanish AC in 2004.
WPPN also transmits in HD Radio. They run Spanish Rock music on their HD-2 station under the name "Planeta Rock - Solamente Rock en Espanol" (Planet Rock - Only Rock in Spanish).
- WYEN – Des Plaines, IL Chicago FM Radio History. Accessed October 22, 2012
- WPPN Website
- Query the FCC's FM station database for WPPN
- Radio-Locator information on WPPN
- Query Nielsen Audio's FM station database for WPPN