|City of license||La Grange, Illinois|
|Broadcast area||Chicago metropolitan area|
|Branding||Radio Disney Chicago|
|Slogan||Your Music Your Way|
|Frequency||1300 kHz (also on HD Radio)|
|First air date||October 10, 1950|
|Format||Contemporary hit radio|
|Power||4,500 watts day
4,000 watts night
|Callsign meaning||We're Radio DiZney|
|Former callsigns||WTAQ (1950-1998)|
|Owner||ABC, Inc. (Disney)
(Sale to Polnet Communications pending)
(Radio Disney Chicago, LLC)
|Sister stations||WLS-TV, WMVP|
WRDZ (1300 AM) is a Children's Contemporary hit radio formatted broadcast radio station licensed to La Grange, Illinois, serving the Chicago metropolitan area. The station, which began broadcasting in 1950, is owned and operated by The Walt Disney Company. The WRDZ broadcast license is held by Radio Disney Chicago, LLC. The station broadcasts a hybrid signal (analog plus HD) on 1300 kHz HD 1.
The station's original call sign was WTAQ, with the letters meaning "Western Towns Along the Q." The "Q" referred to the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad. WTAQ first went on the air on October 10, 1950. It was a foreign language brokered time station. The heart of this format was weekend ethnic polka programs, serving the large Eastern European population around Chicago. "Lil Wally" Jagiello, Uncle Henry Cukierka, Chet Schafer, Eddie Blazonczyk, Johnny Hyzny, Eddie Korosa, Little Richard and many other polka shows made their home there. Later, it became all Spanish as "La Mexicana", before switching to Radio Disney. During this period, it carried the Spanish-language broadcasts of the Chicago White Sox.
WRDZ was born in 1998, when ABC Radio bought WTAQ 1300 and sister station WTAU 1500 in Zion, Illinois, to air their Radio Disney network. The stations were then owned by Lotus Communications Corporation and were simulcasting Latin American music as "La Mexicana". In July 1998, ABC Radio took over and started airing Radio Disney on the stations.
WTAQ and WTAU's call signs were later changed to WRDZ and WDDZ (this allowed the original callholders in Green Bay, Wisconsin to resume using the WTAQ calls). In January 2000, WDDZ went off the air and remained silent until early 2001, when ABC Radio turned the operation back to Lotus under a local marketing agreement (LMA). Lotus mixed programming between a simulcast of WBJX 1460 at Racine, Wisconsin and locally programmed, automated Latin American music. The call letters were changed to WPJX at that time. By the summer of 2001, the LMA ended and WPJX was off the air again, except for a few tests with easy listening music, noted running in October 2001. These lasted for about 30 minutes and were infrequent.
In the spring of 2002, WPJX returned to the air, once again simulcasting WRDZ with Radio Disney, shortly after it was announced that WPJX would be sold to Multicultural Broadcasting of Chicago. The simulcast ended after the sale closed in the summer of 2002.
On August 13, 2014, Disney put WRDZ and twenty-two other Radio Disney stations up for sale, in order to focus more on digital distribution of the Radio Disney network. Disney originally planned to temporarily shut down the station on September 26, 2014. However, will remain on the air and continue carrying Radio Disney programming until it is sold.
On July 30, 2015, Radio Disney Chicago filed an application to sell WRDZ to the Polnet Communications. Polnet is the owner of WEEF, WKTA, WNVR and WPJX (former Radio Disney O&O and former satelite of WRDZ). That deal will reunite WPJX and WRDZ.
- "Radio Disney". Disney–ABC Television Group – Corporate & Press Information. Retrieved August 9, 2014.
- "WRDZ Facility Record". United States Federal Communications Commission, audio division.
- Origins of Many Call Signs – Southwest Museum of Engineering, Communications & Computation.
- Chicagoland Radio Call-Sign History – angelfire.com.
- The Village of La Grange–1930s and Later – Franzosenbusch Heritage Project.
- Lafayette, Jon (August 13, 2014). "Exclusive: Radio Disney Moving Off Air to Digital". Retrieved August 13, 2014.
- "Radio Disney to Sell the Majority of Its Stations". Billboard. Retrieved 13 August 2014.
- Venta, Lance (August 13, 2014). "Radio Disney To Sell All But One Station". Radio Insight. Retrieved September 27, 2014.
- "NERW Extra: No Signoffs for Disney AMs". Northeast Radio Watch. Retrieved 5 October 2014. (subscription required)
- "Application for Consent to Assignment of Broadcast Station Construction Permit or License". CDBS Public Access. Federal Communications Commission. July 30, 2015. Retrieved July 30, 2015.
- Multiple Ownership - Federal Communications Commission
- Query the FCC's AM station database for WRDZ
- Radio-Locator Information on WRDZ
- Query Nielsen Audio's AM station database for WRDZ