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The Ken Draper WCFL Story

And now, courtesy of new Contributor Jim Hampton, a story that everyone should hear!

The battle for the hearts and ears of Chicago was on for the better part of two decades. For many years, the top spot went back and forth from WLS to WCFL and back.

WCFL was, of course, the ONLY radio station owned by a Labor Union. The Chicago Federation of Labor had used the station extensively in pro-worker’s programming. But the Top 40 years were certainly the glory years for WCFL, and while there were pro-labor programs – usually in the weekend early Sunday morning slot when most of Chicago was asleep, most of the excitement on the station was the jocks and the music.

Ken Draper was one of America’s great programmers. Our contributor conducted this wonderful interview which includes jingles and airchecks, with the great Ken Draper. He contacted us here at Airchexx and offered us this pristine copy. Our sincere thanks to Jim Hampton!

AM 1000 Chicago WCFL The Voice Of Labor John Driscoll Dick & Doug Larry Lujack Federation of Labor WLUP ESPN

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9 Comments


  1. Thank you.
    I enjoyed this very much.

    Reply

  2. I first met Ken at KSTT in Davenport, IA where he was PD. Met with him in at CFL once or twice and then moved to Texas to be a PD. Out of the clear blue sky one day, Ken called me and offered me a job at a station he was consulting in either Detroit on Indianapolis I can’t remember…Detroit, I think. I had just accepted the Texas job so I felt I couldn’t accept his offer. Biggest mistake of my life. Where is he now?

    Reply

    • Is KD still living and where does he live?

      Reply

  3. Ken is the Editor and Publisher of a very influential political news and views website in Los Angeles called CityWatchLA.com.

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    • Jim, thank you for the update on Ken Draper. In your closing remarks on the KD, WCFL Chicago piece, you mention that a future program would focus on his earlier days. Those of course include his stint in Cleveland, when I was a teen and where I knew him. Has that show been done and can it be heard somewhere? Thank You. db

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  4. When I was a teen in Cleveland, in the early 60’s, I had a part time gig engineering record hops for Jim Runyon & Jerry G at KYW/WKYC. I, on several occasions, had the chance to talk shop with Ken. What a golden opportunity and memory for a kid who loved radio!

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  5. Jim, thank you for the update on Ken Draper. In your closing remarks on the KD, WCFL Chicago piece, you mention that a future program would focus on his earlier days. Those of course include his stint in Cleveland, when I was a teen and where I knew him. Has that show been done and can it be heard somewhere? Thank You. db

    Reply

    • The cleveland part of ken’s history has not been produced yet. I hope to do that before the year is out.

      Reply

  6. So glad I was able to hear this C-FL of a station (’66/’67). Like so many others, I was blown away by the overall sound of WCFL. When compared to WLS, the audio on WCFL absolutely popped and you knew exactly what station you had on the radio! Had to chuckle when Draper said “..no one called to say Chickenman was too long”. Those listeners who wanted music didn’t bother to call…they went to WLS. And when John Rook took over The Big 89, Draper’s dream started to unravel. But gotta give Ken credit for one of the most spectacular radio stations ever heard. Thanks Jim for rekindling pleasant memories.

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