WCPT (AM)

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WCPT
WCPT logo
CityWillow Springs, Illinois
Broadcast areaChicago, Illinois
BrandingWCPT 820
Chicago's Progressive Talk
Slogan"Our Kind of Talk for Our Kind of Town"
"We Are Chicago's Progressive Talk AM/FM"
"Where/Because Facts Matter"
Frequency820 kHz
First air dateJune 23, 1923[1][2]
FormatProgressive Talk
Power5,800 watts (day)
2,500 watts (auxiliary day)
1,500 watts (night)
ClassB
Facility ID16849
Transmitter coordinates41°58′53″N 87°46′20″W / 41.98139°N 87.77222°W / 41.98139; -87.77222
(day)
41°32′30″N 88°2′3″W / 41.54167°N 88.03417°W / 41.54167; -88.03417 (night and auxiliary day)
Callsign meaningWe're Chicago's Progressive Talk AM/FM
Former callsignsWCBD (1923-1941)
WAIT (1941-1986)
WCZE (1986-1988)
WXEZ (1988-1990)
WSCR (1992-1997)
WYPA (1997-2001)
WCSN (2001-2005)
WAIT (2005-2007)
Former frequencies870 kHz (1923-1928)
1080 kHz (1928-1941)
1110 kHz (1941)
AffiliationsWestwood One
AP Radio News
OwnerNewsweb Corporation
(WYPA, Inc.)
Sister stationsWAIT, WCPY, WNDZ, WSBC
WebcastListen Live (via TuneIn)
Websitewcpt820.com

WCPT (820 AM) is a Progressive Talk radio station licensed to Willow Springs, Illinois, and serving the Chicago area. WCPT is owned by Newsweb Corporation. Newsweb's owner, Fred Eychaner, is a significant donor to Democratic Party causes.[3][4] Studios are located in the Gladstone Park neighborhood on Chicago's Northwest Side.

WCPT airs local and syndicated talk programs including those hosted by Thom Hartmann, Stephanie Miller, and Norman Goldman.[5]

History[edit]

WCBD[edit]

The station began broadcasting on June 23, 1923, holding the call sign WCBD, and broadcast at 870 kHz.[1][2] The station was located in Zion, Illinois and was owned by Wilbur Glenn Voliva, "General Overseer" of the Christian Catholic Apostolic Church, who was known for his flat Earth beliefs.[1][2][6] WCBD aired religious programming that reflected Voliva's viewpoints.[2] The station originally ran 500 watts.[1] On July 14, 1924, its power was increased to 5,000 watts.[1] From April 1924 until November 11, 1928, the station shared time on its frequency with WLS.[1][6] In November 1928, the station's frequency was changed to 1080 kHz, where it shared time with WMBI.[6][1]

In 1936, the station was sold to Gene T. Dyer.[2] The station became a commercial operation, and aired religious, ethnic, and music programming.[2][7][8] On April 2, 1937, the station's transmitter and the Christian Catholic Apostolic Church's Shiloh Tabernacle were destroyed in a fire set by a teenager who believed Voliva had swindled his father.[9][2] The station's transmitter site was relocated to Addison Township, in what today is part of Elmhurst, Illinois.[6] The station shared the transmitter of WMBI while its new transmitter was being built.[6] The station moved to 1110 kHz in March 1941, as a result of the North American Regional Broadcasting Agreement.[6]

WAIT[edit]

In September 1941, the station's callsign was changed to WAIT.[6] Later that year, the station moved to 820 kHz, running 5,000 watts, and signing off at sunset in Dallas, Texas to protect WBAP.[6] From 1947 to 1959 the station shared time on Sundays with a new WCBD in Zion, Illinois, which operated on Sundays only.[2][6][10] In 1948, Daddy-O Daylie began his radio career on WAIT, hosting a jazz program on the station.[11][12] In 1954, the station was sold to Robert Oscar Miller and family.[6][13] In the 1950s, the station published a chart of the top 20 popular songs in Chicago.[14]

In 1962, the station was sold to a partnership led by Maurice and Lois Rosenfield, for $1 million.[15][16] The station adopted to a beautiful music format, which it continued to air through the 1970s.[16][17][18] In 1978, WAIT briefly switched to an all talk format, before returning to the beautiful music format it had long aired.[18] In 1979, the station was sold to Century Broadcasting.[6][19] In 1980, the station applied for a construction permit to add nighttime operations at 1,000 watts.[6] The station added nighttime operations in 1982, and ran 5,000 watts during the day and 1,000 watts at night.[20][21]

In 1982, the station adopted a format featuring the hits of the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s.[22][23] The station aired Chuck Schaden's Radio Theatre weekday evenings.[23]

Soft AC era[edit]

In April 1986, the station began airing a soft AC format as "Cozy" WCZE, airing Transtar Radio Networks' "Format 41".[24] In 1988, the station's call sign was changed to WXEZ, standing for "Extra Easy", and it became a simulcast of 100.3 WXEZ-FM, airing easy listening music.[25] In 1989, the station shifted back to a soft AC format, playing more vocals and fewer instrumentals.[26]

The Point[edit]

On November 16, 1990, the station's call sign was changed to WPNT, and the station briefly aired a hot AC format branded "The Point", simulcasting 100.3 WPNT-FM.[27] Shortly thereafter, the station lost use of its transmitter site in Elmhurst, Illinois, and the station was taken off the air.[28]

The Score[edit]

Former studio and transmitter site in Chicago's Cragin neighborhood

In late 1991, the station was sold to Diamond Broadcasting.[29] On January 2, 1992, the station returned to the air from a new site in Chicago's Cragin neighborhood, though without nighttime operations, as WSCR "The Score", becoming the first all-sports station in Chicago.[30][31][32] The station's original hosts included Tom Shaer, Dan Jiggetts partnered with Mike North, and Dan McNeil.[32] McNeil would later be partnered with Terry Boers.[33] Mike Ditka hosted a weekly show in 1992, and served as an analyst during football season until 1997, when he was hired to coach the New Orleans Saints.[33][34]

In 1995, the station was sold to Group W, along with 93.1 WXRT, for $60 million.[35] On April 7, 1997, at 2:30 PM, "The Score" moved to 1160 AM.[36][37]

WYPA[edit]

In early 1997, the station was sold to N. John Douglas's Personal Achievement Radio, Inc. for $7.5 million.[38][39][40] On April 7, 1997, the station began airing a motivational talk format as "Personal Achievement Radio", and its call sign was changed to WYPA.[36] In June 1998, "Personal Achievement Radio" moved to 750 WNDZ.[41]

In 1998, the station's owner, Achievement Radio Holdings, merged with Z-Spanish Media.[42] On June 5, 1998, the station adopted a Spanish language talk format as an affiliate of Radio Unica.[43] Personalities heard on Radio Unica included Pedro Sevcec, Isabel Gómez-Bassols, among others.[43] In May 1999, Radio Unica moved to 950 WNTD.[44][45]

In mid-1999, WYPA was purchased by Catholic Family Radio for $10.5 million.[46][47] The station began airing a Catholic talk format.[45][48]

Sporting News Radio[edit]

In early 2001, WYPA was purchased by Newsweb for $10.5 million.[49] On March 1, 2001, the station again began airing an all sports format, as an affiliate of Sporting News Radio.[50][51][52] Sporting News Radio, which recently changed its name from One-On-One Sports, moved to the station from 94.3 WJKL.[51][52] The station's call sign was changed to WCSN later that month.[53]

Relevant Radio[edit]

In April 2003, Starboard Broadcasting began leasing two hours of airtime a day to air the Relevant Radio Catholic network, and on December 1, 2003, began leasing programming for the entire day.[54] On May 3, 2005, the station's call letters were changed back to WAIT when AM 850 WAIT launched progressive talk with the new call letters WCPT.[53][55][4] In October 2007, Relevant Radio moved to 950 WNTD, though it continued to simulcast on WAIT until November 25.[56][57]

Chicago's Progressive Talk[edit]

On November 26, 2007, Chicago's Progressive Talk moved from 850 AM to 820 AM, doubling its power and providing coverage to all of the Chicago metropolitan area.[55] The WCPT call letters moved along with the format to 820 AM, and the WAIT call letters returned to 850 AM.[55][53][58]

In 2008, the station began to be simulcast on 92.7 WCPT-FM in Arlington Heights, 92.5 WCPY in DeKalb, and 99.9 WCPQ in Park Forest.[59]

In 2010, the FCC granted the station a license to again transmit 24 hours a day, albeit at reduced power after sunset in order not to interfere with clear channel WBAP in Fort Worth, Texas, the dominant radio station on AM 820.[60][61]

In 2014, 92.7 WCPT-FM and 99.9 WCPQ broke away from the simulcast, and 92.5 in DeKalb took the WCPT-FM call sign.[62]

In 2016, the station's daytime power was increased to 5,800 watts, and its daytime transmitter was moved to Chicago's Jefferson Park neighborhood.[63][64] While WCPT operates at 5,800 watts by day, it must reduce power to 1,500 watts at sundown, limiting its coverage in some parts of the Chicago area.[65] However, the station also streams its programming online, through multiple options (TuneIn, Triton Digital, Windows Media Player, iTunes, & RealPlayer), on its own website.

In 2018, 92.5 WCPT-FM was sold to Educational Media Foundation, and the station became an affiliate of K-Love, ending its simulcast of WCPT 820.[66]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]