WUSN

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WUSN
US 99.5 WUSN Chicago.png
City of license Chicago, Illinois
Broadcast area Chicagoland
Branding US 99.5
Slogan "This is US99.5 Country"
Frequency 99.5 MHz (also on HD Radio)
99.5 HD-2 for Future Country
First air date June 1, 1961
Format Country
ERP 5,700 watts
HAAT 425 meters
Class B
Facility ID 28620
Callsign meaning "US 99"
Owner CBS Radio
(CBS Radio of Chicago LLC)
Sister stations WBBM-AM, WBBM-FM, WCFS-FM, WJMK, WSCR, WXRT
part of CBS Corp. cluster with TV station WBBM-TV
Webcast Listen Live
Website us99.com

WUSN is an FM radio station in Chicago, Illinois, The station broadcasts on 99.5 MHz and is a country radio station owned by CBS Radio. The station focuses on country music from the '90s, along with current product and some classic country from the '70s and '80s.

The station broadcasts from a transmitter atop John Hancock Center, and its studios are located at Two Prudential Plaza in the Loop.

History[edit]

99.5 WEFM/99-"We" FM[edit]

Until 1978, 99.5 was classical WEFM, one of the first US FM stations, and the second station in the United States to broadcast in FM stereo. The station was owned by the Zenith Radio Corporation, now Zenith Electronics Corporation. It started as WWZR in 1940 on 45.1, also as W51C, then on 98.5 when the FM band moved. It changed to 99.5 and WEFM (named for Zenith executive Eugene F. McDonald) during the late 40s, which it was until it was sold. During this time, the only commercials were for Zenith, one each hour, usually directing listeners to their Display Salon on Michigan Avenue, "Where no sales are made."

In the early 1970s Zenith agreed to sell WEFM to General Cinema Corporation, which intended to change the station's call letters to WICV (pseudo-Roman numerals for 99.5) and institute a rock format. Objections from listeners delayed the format change until May 1978, at which time General Cinema converted the station to a top 40 format but decided not to change the call sign, branding the operation as 99-"We"-FM. Morning shows were hosted by Dan Walker, the (Illinois) governor of Rock and Roll (formerly of WDHF/WMET 95½) and joined by Willak. Afternoons featured "Cox on the Radio". Other disk jockeys during the top 40 era included John Calhoun and Ken Cocker.

The WEFM call sign is now used on 95.9 FM in nearby Michigan City, Indiana, which also is imaged as "We-FM."

US*99[edit]

In the early 1981, WEFM briefly flipped to a Soft Vocals format. In 1982, newly purchased by First Media Corporation, WEFM flipped to WUSN ("US*99"). The station was dark for several weeks while the ownership, the United States Navy, and the FCC came to agreement on the new call sign. When it came back on the air, the station called itself US99, but at the top of the hour ID had to continue using the WEFM call letters. The initial promotion was a guarantee of always playing four songs in a row, offering up $10,000 to the first person to call should they fail in the promise. The first day on the air, a disc jockey claimed to get his carts mixed up and only played three. A check was cut for the lucky listener who called in first. Within 48 hours, another mistake was made, and another $10,000 check was given away. It was in light of the continuing lapses of judgement that major changes were made in the staff. Chief among them was First Media's transfer of Lee Logan from KFMK in Houston to Chicago to take the helm as Program Director, following a brief stint by Dan Walker. Lee's first choice as morning man was Don Wade, who featured the always opinionated character Sheriff C.W. Turnipseed and his ever-present spitoon, and Don's wife, whom he always referred to as "The Lovely Roma Jean". Corporate management decided to bring in shock-Jock Gary Dee as the new morning man, an experiment that met with limited success. Under Lee's leadership, the station took on four country music competitors in Chicago: 670 WMAQ, 1160 WJJD (flipped to Music of Your Life in 1982), WJEZ 104.3 (formerly WJJD-FM, which flipped to oldies as WJMK "Magic" 104 in 1984, and then "Jack FM" in 2005), and WKXK (now WLS-FM). Having taken US99 to the top of the heap as the most listened to Country station in the nation, Lee Logan departed US99 in 1987 for Los Angeles. The station's only competitors presently are suburban stations WCCQ, which covers the southwest suburbs and WLJE, which covers Northwest Indiana.

WUSN was owned for years by First Media after it debuted in 1982. In 1992, Infinity Broadcasting bought WUSN. CBS bought Infinity in 1997, making WUSN a CBS owned station. WUSN dominates as a country station and is one of the top ranked country stations anywhere.

Controversy[edit]

On April 13, 2001 a memo from WUSN management demanding that all on-air employees of WUSN-FM attend the George Strait Country Music Festival on May 26, 2001 at their own expense[1] and "work the crowd" on behalf of the station was leaked to the Chicago Sun-Times newspaper.[2]

On July 7, 2003, country music radio personality Cliff Dumas sued Infinity Broadcasting Corporation and WUSN-FM in United States District Court, seeking monetary damages. Dumas alleged that WUSN management had induced him to resign gainful employment at a New Mexico radio station to take a job at WUSN which was offered but then never materialized.[3]

Awards[edit]

In 2007, the station was nominated for the top 25 markets country music Radio & Records magazine station of the year award . Other nominees included KYGO-FM Denver, WYCD Detroit, KEEY-FM Minneapolis, WXTU Philadelphia, and KSON-FM San Diego.[4]

In 2010, the station won Country Radio Broadcasters/Country Aircheck Awards for Station of the Year for a Major Market; the Lisa Dent and Ramblin’ Ray Show for Major Market Morning Show and Marci Braun (weeknight host/MD) for Major Market MD.[5]

Lisa Dent and Ramblin' Ray Stevens won a Country Music Association Award for Major Market Personality of the Year at the 44th Annual CMA Awards for the Lisa Dent and Ramblin' Ray Morning Show.[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Radio Ink Magazine. Radioink.com (2001-04-13). Retrieved on 2013-07-23.
  2. ^ "US-99 penny pinching suggests scary trend", Robert Feder, Chicago Sun-Times, April 13, 2001
  3. ^ Cliff Dumas, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. Infinity Broadcasting Corporation and WUSN-FM, Defendants-Appellees., 416 F.3d 671, Federal Circuits, 7th Cir. (August 01, 2005) Docket number: 04-1133
  4. ^ "2007 Industry Achievement Awards". Radio and Records. September 28, 2008. 
  5. ^ "Word on the Street - March 4". March 4, 2010. 
  6. ^ "Word on the Street - Nov. 24". November 24, 2010. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 41°53′56″N 87°37′23″W / 41.899°N 87.623°W / 41.899; -87.623