WAIT (AM)

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WAIT
WSBC WNDZ WAIT WorldRadioChicago logo.png
CityCrystal Lake, Illinois
Broadcast areaChicago metropolitan area
Branding"The Promise" or "La Promesa"
Frequency850 kHz
First air dateOctober 1, 1965[1]
FormatSpanish language Brokered Religious
Power2,500 watts (day only)
ClassD
Facility ID53504
Transmitter coordinates42°15′30.00″N 88°21′48.00″W / 42.2583333°N 88.3633333°W / 42.2583333; -88.3633333
Former callsignsWCLR (1965-1969)[2]
WIVS (1969-1986)[2][3]
WAIT (1986-2005)[3]
WCPT (2005-2007)[3]
OwnerNewsweb Corporation
Sister stationsWSBC, WNDZ
Websiteaccessradiochicago.com/wait/

WAIT (850 kHz) is an AM radio station licensed to Crystal Lake, Illinois and serving the Chicago metropolitan area. It was purchased by Newsweb Corporation in 2003.[4] WAIT airs a Spanish language Christian radio format. All hours are paid Brokered programming.

WAIT is licensed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) as a Class D station and broadcasts only during daytime hours.[5] The station is off the air from sunset to sunrise to protect KOA in Denver, the Clear-channel station on 850 kHz.

Because of its northwest suburban location and directional pattern, WAIT can be heard in Rockford, Illinois and Janesville, Wisconsin in addition to the Chicago Media market.[6]

History[edit]

WCLR[edit]

The station began broadcasting on October 1, 1965, holding the call sign WCLR, which stood for "Crystal Lake Radio".[1] The station originally ran 500 watts during daytime hours only.[2] The station was owned by George DeBeer, Lynn Renne, and Art Thorsen.[1] The station aired easy listening music, along with local news and high school football games.[1][7]

WIVS[edit]

In 1969, the station was purchased by Mal Bellairs, a WBBM personality, for $350,000.[1][8][9] Bellairs changed the station's call letters to WIVS, standing for "wives", reflecting the station's programming aimed at housewives.[1][8] Under Bellairs ownership, the station aired middle of the road (MOR) music, as well as talk, cooking, gardening, and sports programming.[10][11] In 1981, Bellairs sold the station, along with 105.5 WXRD in Woodstock, to Katy Communications for $838,000.[1][12]

Mal Bellairs would continue to host a music and talk show on the station until March 11, 1985, when WIVS began airing a country music format using programming fed by the Satellite Music Network.[13] In 1985, WIVS's power was increased from 500 watts to 2,500 watts.[14][1]

850 becomes WAIT[edit]

In April 1986, the original WAIT at 820 kHz, which was best known for its beautiful music format in the 1960s and '70s, changed its call letters to WCZE, branded "Cozy" radio, and began airing a soft adult contemporary format.[15] In May 1986, 850 picked up the WAIT call letters, while continuing to air its Satellite Music Network fed country music format.[3][15]

In 1988, the station was sold to Crystal Lake Radio, along with 105.5 WXET in Woodstock, for $1.6 million.[16][17] The new owners replaced the country music format with a full service format, with oldies music comprising approximately 70% of its schedule, with the remainder devoted to programming of local interest, along with old time radio and ethnic programs on weekends.[18][19][20]

By early 1990, the station had adopted a beautiful music format.[21][22][23] In 1991, the station was sold to Pride Communications, along with 105.5 WAIT-FM, for $2.2 million.[24][25] The station's former owner, Mal Bellairs would return as the station's morning announcer while the station ran a beautiful music format.[26]

Adult standards years[edit]

In January 1993, WAIT adopted an adult standards format.[27][28] The station initially aired ABC Radio's satellite-fed adult standards format Stardust.[28][27][1] On November 26, 1994, the station switched to Westwood One's satellite-fed adult standards format called "AM Only" (now America's Best Music).[1][29] WAIT enjoyed ratings success as an adult standards station, making it into the top 10 among Chicago area stations and taking a 3.3 audience share in April 1996.[30][29] At least part of the ratings increase could be attributed to longtime adult standards station 1160 WJJD switching to a news/talk format.[30]

In 1999, longtime WGN 720 talk show host Wally Phillips began hosting a two-hour Saturday morning talk show on WAIT.[31] In October 2000, NextMedia Group purchased Pride Communications' nine radio stations, including WAIT, for approximately $57 million.[32][33][34]

Chicagoland's Voice[edit]

Although still enjoying relatively good ratings, WAIT switched from adult standards to a news-talk format branded "Chicagoland's Voice" on January 28, 2002.[35] The station carried longtime Chicago area talk show host Libby Collins, as well as syndicated hosts including Bill O'Reilly, Mike Gallagher, Rusty Humphries, and Michael Savage.[36][37][38][39] Wally Phillips continued hosting his Saturday morning show and Clark Weber hosted a program Friday mornings.[35][39] Ratings plummeted after the station's format change, and in the fall of 2003 the station was sold to Newsweb for $8.25 million.[40][41][42]

Newsweb ownership[edit]

Station's logo as WCPT

In October 2003, Newsweb took ownership of AM 850 WAIT, and the talk format ended on the station.[4][40] The station began airing brokered programming and the syndicated AAA program World Cafe.[40][42][43]

In May 2005, the station adopted a progressive talk format, and its call sign was changed to WCPT.[3][44] The station was an affiliate of Air America.[44][45] Hosts heard on the station included Rachel Maddow, Jerry Springer, Al Franken, Ed Schultz, and Randi Rhodes.[46] The WAIT call letters were moved to 820 AM.[47] On November 26, 2007, the progressive talk format and the WCPT call sign moved to 820 AM, and the WAIT call sign returned to this station.[48][3]

On February 25, 2009, the station began airing brokered religious programming in both Spanish and English as "La Promesa"/"The Promise".[49][50][51]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Ghrist, John R. (1996). Valley Voices: A Radio History. Crossroads Communications. p. 143-150.
  2. ^ a b c History Cards for WAIT, fcc.gov. Retrieved December 31, 2018.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Call Sign History, fcc.gov. Retrieved December 31, 2018.
  4. ^ a b Application Search Details - BAL-20030428ABE, fcc.gov. Retrieved January 3, 2019.
  5. ^ WAIT fcc.gov. Accessed January 8, 2014
  6. ^ "Predicted Coverage Area for WAIT 850 AM, Crystal Lake, IL", Radio Locator. Retrieved December 31, 2018.
  7. ^ "WCLR Debut Set", Billboard. October 2, 1965. p. 12. Retrieved December 31, 2018.
  8. ^ a b Rowland, Brett. "Longtime local radio broadcaster Mal Bellairs dies at 90", Northwest Herald. Jul 12, 2010. Retrieved December 31, 2018.
  9. ^ "Changing Hands", Broadcasting. October 6, 1969. p. 39. Retrieved January 1, 2019.
  10. ^ Broadcasting Yearbook 1975, Broadcasting, 1975. p. C-56. Retrieved January 1, 2019.
  11. ^ "Stations, everywhere: a listeners' guide to the AM and FM bands", Chicago Tribune Magazine. March 4, 1979. p. 34. Retrieved January 1, 2019.
  12. ^ "Changing Hands", Broadcasting. August 10, 1981. p. 62. Retrieved January 1, 2019.
  13. ^ Zorn, Eric. "Phillips, Lujack May Say G`night To The Mornings", Chicago Tribune. February 21, 1985. Retrieved January 1, 2019.
  14. ^ Public Notice Comment, fcc.gov. Retrieved January 2, 2019.
  15. ^ a b Boss, Kit. "Radio`s Satellite Networks Beam With Success", Chicago Tribune. July 17, 1986. Retrieved January 2, 2019.
  16. ^ "Ownership Changes", Broadcasting & Cable. March 21, 1988. p. 70. Retrieved January 2, 2019.
  17. ^ Public Notice Comment - BAL-19880303EA, fcc.gov. Retrieved January 2, 2019.
  18. ^ "WAIT 850 AM" Dialog Magazine. October 1989. p. 5. Retrieved January 2, 2019.
  19. ^ Chicagoland Radio Waves, MediaTies. Summer 1988/Spring-Summer 1989. Retrieved January 2, 2019.
  20. ^ "WAIT AM 850", Radio Chicago. Fall 1989. p. 8. Retrieved January 2, 2019.
  21. ^ "WAIT AM 850", Radio Chicago. p. 36. Winter 1990. Retrieved January 2, 2019.
  22. ^ "WAIT AM 850" Radio Chicago. p. 36. Summer 1990. Retrieved January 2, 2019.
  23. ^ Kening, Dan. "It's A Wasteland", Chicago Tribune. September 01, 1992. Retrieved January 2, 2019.
  24. ^ Lauer, Paula. "Worth the WAIT: After over a year of negotiations...", Chicago Tribune. September 22, 1991. Retrieved January 3, 2019.
  25. ^ "Ownership Changes", Broadcasting. p. 62-63. June 24, 1991. Retrieved January 3, 2019.
  26. ^ Kening, Dan. "Still Crystal Clear Mal Bellairs Has Maintained A Mellow Spot", Chicago Tribune. September 13, 1992. Retrieved January 1, 2019.
  27. ^ a b Unmacht, Robert. "Format Changes", The M-Street Journal. Vol. 10, No. 1. January 6, 1993. p. 1. Retrieved January 3, 2019.
  28. ^ a b Station Formats", Chicago Airwaves. p. 13-15. August 1993. Retrieved January 3, 2019.
  29. ^ a b Borden, Jeff. "Oldies, Goodies at this station are listeners", Crain's Chicago Business. April 5, 1999. Retrieved January 3, 2019.
  30. ^ a b Reich, Howard. "WAIT Soars In The Ratings Relying On The Golden Oldies", Chicago Tribune. May 23, 1996. Retrieved January 3, 2019.
  31. ^ Stanek, Steve. "Legend Phillips Comes Out of Retirement on WAIT", Chicago Tribune. February 22, 1999. Retrieved January 3, 2019.
  32. ^ Kirk, Jim. "Suburban Radio Signals Scooped Up By Colorado's Nextmedia Group", Chicago Tribune. July 04, 2000. Retrieved January 3, 2019.
  33. ^ Application Search Details - BAL-20000712AAT, fcc.gov. Retrieved January 3, 2019.
  34. ^ "Combos", Broadcasting & Cable. July 9, 2000. Retrieved January 3, 2019.
  35. ^ a b Mowatt, Raoul V. "A format switch has WAIT talking about its future", Chicago Tribune. March 11, 2002. Retrieved January 3, 2019.
  36. ^ "Chicago Media Headlines - February 2003". DJHeadlines.com. February 2003. Archived from the original on June 21, 2003. Retrieved January 3, 2019.
  37. ^ Mowatt, Raoul V. "O'Reilly's TV attitude makes leap to radio", Chicago Tribune. May 09, 2002. Retrieved January 3, 2019.
  38. ^ Knopper, Steve. "Pining for nostalgia? Don't WAIT and hope", Chicago Tribune. March 26, 2002. Retrieved January 3, 2019.
  39. ^ a b "AM 850 WAIT - Chicagoland's Voice". WAIT. Archived from the original on February 10, 2003. Retrieved January 3, 2019.
  40. ^ a b c Feder, Robert (September 18, 2003). "Time-brokered format awaits WAIT's new owner". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on February 10, 2003. Retrieved January 3, 2019.
  41. ^ Kirk, Jim. "Lifetime pans for gold with new magazine", Chicago Tribune. April 29, 2003. Retrieved January 4, 2019.
  42. ^ a b "Radio Active", Airplay Monitor. November 7, 2003. p. 3. Retrieved January 4, 2019.
  43. ^ "The World Cafe Station Directory". World Cafe. Archived from the original on February 15, 2004. Retrieved January 4, 2019.
  44. ^ a b Zorn, Eric. "'Air America' return may not be a good thing", Chicago Tribune. May 2, 2005. Retrieved January 4, 2018.
  45. ^ "Our Kind of Talk for Our Kind of Town!". WCPT. Archived from the original on April 9, 2006. Retrieved January 4, 2019.
  46. ^ "Program Lineup". WCPT. Archived from the original on July 18, 2006. Retrieved January 4, 2019.
  47. ^ Call Sign History, fcc.gov. Retrieved January 4, 2019.
  48. ^ "WCPT/Chicago To Move To 820 AM", All Access Music Group. November 8, 2007. Retrieved January 4, 2019.
  49. ^ "WAIT-A To Launch Christian Format In English, Spanish", All Access Music Group. February 24, 2009. Retrieved January 5, 2019.
  50. ^ "WAIT - 850 AM", World Radio Chicago. Retrieved January 5, 2019.
  51. ^ "The Promise on AM 850 WAIT". The Promise. Archived from the original on July 17, 2010. Retrieved January 5, 2019.

External links[edit]