Media in Chicago

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Harpo Studios, home of talk show host Oprah Winfrey

The Chicago metropolitan area (the Chicago market) commands the third-largest media market in the United States after New York City and Los Angeles and the largest inland market.[1] All of the major U.S. television networks have subsidiaries in Chicago. WGN-TV, which is owned by the Tribune Media Company, is carried (with some programming differences) as "WGN America" on cable and satellite nationwide. Sun-Times Media Group is also headquartered in Chicago, which, along with Tribune Publishing, are some the largest owners of daily newspapers in the country.


Journalists, novelists, architects, engineers, business tycoons, scientists, poets, sports teams, criminals, and millions of laborers shaped Chicago's national and international reputation. Images and representations are important means by which the city is known and negotiated. During the years of rapid urbanization between 1890 and 1930, numerous daily newspapers presented the most important and pervasive versions of the city.

Among the significant innovations of Chicago's newspapers in these years that shaped the idea of the city was the emergence of the local color columnist. Groeninger (2005) examines the role of columnists in Chicago newspapers in creating a "city of the mind." After a review of the literature on images of cities, the relationship of newspapers to modern city life in the thought of Robert Park, and the world of Chicago's newspapers at the turn of the 20th century, detailed studies of a number of the most important columnists of the era follow. George Ade's column of the 1890s in the Daily News, "Stories of the Streets and of the Town," presented a view of Chicago from the perspective of migrants from the small towns of the Midwest. In the same decade Finley Peter Dunne's column in the Evening Post, featuring the fictional Irish barkeeper, Mr. Dooley, offered readers a literary version of the Irish working-class neighborhood of Bridgeport. Ring Lardner's Tribune sports column of the teens, "In the Wake of the News," satirized not only Chicagoans obsession with sports, but also the middle-class culture of opera, musical theater, and the newspaper itself. Several columns in the black newspaper, The Whip, offered images of Bronzeville in the 1920s that both reflected and helped shape the experience of African-Americans on the South Side of Chicago. Ben Hecht's "1001 Afternoons in Chicago" column in the Daily News expressed a new, anti-Victorian sensibility in the post-war era, but his most enduring contributions to the image of Chicago were on the stage and in the new medium of film. The columnists who wrote about everyday life in the city were the most distinctive and powerful newspaper voices in shaping the idea of Chicago and the civic personality of the city itself.[2]


Two major daily newspapers are published in Chicago, the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times. The former has the larger circulation. There are also a number of regional and special-interest newspapers such as the Daily Herald (Arlington Heights), SouthtownStar, the Chicago Defender, RedEye, Third Coast Press and the Chicago Reader.




Business, legal, entertainment and other local periodicals[edit]

Defunct newspapers[edit]

Broadcast radio[edit]

The Chicago metropolitan area is currently the third-largest radio market in the United States as ranked by Nielsen Media Research.[5] The following list includes full-power stations licensed to Chicago proper, in addition to area suburbs.

Currently, radio stations that primarily serve the Chicago metropolitan area include:[6][7]

AM stations[edit]

1 clear-channel station
2 daytime-only station

FM stations[edit]

Asterisk (*) indicates a non-commercial (public radio/campus/educational) broadcast.


The Chicago metropolitan area is currently defined by Nielsen Media Research as the third-largest television market in the United States,[8] with all of the major U.S. television networks having affiliates serving the region. As of October 2022, it is the largest US television market of which at least one station carrying commercial network programming is not owned by a particular network's parent company.

Currently, television stations that primarily serve the Chicago metropolitan area include:[9]


Asterisk (*) indicates channel is a network owned-and-operated station.


Government cable channels for Chicago are also carried on channels 23, 25, and 49.

Although EVINE Live does have over-the-air affiliates, it is not available via broadcast television in Chicago; however, is available on Comcast on channels 89 and 164 and RCN channel 193 in the Chicago market.


Media corporations[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Nielsen Media 2009–2010 Local Market Estimates". Broadcast Employment Services. Nielsen Media Research. September 27, 2009. Archived from the original on August 28, 2008. Retrieved May 17, 2010.
  2. ^ David V. Groeninger, "Chicago Imagined: The Role of Newspaper Columnists in Creating a City of the Mind, 1890–1930." PhD dissertation Loyola U., Chicago 2005. 280 pp. DAI 2005 66(5): 1925-A. DA3175764 Fulltext: ProQuest Dissertations and Theses. See also Sarah Susan Marcus, "Up from the Prairie: Depictions of Chicago and the Middle West in Popular Culture, 1865–1983." PhD dissertation U. of Wisconsin, Madison 2001. 445 pp. DAI 2001 62(4): 1554-1555-A. DA3012550 Fulltext: ProQuest Dissertations and Theses
  3. ^ Chicago News
  4. ^ "Denní Hlasatel (Chicago, Ill.; Cicero, Ill.; Berwyn, Ill.) 1891-1994". Library of Congress.
  5. ^ "True Market | Radio Audience Ratings". Retrieved October 10, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  6. ^ AM Query – AM Radio Technical Information – Audio Division (FCC) USA Archived 2009-08-25 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ FM Query – FM Radio Technical Information – Audio Division (FCC) USA Archived 2009-08-25 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ "2021 Designated Market Area Rankings". MediaTracks Communications. November 19, 2020.
  9. ^ "Chicago Television Stations - Station Index". Retrieved October 16, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)

External links[edit]