This is the main (right) and auxilliary (left) antenna of "THE BIG 89." The main tower is 586 feet or 189.3º in height.
This station has special meaning to me since I grew up only 90 miles from here in the 60s and 70s when WLS was the 50,000 watt rock 'n roll blowtorch of northern IL and about 30 other states.
This site is actually located on the south edge of the city of Tinley Park just a 1/4 mile northeast of the intersection of I-80 and US 45. WLS has been transmitting from here since about 1938. At that time the station was on 870 kc. It moved to 890 kc on 03/29/41.
This is the gate leading to the transmitter building showing the main tower in the background. The smaller tower supports the studio-transmitter link (STL) antennas. The auxilliary tower is out of the photo just to the left of the STL tower.
Closer view of the transmitter building looking through the gate. The old WLS 'lightning bolt' insignia and ABC logos are clearly visible. The '9595' on the upper right corner refers to the physical address of the building which is 9595 W. 183rd.
This is a photo of a page in the 1941 edition of the "WLS Family Album" showing the antenna and transmitter building during that era.
The transmitter site was also featured on the cover of the 1948 edition of the "WLS Family Album".
Some examples of the "WLS Weekly" magazine from 1935.
Some examples of the WLS "Stand By" magazine from 1935.
This booklet, published by The Prairie Farmer Publishing Company in 1937, contains humorous limericks about many of the stars and staff of WLS at the time.
A page from the "WLS Limerick Book" (above) concerning 'Our Chief', Mr. Burridge D. Butler.
Published in 1969, this book by James F. Evans chronicles the early years and development of WLS.
This is my copy of the rather rare WLS Personality Album published in 1967. It is marked "Volume 1, No. 1" but as far as I know, no other volumes were ever published. It contains 64 photo filled pages of information about the station and DJs during this great period of time.
This magazine originally sold for 50¢. Recently I have seen these sell for over $50 on eBay.
The DJ lineup in '67 was Clark Weber (who was also the Program Director), Bernie Allen, Dex Card, Ron Riley, Art Roberts, and Don Phillips. Interestingly, the air schedule on the inside rear cover shows 4 of the 6 on the air 7 days a week! Only Clark Weber and Don Phillips had Sunday off! In addition there are many mentions of the DJs doing live appearances at record hops. Several of them even flew their own airplanes to the events!
A WLS "STICK IT AND WIN" bumper sticker from 1984. This promo, sponsored by Pepsi, promised up to $100,000 in cash and prizes.
The famous "lips" sticker from the "MUSICRADIO" era.
Some of the classic "WLS MUSICRADIO 89" weekly music surveys. These particular examples are all from 1975. The featured DJs are (L to R) the late Yvonne Daniels, J.J. Jeffrey, John "Records" Landecker, and Bob Sirott.
This photo depicts a card showing the legendary WLS 'Superjock' Larry Lujack. Cards like this were often mailed to listeners in response to their letters. On the back, in typical Lujack humor, it says "Thanks for writing. I hope you live happily ever after. Bless your heart and other vital organs. Eat all your vegetables, practice good oral hygiene and display this picture in a prominent place."
A rare promotional copy of Larry Lujack's 1974 recording of The Ballad of the Mad Streaker. This is on the Curtom label, a division of Buddah Records. This 45 RPM record has the same recording in stereo on one side and mono on the other as was typical of the period.
In 1975 Lujack published a book titled SUPERJOCK. I am very fortunate to own a copy of this somewhat rare book in very good condition. And mine is autographed!
This is the autograph.
A popular feature on the Larry Lujack show was "Uncle Lar' and Li'l Tommy's Animal Stories". These programs were so popular that WLS released albums of them in the early 80s. This photo depicts volumes #1 (©1981), #2 (©1982), and #3 (©1983). A share of the profits from the sale of these albums were to be donated to The Forgotten Children's Fund.
A WLS Fantastic Plastic Card from 1980. The holder of this card could get discounts and specials from certain WLS sponsors. You could also win a prize if the number on your card was announced on the air.
A 1962 WLS QSL card. This card was sent to a listener in Norway.
Another WLS QSL card - year unknown. Obviously from the rotary dial telephone era.
A WLS QSL card from December 1973 issued by Chief Engineer Don Amell.
A QSL letter issued to me in 1985 for my reception of WLS here in the Denver area. It was signed by Jeffrey E. Trumper, VP & General Manager.
©2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 pmg