|Branding||Chicago's Progressive Talk|
|First air date||December 17, 1961|
|HAAT||149 meters (489 ft)|
|Callsign meaning||W Chicago's Progressive Talk|
|Former frequencies||99.1 MHz (1961-1962)|
|Website||Chicago's Progressive Talk website|
WCPT-FM (92.5 FM) is a radio station located in DeKalb, Illinois, west of Chicago. WCPT-FM is a complete simulcast with AM 820 WCPT. WCPT-FM is owned by Newsweb Corporation. Studios are located in Chicago's Northwest Side.
The station began broadcasting on December 17, 1961, and broadcast at 99.1 MHz. The station was originally WLBK-FM and broadcast beautiful music/easy listening, simulcasting AM 1360 WLBK. The station was locally owned and operated in DeKalb. On May 25, 1962, the station's frequency was changed to 92.5 MHz. Gradually in the 1970s, the station added a progressive program known as "Headquarters" at night beginning at 7:00 p.m.
In October 1976, WLBK-FM became WDEK. The station dropped its beautiful music format for an automated Top 40 format until 7:00 p.m. while continuing its "Headquarters" progressive rock format in the evenings, similar to Chicago's WXRT. In 1979, the station attracted John "Illinois' Bell from 'XRT to join as PD and morning host. Several jocks later migrated east to WXRT: Ed Knych, Richard Milne and Patty Martin, who was WXRT's Music Director. She then moved to WDRV, "The Drive", where she was Program Director. Other notable on-air personalities during this time - 1979-1984 - included Brian Leonard and Greg Easterling.
In the fall of 1984, WDEK flipped to Top 40 full-time ("All Hit WDEK"), competing with Rockford's WZOK.
Big City Radio, trimulcast, "Kiss FM" and "Energy"
In 1999, the station's local owners sold WDEK to Big City Radio, which turned the station into part of a trimulcast known as "92.7 Kiss FM", along with 92.7 WKIE in Arlington Heights and 92.7 WKIF in Kankakee. Original plans called for this 20,000 watt station to decrease in power and change frequency to 92.7 to match the other two. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) denied this request and the moniker was adjusted to "92 Kiss FM".
On January 12, 2001, Clear Channel Communications flipped its full-signal WUBT from rhythmic oldies to CHR as WKSC-FM "Kiss 103.5". At that time, they issued a cease and desist order to Big City Radio insisting they stop using the "Kiss FM" moniker. "92 KISS-FM" continued until January 26, 2001. 92 KISS-FM signed off with Pearl Jam's Last Kiss and then the three signals became "Energy 92.7&5", a format consisting entirely of dance music, launched with DJ Jean's The Launch. The airstaff and voiceover talent Sean Caldwell remained intact. The new format was designed by 92 KISS-FM's program director, Chris Shebel, who has stated that the Dance Hits format is something he had dreamed of doing for a long time.
Energy gained lots of attention via the internet and gained a relatively devoted following in the Chicago area and worldwide via its webcast, even producing two consecutive CD-song collections, "Energy92.7&5 Dance Hits Volume(s) 1 & 2" . Considering their niche format and signal limitations, Energy was competitive in the ratings and in revenues. Energy's program director, Chris Shebel, consulted the launch of the Energy format in Phoenix, Arizona on KNRJ as Energy 92.7 & 101.1.
Stations sold, switch to Spanish, "Nine FM"
In late 2002, Big City Radio, which had overextended itself in obtaining radio stations, declared bankruptcy and began liquidating its properties. WKIE, WKIF and WDEK were sold to Spanish Broadcasting System and WXXY/WYXX (which had a Mexican music format) to the Hispanic Broadcasting Company. On January 5, 2003, at Midnight, Energy became "Onda 92" ("Onda" translates to "Wave" in English). Energy's program director Chris Shebel and former Energy DJ Joe Vlazny-Smith (a.k.a. Joey V) went on to launch the same format in San Francisco on KBTB, which is now known as KREV Energy 92.7.
Onda 92 was never successful in the ratings, and SBS had their own financial problems, so in June 2004 the company sold WKIE, WKIF and WDEK to Newsweb Corporation. At midnight on November 22, 2004, Onda signed off with "Whenever, Wherever" by Shakira (coincidentally, it was the very first song that "Onda" launched with) and the 92 frequencies stunted overnight with a wide variety of sound effects and soundclips. At 9am, WDEK and WKIE began simulcasting with its new adult hits sister station WRZA, aka "Nine FM". The first song on the Nine FM simulcast was "With or Without You" by U2. Chicago's first Adult Hits station "Nine FM" (WKIE-FM, WDEK-FM, WRZA-FM) remained on the air for 4 years. WKIF was switched to a full-time simulcast of CNN Headline News.
Sky Daniels was the original program director for Nine FM. When he left in 2005, he was replaced by Matt DuBiel. Nine FM's format tightened a bit over time, to attract more casual listeners, eliminating many of the more obscure songs on the station's playlist.
On May 19, 2006, Chris Chudzik of TKC Entertainment began leasing air time on Saturday nights for a dance music show called Dance Factory FM, from 8:00PM to 5:00AM hosted By Kyle Kelly (a former DJ from Energy 92.7&5). Dance Factory FM expanded to Friday nights 9:00PM to 5:00AM starting on August 12, 2006, hosted by Luis 2Live Lopez (also a former DJ from Energy 92.7&5).
A year later, on May 14, 2007, Nine FM and Chudzik expanded Dance Factory to seven nights a week from 9:00PM to 4:30AM. The weekend shows carry a DJ mix style format, the weekday shows carry a Dance Hits music format with live mixes several times nightly.
"Chicago's Progressive Talk"
Low ratings and a significant loss of revenue forced Newsweb Corporation to drop the Nine FM programming on all three signals Monday, October 20, 2008, and replaced it with a simulcast of sister station WCPT from 5 a.m. until 9 p.m. Dance Factory now airs on WCPQ and WCPY weekend overnights. The last song on Nine FM was intended to be "Kiss This Thing Goodbye" by Del Amitri, but ended up being "Crush" by Jennifer Paige, likely an homage to the "WKIE" call letters' 10-year run with "Crush" being one of the first hit songs on the station.
On June 2, 2014, WCPQ and WCPT-FM broke away from the Progressive Talk simulcast and changed their daytime format to Polish music as "Polski FM". The latter station swapped callsigns with this station shortly thereafter.
- 1971 Broadcasting Yearbook, Broadcasting, 1971. p. B-64. Retrieved October 3, 2018.
- History Cards for WCPT-FM, fcc.gov. Retrieved October 3, 2018.
- "Call Sign History (WCPT-FM)". Retrieved 2010-04-15.
- Ghrist, John R. (1996). Valley Voices: A Radio History. Crossroads Communications. p. 419-420.
- "WCPT/Chicago Gets FM Simulcasts," Radio Ink, October 17, 2008.
- "End Of Nine Fm Chicago", YouTube
- Query the FCC's FM station database for WCPT
- Radio-Locator information on WCPT
- Query Nielsen Audio's FM station database for WCPT