|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 11, 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, which ran through the center of the station's coverage area. WTAQ first went on the air on October 11, 1950. The station was originally owned by La Grange Broadcasting Co. The station initially ran 500 watts and operated during daytime hours only.
WTAQ was a brokered time station and was branded "Chicago's Personality 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, Chet Gulinski, Eddie Blazonczyk, Johnny Hyzny, Eddie Korosa, Eddie Arenz, Art Schlaman, Jim Marwood, John Psczola, and many other polka shows made their home there.
In June 1984, William Wardle and Ralph Faucher purchased the station for $1,640,000.
In 1985, Lotus Communications Corporation purchased the station for $3,000,000, and it became a full-time Spanish language station. The station adopted a Spanish language adult contemporary format as "Radio Fiesta". In the late 1980s, the station's branding was changed to "La Mexicana", and the station broadcast a música norteña format. The station's "La Mexicana" format was simulcast with several other stations Lotus Communications owned. During the station's period as a Spanish language station, it carried the Spanish-language broadcasts of the Chicago White Sox.
Radio Disney era
In January 2000, WDDZ went off the air and remained silent until early 2001. In the spring of 2002, the station returned to the air, once again simulcasting WRDZ with Radio Disney. The simulcast ended after the station was sold to Multicultural Broadcasting of Chicago 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, the station will remain on the air and will continue carrying Radio Disney programming until it is sold.
On July 30, 2015, Radio Disney Chicago filed an application to sell WRDZ to Polnet Communications. The agreed purchase price for the station is $3,450,000. Polnet is the owner of WEEF, WKTA, WNVR and WPJX (former Radio Disney O&O and former satellite of WRDZ).
- "Radio Disney". Disney–ABC Television Group – Corporate & Press Information. Retrieved August 9, 2014.
- "WRDZ Facility Record". United States Federal Communications Commission, audio division.
- "Chicago Radio: Some facts, figures, and things you might not know", Chicago Tribune Magazine, March 4, 1979. p. 16. Accessed August 12, 2015
- "WTAQ Takes Air", Broadcasting - Telecasting, October 16, 1950. p. 27. Accessed August 11, 2015
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- The 1964 International Polka Convention 1964. Accessed August 10, 2015
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- 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.
- "Asset Purchase and Sales Agreement", fcc.gov, July 13, 2015. Accessed August 10, 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