|City of license||Chicago, Illinois|
|Broadcast area||Chicago Metropolitan Area|
|Branding||AM 1160 WYLL|
|Slogan||Chicago's Christian Talk|
|First air date||1924|
|Former callsigns||WJJD (1924–1997)
WYLL 1160 is a "Christian Talk & Teaching" radio station located in Chicago and owned by Salem Communications. The station runs features, preaching, and other religious programs. Ministries may also buy time for programming. WYLL additionally produces a couple hours of local call-in shows every day.
1160 was originally started in 1924 as WJJD. The station offered general entertainment programming before going through several music format changes. Plough Broadcasting bought WJJD in 1953. Before 1980, the station broadcast during daylight hours only, until sunset in Salt Lake City, where a 50,000 watt clear channel station, KSL, is located. This would keep the station on the air for about one hour after local sunset in Chicago. In 1980, 1160 in Chicago began 24-hour operations.
In the late '50s and early '60s WJJD was a top 40 (popular music) station. At first it had no serious competition for the teenage rock 'n' roll audience. After WLS switched to the top 40 format in 1960, WJJD couldn't compete: WLS had a 50,000 watt clear channel signal vs. WJJD's 50,000 watts with a directional signal that protected KSL in Salt Lake City; WLS was on 24 hours a day, while WJJD signed on at 4:00 a.m. and off at anywhere from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. depending on the local sunset time in Salt Lake City ; and WLS had a better position on the AM radio dial (890) than WJJD (1160).
In the 1970s, WJJD was a country music station, competing against WMAQ. WJJD's co-owned FM station WJEZ also played the same country music format. In 1982 WJJD dropped country music and adopted a syndicated adult standards format known as "Music Of Your Life". This format featured artists like Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Tommy Dorsey, Patti Page, The Four Aces, Mills Brothers, Perry Como, Glenn Miller, Sammy Davis Jr., Pat Boone, Jack Jones, The McGuire Sisters, Nat King Cole, and Artie Shaw. The format also featured a few songs by baby boomer artists like Elvis Presley, The Carpenters, Tony Orlando, etc.
In 1984, WJJD and WJEZ were sold to Infinity. WJEZ became Magic 104.3 and played oldies as WJMK. WJJD remained standards/easy listening, and in the late 1980s added some evening sports programming. The station also began to mix in more soft adult contemporary cuts into the format. In 1993, WJJD added syndicated talk shows on late nights. The station also cut back on music during the day. In 1995, WJJD dropped easy listening altogether for full-time talk and sports format.
In 1997, Infinity would merge with CBS, now giving CBS adult rock 93.1 WXRT, CHR/rhythmic WBBM-FM 96.3, Country WUSN 99.5, oldies 104.3 WJMK (owned by Infinity), talk/rock 105.9 WCKG, 70s oldies WYSY 107.9, talk WMAQ 670, all-news WBBM 780, sports WSCR 820, and talk/sports WJJD 1160.
CBS/Infinity was forced to sell 2 stations due to ownership limitations of no more than 5 of an AM or FM station, totally no more than 8. CBS sold their underperforming FM station WYSY to Spanish Broadcasting System (which flipped 107.9 to WLEY, "La Ley", in July 1997). WJJD kept evening sports programming but dropped talk to simulcast WJMK Oldies 104.3 in January 1997. AM 820 was sold to Douglas Broadcasting (Personal Achievement Radio) and flipped to ABC's Personal Achievement Radio with some time-brokered motivational/inspirational programming (e.g., Les Brown) on weekends. CBS/Infinity kept 1160 but dropped the WJJD call letters in April. They moved the intellectual unit of WSCR—which was also put on sale—to AM 1160.
When Viacom and CBS merged in 1999, the company needed to sell one station in Chicago; WSCR 1160 was chosen. Although it was initially believed that WSCR's play-by-play teams and some sports shows would move to WMAQ 670, the new company instead decided to relocate the entire format. So, on August 1, 2000, the intellectual property of WSCR moved to AM 670, the dial position of WMAQ, and eliminated WMAQ's all news format in the process (thereby leaving co-owned WBBM 780 as the only all-news formatted station in Chicago) . After a short period of simulcasting 93.1 WXRT as WXRT-AM 1160, Salem Communications acquired the frequency.
Salem relocated the intellectual property of WYLL 106.7 (now WPPN) to the 1160 frequency, eliminating the contemporary Christian music format in the process, to adopt an entirely "Christian Talk & Teaching" format. Before WYLL carried Christian programming, it was WTWV 106.7 "The Wave" (1987–1988), WZRC "Z-Rock" (1986), and WYEN ("Request Radio -- at 1971 sign-on). At first, Salem wanted to return the WJJD call letters to 1160, but these call letters were taken, so the call letters WYLL made the move. Moving the format to 1160 cleared the Des Plaines-licensed 106.7 for a new format, and Salem chose to utilize their successful contemporary Christian music "Fish" format, creating WZFS 106.7 "The Fish". Since that time, Salem traded the 106.7 signal to Univision, which replaced "The Fish" with Spanish adult contemporary (now Spanish oldies) station "Passion 106.7" WPPN.
- WYLL Official Site
- Query the FCC's AM station database for WYLL
- Radio-Locator Information on WYLL
- Query Nielsen Audio's AM station database for WYLL