are your memories of WLS . . .
"It's great to see the 1986 WLS Hall of Fame up. I have at home the 1978 and 1981 countdowns. I was in Chicago in 1978 and visited the station asking for a copy of the 78 countdown. They couldn't give it to me, but it was posted in the record department of a local Woolworth's , where they let me take it off the wall and photostat it. I found out in 1981 they did one, and they sent me a copy. In the years between did they do any others? What is the last day WLS played music and does anyone know the last song? Also did WCFL ever do a greatest hit countdown, and what was the last song they played when they died as a top 40 in 1976? I know they were resurrected, I had an aircheck of part of their first hour. I think the song Life is a Rock by Reunion was their first song. I know they played Hey Baby by the Buckinghams in their first hour back. How long were they back?..."
Daniel F O'Connor (1/28/99)
This is Jerry Hicks from Jackson, Tennessee typing you a little letter... Not too long ago, I got on the Internet through my public library here, and through some searching, lo and behold, I came across your WLS/KQV Tribute Pages... I must say Jeff that you have outdone yourself!! OUTSTANDING!!! I have been a big fan of WLS for most of my life (35 years) and my memories of WLS are extensive... They played a big part in my life (and many others here as well) while I was growing up here in Jackson. I loved Larry Lujack and the crew in the mornings, but John "Records" Landecker was (and still is) THE MAN!! (as far as I'm concerned anyway...) Personally, I think that WLS had the best line-up of disc-jockeys in the country in the 60s and 70s... You just cannot compare them to FM stations today... You will never get the sound, magic, or the music like that anymore!!!
God Bless you Jeff on bringing back some great memories and long live the true "TOP GUNS" of radio (WLS/WABC/WLAC/WSM/KOA/KQV...etc...) I still listen to WLS and others late at night, even with the news/talk formats... There is nothing like old-time radio on AM, that's for sure!! Keep up the good work and hopefully a lot of your fans out there can come up with some good quality airchecks, jingles, pictures, etc.. You
know they are out there somewhere!! I only wish that I could have kept my stuff as a lot of great shows I had on tape were just plain wore out... Maybe some people have some old stuff hiding in attics, basements, etc... Lets hope so (for great radio memories sake!!)
Good Luck and Godspeed my friend... Jerry A.(Tony) Hicks (2/3/99)
"During Larry Lujack's WLS show he had a 'chosen' disc jockey who usually was a teen fan of the show. The slogan for the bit was: DON'T BE NERVOUS, DON'T BE ROCKY, YOU'RE OUR TEENAGE GUEST DISC JOCKEY, NOW+ACE- Just thought you might like to know. Also, is there any way I can acquire a CD or a copy of all the 'Animal Stories' albums on one cassette. Keep up the good work. Thanx, Nick" (2/3/99)
"I understand that an album has been produced featuring animal stories, as told by Larry Lujack and Little Tommy. Need information about this. Want to purchase the recording. doug tjapkes" (2/5/99)
Check EBay - a number of these original albums are now showing up on-line. Also look for an announcement later this year from WLS concerning re-issuing these for the station's 75th Anniversary.
"What a wonderful memory overload(in a good way)on the WLS and ABC sites. I grew up in Muskegon, Michigan listening to WLS (and the other rockers in the midwest like WCFL, WOKY, WGRD, WTRU). I made radio my carreer, having been it 22 years. I started in 1977 at a top 40 fm in a small town in Michigan, played country for 17 years, and have been in news/talk for 5 years and am presently g.m. at a 10kw news talk in Muskegon. in all those years i never lost my love for the top 40 sound. Thanks again for the great sites Walt Love" (2/6/99)
"A former WLS listener, who now watches me on TV in Washington told me about your (and these) the other day, so I thought I'd look in. How cool. And as a former 60's WLS alum, it was even cooler to see some of my "stuff" in there. By the way, speaking of "stuff" I have trunk fulls of WLS advertising, memos, photos, promos and reels of PAMS jingles (in original blue boxes) airchecks of lots of the guys from around the country during the 60s & 70s. Ive more or less struck a deal with a collector who thinks he wants to buy it all, but if you'd like some of the stuff for a loan so you can put it on your site, perhaps I can accomodate you. I do keep up with Roberts & Don Philips through e-mail, but that's about it. I've been back to Chicago for a couple of events, especially at the radio museum where Art and Weber and Bernie Allen and Biondi, Bob Hale and I had some social time together.- it was
really a kick. Let me hear from you if there's something I can do." Ron Riley (2/9/99)
Ron has been doing TV weather since leaving radio in 1982. (Jeff)
"I am a big fam of WLS. I was raised on the station in Seymour Indiana. I wished somehow someway they could bring back the Rock Of Chicago. I still listem to am and all this talk raido is cheap. We need the Mighty 89 back playing the music we all grew up with and the jingles. Thanks WLS for a grreat childhood of memories.
Michael" .. (3/5/99)
I had listened to Animal Stories a number of years ago as a teenager; been listening to vol 1+2 again over the last couple of days (first time in 15+ years) - happy to see that other people enjoyed the program and station besides myself." John Sleiziz (3/10/99)
"Nice Job! I found out about this page from a fellow broadcaster, who like myself thinks that top forty radio and the music from the 50's and 60's is some of the best art of the 20th century." Ken Sleeman (3/28/99)
"I would like to know where some of the old jocks are now. I know that Landecker and Dick Biondi are at the oldies FM in Chicago, but where's Clark Weber and Art Roberts? I would like any info you could provide. I too grew up on the BIG 89 and it gives me great memories. I have Jeff's pages bookmarked, in fact..thanks for all your efforts." Steve (4/2/99)
a reply from Bob "Clark Weber is still in radio on a part-time basis, on an AM station just outside Chicago on Friday mornings. The station is 850 WAIT. Art Roberts is in semi-retirement, in the Reno, Nevada area, and while I was there last summer for Hot August Nights, he was a guest on a WJMK remote broadcast with Dick Biondi. I barely recognized Art ! " (4/45/99)
Here are a few staff memories of WLS from former pd John Rook...
"I hired Lyle Dean at WLS, from KOIL-Omaha. He's now considered "The Dean of Chicago newsmen...at WGN I think today. I hired Bob Benson from KOIL in Omaha, he went on to head up all of the abc radio networks...They both served at News Directors for WLS during my PD period there...1967 - 1972. Sam Holman, Gene Taylor, Clark Weber preceeded me and Mike McCormick followed me as PD at WLS. " John Rook (4/4/99)
"Boy! Your WLS page brought back a lot of memories. Great page. Do you have any idea where I can get a copy of John Landecker's play list from Oct-Nov 1977? I'm trying to find the name of a song he played that I can't remember the name of. By the way, where is Landecker at today? Thanks again for your page."
Casey Thrower Meridianville, Al. (4/13/99)
"Hi, WLS may be talk now, but it lives on in our hearts as the Big 89, heard as far north as in many Canadian provinces. The Golden Age of Radio has never died in the hearts of us WLS fans. Here's to hoping that WLS will return to the Top 40 format. Harry Anchan (4/16/99)
As an alumni , I want to tell you , the WLS site is Great! Its good to look at some old friends. Also, I should point out to you, in refrence to the ABC Contemporary Net. the name I had to use was Charles Lawrence, this was due to the fact that we already had Scott Shurian, Bob Scott and one other I don't remember. Again, you have created a wonderful site and I for one really appreciate it.
Chuck Scott, Operations Manager, Broadcast Net(4/19/99)
"Does anyone have an aircheck of the one time Wolfman Jack filled in for Bob Sirrot when Bob was on vacation. Nobody seems to know about this, but I was listening when it happened. Tony Waitekus (4/24/99)
Tony: I don't know about Wolfman FILLING IN for Sirrott. I do know that in March of 1975 Wolfman did a brief two man show with BS, When Wolfman was in Chicago setting up a summer Midnight Special Concert he wanted Sirrott to host. I don't have an aircheck, but I did get to watch part of the show from the control room, over the board op's shoulder. Bob Sharp (4/25/99)
Its a sad day for me, since I worked with Steve at LS and here . The announcement you made is very nice, I should correct one thing, he died in his sleep in the early hours of Tuesday the 27th of April, also Steve also worked at WNBC in New York, and won DJ of the year while there. Thanks again! Chuck Scott (4/30/99)
Great job with the WLS page! I've been checking it out for a year or so, and it's really coming along. Just wanted to let you know that I too grew up with the Big 89 and have a career thanks to it. I have been fortunate enough to work alongside such WLS greats as Bob Sirott (he does a morning tv show here, that I was on with him), Fred Winston (at WPNT-FM, our former format), Brant Miller (at NBC-5). I'm planning on adding a Chicago Radio Time Capsule to my website. Scott Childers Midday air talent WNND-FM/Chicago" (5/1/99)
Check out Scott's website at ... http://www.Scott.Childers.com
"Being from Northern Indiana, I'm a big fan of your WLS website. Thank you for your work. I noticed that it was mentioned on the site that the current WLS will be playing "Animal Stories" on fridays as part of their 75 year celebration. Dave Clay (7/15/99)"
"THANK YOU so much for the WLS Big 89 Website. I grew up in Central Illinois and listened faithfully to WLS for years. It has been very interesting reading all the comments and memories of others. My grandmother had a complete set of the WLS Family Albums from the Prairie Farmer days. I only wish my set of WLS Silver Dollar Surveys and later surveys was as complete.
The only thing that I noticed was, in the history of WLS, you imply that ABC, American Broadcasting Company, has owned WLS since the 40's. ABC did not purchase WLS until 1960 when they switched to the Top 40 format. ABC had to buy the Prairie Farmer magazine in order to obtain the radio station. Disney/ABC still owns Prairie Farmer magazine to this day. (Thanks for the correction, Jeff)
Thanks again for the website. I've bookmarked it and I'm certain I will visit it often.
Jim Edwards (7/24/99)"
"Hello, my name is John, and I did grow up in Chicago. I moved away and this page brings me back to better times and really made my day. The names and audio clips not only made me smile, but told me to not forget the times when we all had not a care in the world. I am going to tell all of my around 35 year old friend about this page. Thank you for bringing alittle of the feeling of being a kid, back for a few min.
"Just wanted to say great web site. I grew up in the 60's and like most kids used a lot of 9 volt batteries in my transister listening to WLS at night. I would like to know if there are any audio clips of the late Joel Sesbastian.
I had a chance to meet him while interning at a local Chicago station before he died back in 1987. He was a great guy. I have only found one short clip from a WLS birthday special featuring all the jocks from 1960 to 1985. It really doesn't feature Joel very much. If you know of a clip with him could you let me know.
Thanks, Rich (7/26/99)
"I just came across your website dedicated to WLS, and am extremely pleased to see that such a site exists. Unfortunately, I never had the chance to listen to the "real" WLS and most of my experience is only with the modern talk format (which itself isn't bad, IMO).
Two things I didn't see mentioned, over the July 4th weekend WLS ran a retrospective program covering the music era, and for nine hours straight they played vintage clips ("airchecks"?) complete with commercials. I was able to get all nine hours taped for me, and it makes for great listening. Really made me wish I could've experienced it "first-hand".
Also, about two weeks ago long-time news man Jeff Hendrix retired, and his final morning program was marked by countless recollections of past events at 'LS, call-ins from numerous WLS personalities (from fellow star jocks to guys that worked in the mailroom), and (get this!) the in-person appearance of none other than The Superjock himself (yes he went on the air, and for at least a couple of hours!) I was able to get some of that on tape; perhaps somebody else out there has the whole shebang recorded.
Great site and keep up the good work!!
(And thanks for saying where we can get the vintage jingles and recordings!! [BTW what was this History of Chicago Radio that I saw mentioned? Sounds interesting!])
Regards, Scott Greig (7/31/99)
FROM Art Roberts...
"Hello one and Everybody,
In response to many requests, we have launched the first in a series of programs and anecdotes that was inspired by our ever-active audience back in the 60's. Thanks for your encouragement.
I am very proud to announce the release of my CD "The Art Roberts Collection, Volume One." It contains an aircheck from August 13th 1968, and 4 separate tracks of my oldies show theme song: "Hey Baby, They're Playing Our Song." Each segment is taken from actual off-air broadcasts, and digitally remastered at Jeff Davis Productions, Hollywood, CA. Many hours of hard work has gone into bringing this collection to you.
The price per CD is $14.95 plus $3.95 Shipping and Handling. (A total of $18.90.)
All CD's will be shipped via Priority Mail with Tracking.
Send Check or Money Order, along with your Name, Address, City, State and Zip code. Please include your e-mail address.
The Art Roberts Collection, Vol. 1 C/o BAR5 Publishing P.O. Box 3047 Gardnerville, NV 89410
"In the fall of 1938 when I was a freshman at Bloom high school in Chicago Heights, I won first prize in a WLS spelling bee that was held on Saturday mornings. In the early 1950's one of the family enjoyments was to take the
kids to the old 8th street theater and watch the WLS National Barn Dance with LuluBelle and Scotty and Donald Red Blanchard and Homer & Jethro. In 1963 while we had a product on display at the Navy Pier Vacation Show, our two young sons took the product (a corrugated paper ice chest lined with newspapers filled with ice & perishable items) to Dick Biondi who extolled its virtues throughout the evening.Now as we pass the three score and ten mark, we still find WLS one of our favorite family radio stations. John Wozny, Steger, IL" (8/4/99)
From WLS' Bob Hale
Greaaaaaaaaaaat web site. I was part of the WLS scene 1960-1964...(Bob Hale). Love your grasp of radio history. One item missing from the WLS history: It shared 890 with WENR for several decades. I think covering the who and the why of a shared 50,000 AM frequency would be an interesting addition.
WENR was for many years part of the NBC Blue Network....then when the Feds dictated NBC had to split 'ENR became ABC for Chicago. Eventually was owned by ABC...when ABC bought WLS, the latter's call letters prevailed--after all they were better known, even as an independent; and, they were only 3 letters...unique in a way. WENR was ABC's first set of TV call-letters in Chicago; eventually they opted for WLS much to the dismay of many at ABC-TV because of the rock and roll image. Bob Hale (8/7/99)
Bob, thanks for checking in, I've made the corrections to history page. Jeff
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