Friday, April 12, 2013

The Big 89's 89th Birthday

From today's RAMP Newsletter...

"Tonight, a cavalcade of the biggest names in Chicago radio past and present will convene at the historic Navy Pier to participate in a special broadcast to celebrate 89 years of WLS-AM entertaining Chicago. The Big 89 launched the careers of many local and national celebrities, including Gene Autry, Larry Lujack and Bob Sirott. Roe Conn, co-host of the Roe & Roeper Show will host the 89th Birthday Bash Broadcast from 6-8pm featuring legendary 89 WLS broadcasters like Dick Biondi, Catherine Johns and Wayne Messmer, along with special birthday greetings from Larry Lujack, Jeff Hendrix, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Rep. Peter Roskam and Notre Dame football coach Brian Kelly. Illinois Governor Pat Quinn will also be on hand to present WLS with a special proclamation suitable for framing. It was on the night of April 12, 1924, at Sherman House Hotel in Chicago when the airwaves crackled with these immortal words from WLS' inaugural PD, Edgar Bill, who said, "Hear Ye, Hear Ye, Hear Ye, WLS, The Sears Roebuck Station, is on the air." (The WLS call letters were originally derived from nickname "World's Largest Store" in honor of Sears-Roebuck's West Side Headquarters on Homan Avenue.) "When I got into radio I never expected one set of call letters to mean so much to me, and to so many listeners," said Chicago radio legend John Records Landecker, who still works at WLS-FM. "WLS, The Big 89, truly is the 50,000-watt blowtorch of the Midwest."