Chicago's Oldest Radio Station

1956 WMAQ logo

And don't miss: A video chronicle of the the last days (and last hours) of WMAQ.

Old WMAQ montage

Left: A montage of some of WMAQ's earliest personalities. It includes include (starting at the top left and reading clockwise) the Whitney Trio; Ransom Sherman and Russell Pratt in 1927 with studio director Roy Hasenbalg; Georgene Faulkner ("The Story Lady") broadcasting in 1924; and Hal Totten in 1925 doing one of the earliest play-by-play broadcasts from Wrigley Field with engineer Lewis Rice.

WMAQ became, by default, Chicago's oldest radio station in 1934 when Westinghouse transferred the license of KYW to Philadelphia. (WGN remained---and still remains---the city's oldest station under its original ownership.) WMAQ celebrated its seventy-fifth anniversary in 1997.

WMAQ was originally licensed to the Chicago Daily News and the Fair Store (a Loop department store). The station was purchased by NBC in 1931 (the network's second Chicago acquisition) and remained a key NBC owned-and-operated station until General Electric (which purchased RCA, NBC's parent, in 1985) sold it to Group W on February 1st, 1988.

By following the links below you can:

Introduction and main index to this site
WMAQ radio history | "Amos 'n' Andy" | "Fibber McGee and Mollie" | "The Breakfast Club"
Dick Kay | Television at the Merchandise Mart | 1970 television facilities tour | Channel 5 turns 20
The "Chicago School" of television | "Kukla, Fran and Ollie" | Dave Garroway | Mary Hartline
"Lights Out" | Sound effects | 1930 studio tour | WLS | "Empire Builders" | Barry Bernson
Floyd Kalber | The Queen of Love and Beauty | "Today's Children" | Staff announcers | Carol Marin
Ron Magers | Studs Terkel l "Chicago Tonight" | Channel 5 News scrapbooks |Roger Miller recalls
Zoo Parade | Clifton and Frayne Utley | Val Press | Len O'Connor | Johnny Erp | Bill Ray | Daddy-O
Experimental Television: 1930-1933 | Bob Deservi | Kermit Slobb | Ding Dong School | Quiz Kids
Bob Lemon | The Korshak Chronicles | KYW: The Chicago Years | WENR | O.B. Hanson | Renzo
Jack Eigen | Ed Grennan | The World's Best Cup of Coffee | Glenn Webster | Mr. Piano | Hawkins Falls
Chicago Television for Kids |
Radio Hall of Fame |The NBC News Night Report: 23 February, 1967
Audio and video downloads
About the Curator

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Created by Rich Samuels (e-mail to rich@richsamuels.com)