WCGO (defunct)

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City Chicago Heights, Illinois
Broadcast area South suburban Chicago
Northwest Indiana
Frequency 1600 kHz
First air date 1959
Last air date April 10, 2009
Format Full service (1959-1997)
Adult standards (1997-2009)
Power 1000 watts day[1]
23 watts night[2]
Class D
Facility ID 39386
Callsign meaning W ChicaGO

WCGO 1600 AM was a radio station licensed to Chicago Heights, Illinois, United States. The station ran 1,000 watts during the day and 23 watts at night.[1][2]

Coverage area[edit]

WCGO served southern Cook County, Illinois, most of central and eastern Will County, Illinois, and northern Lake County, Indiana during daytime hours, while its nighttime coverage was more limited.[3] The station had a two tower directional array in northern Ford Heights, Illinois, and had a directional pattern to the northeast and southwest to protect WMCW in Harvard, Illinois and WARU in Peru, Indiana, which were on the same frequency.[2][3]


WCGO began broadcasting in 1959 and was originally owned by Anthony Santucci's South Cook Broadcasting Inc.[4][5] The station originally broadcast during daytime hours only.[1]

Full service years[edit]

WCGO had long aired a full service format airing local news and talk programming and playing Middle of the road (MOR) music, which at various points included Pop Standards and Easy listening, and later on Adult contemporary music.[6][7][8][9] Much of the station's local news, talk and community programming was simulcast on its sister station 102.3 WTAS in Crete, Illinois, until 1992.[10][7] In 1985, the station began airing the Warren Freiberg - Libby Collins Show, which had been heard on 106.3 WLNR in Lansing, Illinois since 1973.[10] By 1993 talk programming had replaced most music on the station.[11]

In the summer of 1994, Anthony Santucci sold WCGO to M&M Broadcasting, a firm led by former Hammond, Indiana mayor Thomas McDermott, Sr.[12][13] In August 1994, WCGO began nighttime operations, with light adult contemporary music airing from 7 pm to 5:59 am, while talk programming continued to air during the day.[14] In 1997, M&M Broadcasting sold the station to Q Broadcasting.[15]

Unforgettable 1600[edit]

From 1997 until the time it was taken off the air in 2009, the station's format was Adult standards, featuring programming from Timeless,[13] and its predecessors; Timeless Favorites, Timeless Classics and Stardust.[16] During this period the station was known as "Unforgettable 1600".[4][17]

End of operations[edit]

In 2002, the station was purchased by Kovas Communications, who intended to take it, along with 1580 WKKD and 1600 WMCW, off the air in order to enable co-owned station 1590 WONX in Evanston, Illinois to increase its daytime power.[18][17] WCGO went silent at 6 pm on April 10, 2009,[19] and its license was surrendered to the FCC, enabling 1590 WONX to increase its daytime power from 3,500 watts to 7,000 watts.[20][17] On April 13, 2009, 1590 WONX took on the WCGO call sign.[21] Kovas Communications had held a construction permit, which would have moved the station to Jenison, Michigan (near Grand Rapids), broadcasting on 1020 kHz at 10,000 watts during daytime hours only, though this move never occurred.[17]


  1. ^ a b c AM Stations by Geographic Location Jones, Vane. SAMS North American Radio-TV Station Guide 1984. Fifteenth Edition. (p. 87) Accessed January 8, 2014
  2. ^ a b c WCGO Chicago Heights, IL Plan-- 1600 kHz fcc.gov. September 13, 2007. Accessed January 8, 2013
  3. ^ a b Coverage Map wcgo.com. Internet Archive. August 25, 2001. Accessed January 8, 2014
  4. ^ a b WCGO Home Page wcgo.com. Internet Archive. May 2, 1999. Accessed January 3, 2014
  5. ^ New FM Stations Broadcasting. November 25, 1963. (p. 104) Accessed January 7, 2014
  6. ^ Billboard. "Stations By Format". October 16, 1965. (p. 61-62)
  7. ^ a b Stations, everywhere: a listeners' guide to the AM and FM bands Chicago Tribune Magazine. March 4, 1979. (p. 35-37) Accessed January 6, 2014
  8. ^ Chicagoland Radio Stations Dialog Magazine. October 1989. (p. 3) Accessed January 6, 2014.
  9. ^ WCGO AM 1600 Radio Chicago. (p. 36) Winter 1990. Accessed January 6, 2014
  10. ^ a b The Morning Mom and Pop Talk Show Osinchak, Sue. Radio Chicago. (p. 20-21) Winter 1990. Accessed January 6, 2014
  11. ^ Station Formats Chicago Airwaves. (p. 13) August 1993. Accessed January 6, 2014
  12. ^ Channel 7 Zooms Ahead Of The Pack In 10 P.m. News Sweeps Nidetz, Steve. Chicago Tribune. August 03, 1994. Accessed January 4, 2014
  13. ^ a b WCGO shuts off signal this weekend for Northwest Indiana Holecek, Andrea. Times of Northwest Indiana. April 10, 2009. Accessed January 3, 2014
  14. ^ Radio station now on air 24 hours Times of Northwest Indiana. August 18, 1994. Accessed January 6, 2014
  15. ^ Broadcast Applications fcc.gov. February 05, 1997. Accessed January 6, 2014
  16. ^ WCGO COMMUNITY CALENDAR FOR THE DATE OF: wcgo.com. Internet Archive. May 2, 1999. Accessed January 3, 2014
  17. ^ a b c d WCGO Goes Dark, WONX -- Now WCGO -- Ups Power All Access Music Group. April 13, 2009. January 3, 2014
  18. ^ Media, Markets & Money Radio Business Report. July 15, 2002. Accessed January 3, 2014
  19. ^ Why cannibalize WCGO to help another radio station? The Times of Northwest Indiana. April 21, 2009. Accessed January 3, 2013
  20. ^ Call Letter Changes Medium Wave News. May/June 2009. (p. 11) Accessed January 3, 2014
  21. ^ Call Sign History fcc.gov. Accessed January 3, 2014