1000 WCFL

Format Change in Chicago: WCFL AM 1000 Becomes WLUP | April 29, 1987

Date of Recording: April 28-29, 1987 Station(s): WCFL AM 1000, WLUP/WLUP-FM 97.9 Chicago, Illinois Featured Air Talent: Steve Dahl, Gary Meier, Jonathan Brandmeir, Patty Hayes, Various others Contributor: Frank Davis Aircheck Entry: 1,423 Comments: “WCFL – Nothing has changed but the religion…” At the stroke of midnight, 4.29.87, The legendary WCFL call letters disappeared forever from AM 1000. So, too, did the unique religious programming. In a final half hour in which the station hosts said goodbye, a farewell show worthy of a great Top 40 station, the staff takes the time to say goodbye to dozens of callers… then goes out with a prayer. The next hour of this hour and a half aircheck is all the new WLUP (AM) in the minutes following the midnight flip, then l...

Big Ron O’Brien, 1000 AM WCFL Chicago | October, 1973

The heated battle between WCFL and WLS never was hotter than this… in 1973, ‘CFL actually BEAT WLS in the ratings – it happened only once. But what a year and what a sound the Voice of Labor had. Having ‘stolen’ Larry Lujack from WLS, and the addition of some great talent, including Big Ron O’Brien (who went on to bigger fame at WXLO 99X New York), WCFL really cooked during this time period. Restored by your humble webmaster in honor of O’Brien, who passed away on April 27, 2008, here’s a 22 minute high quality aircheck recorded just after WCFL came off the number one rating book, the best book it would ever get. One listen to the fast pace of this station and you’ll know why they knocked the Rock of Chicago off its pedistal – eve...

Big Ron O’Brien, 1000 AM WCFL | 1976

1976 – The final year that WCFL played Top 40. Before flaming out, this was an incredible station – fast paced, screamin’ jocks, and a harder edge to the music than even crosstown WLS, which billed itself as the “Rock of Chicago”. Unfortunately for all of us who loved the format, the American Federation of Labor Union that owned the station was pretty much finished with playing radio, and WCFL was just about done with Rock music in general. That story we’ll tell at another time. By 1976, WCFL had fallen substantially in the ratings race, due to increased visibility and promotion by both WLS, and the emergence of FM Rock stations which were gaining prominence. You’d never notice if you were a listener to the Voice of Labor though, as you’ll he...

Kevin Matthews, “Night Service”, WLUP The Loop AM 1000 Chicago | August 12, 1987

The great experiment to see if a Talk/AOR hybrid format would work on AM is fully on display here, at the former WCFL Chicago AM 1000 digs, at this point known as “The Loop AM 100 WLUP”. The Night Service is on the air, with Kevin Matthews and a lot of characters, phoners and *some* Rock & Roll. The experiment wouldn’t last long, and soon enough, plenty of gospel would be heard coming from AM 1000. But this era of The Loop was highly written up in the trades. Starts with the end of the afternoon show, a song, then Kevin Matthews. First bit is something with ‘Ronny Reagan’. Yeah, he was getting senile in 1987. There’s lots of dialogue with engineer “Rat Boy”. Ends halfway through something called an “Elvis Minute”. Runs 31:50,...

Airchexx and Big Apple Airchecks Present: A Tribute to “Superjock” Larry Lujack

On December 18, 2013, the broadcast world and millions of devoted fans said goodbye to a man who had become a fixture in Chicago radio. Larry Lujack first became a well known DJ in Seattle, at KJR “Channel 95” (950 AM), before moving east to the Windy City. In no time at all, Superjock became a household name, holding down Afternoon Drive on 89 WLS, and later at “The Voice of Labor”, WCFL before returning to WLS to do mornings. But this website is not here to post Lujacks’ resume. In conjunction with Big Apple Airchecks, we at Airchexx present a tribute to Superjock Larry Lujack. This audio tribute is just that. Stories and interviews with friends and co-workers – the very people who knew Lujack the best. From the Big Apple Airchecks website, “Many...

Larry Lujack, WCFL Chicago | March 15, 1976 – Part 1

This recording is heard in other places around the web but is an historic broadcast for a number of reasons. First, this is posting on our website on the occasion of Larry Lujack‘s death on December 18, 2013. More importantly, however, is the fact that 3/15/76 is the day that WCFL abruptly dropped its Top 40 format and switched to Beautiful Music, a format that was popular on many FM radio stations. This begins a few minutes into Lujack‘s show and coming out of The Beatles “Yesterday”, segues right into a montage of WCFL jingles, then Superjock introduces a car commercial that he says is the worst he’s ever heard. We’d have to agree. Not to tease our listeners, but this is being presented in several parts, partly because listening to one long file can be...

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 ...

Johnny Driscoll, WCFL Chicago | 1974

Enter John Driscoll (Jock, Consultant & Airchexx Contributor). Talk about HIGH ENERGY! Driscoll easily gives John Records Landecker over at crosstown WLS a run for his money. This is 1974. WCFL was owned by the Chicago Federation of Labor. I always thought it interesting that a labor union could own a radio station. Actually, WCFL had a very storied history promoting blue collar workers in Chicago going back to the 1940s, but that’s another story. By the time the 1960s & 70s came along, WCFL was solidly onboard the Top 40 train.

Jim Runyon, WCFL Chicago | August, 1966

The Chicago Federation of Labor station, as heard during the Summer of 1966. The jock is Jim Runyon – he’s got a smooth voice, and the advertisements feature smooth ladies’ voices! At least, the one for “Compoz” does. You’ll hear five minutes of scoped Jim Runyon, then a minute of WCFL News headlines before its back to music and the end of the recording. The recorded level on this tape was so low that about 50 percent of the audio sounds like tape hiss… but re-mastered it’s not too bad. Runs 7:34, scoped. Enjoy.

Johnny Driscoll, WCFL Chicago | 1976

Our newest Contributor looms large among legendary personalities John Driscoll was a popular (not to mention famous) jock in cities like Chicago and Miami, along with a few other places…he currently has his own voiceover website and even has his own archives – check it out at Voiceover America. The link leads to a section of his site called “Yearbook”. Among the original gems Mr. Driscoll has archived is this just under 3 minute scope featuring Driscoll’s ENORMOUS voice and some classic Super CFL breaks! It begins with WCFL’s Top of the Hour jingle and quickly blows through a few breaks and talkovers. Listening to this, I had to wonder – why didn’t CFL blow WLS out of the water? Identical signals, but a slightly different approach to Top 40 r...

Ron Brittain; Barney Pipp, WCFL Chicago | October, 1967

When new Contributor Frank Davis wrote to say he was sending a box of original tapes, we really had no idea of the quality of the recordings. Most, says Davis, were taken right from the source reels, or recorded directly onto cassette. This was apparently the former. Starting off with a promo for the upcoming ‘New’ Dick Biondi ’68 show, here’s Ron Brittain and Barney Pipp – not together, but mixed inside this 30 minute partial scope of what sounds like a couple of different day recordings from the Fall of 1967. Listen to the assortment of jingles that WCFL was using in 1967! Some are instantly recognizable as classic PAMS cuts, others we’re not quite sure about. Heller, perhaps? As we’ve pointed out on numerous occasions on this website, the AM rec...

Ron O’Brien, WCFL Chicago, Part 2 | 1973

Description by David Hudach: I have a 27 minute compilation aircheck of Big Ron O’Brien from the 70’s. Early 70’s and then later when CFL was running The Last Contest. Myself and friends were from Struthers, Ohio at the time and loved Big Ron. We were involved in our high school FM radio station and aspired to be big city radio jocks. At one point probably in 72-73 we actually called Big Ron and asked him to say something about us on the air. He couldn’t do that, but he did mention Struthers, Ohio when he introed Sister Mary Elephant by Cheech and Chong. We were thrilled. That segment is about 6 minutes into the aircheck. In addition, when Big Ron went to WXLO NY, four of us took a bus trip to NYC and visited Big Ron. After calling him that first time, we managed to...

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