Captain Whammo, WMET Chicago | April 1978

95.5 Chicago WMET
Capt Whammo Jim Channel
Jim Channel, aka “Captain Whammo”


WCFL on 1000 AM was a 50,000 watt radio station owned by the Chicago Federation of Labor. WCFL aired a Top 40 format from 1962 to 1976, when the station changed formats to Beautiful Music. BM was a format featuring mainly instrumental background music and it was mainly a format heard on FM stations. WCFL aired that format for two years following it’s heated Top 40 battle with 89 WLS.  On FM, the main competition after WCFL’s demise was WMET.  At 95.5, this station retained a top 40 format for several  years during the disco era.

Featured Air Personality: Jim Channel (“Captain Whammo”) (WDHF, WMET, WCFL, others)

“I Feel like a little screamin’ and yellin’ tonight!”


Jim Channel, aka “Capt. Whammo” is heard here on 95 1/2 WMET. Note the disco music and the WCFL-style jingle package in use at the time which kinda sounds out of place considering the year. They sound good at this point, but I’m at a loss as to why WMET had some of the worst jingles ever heard prior to ’78… low budget, maybe? And, in your humble webmaster’s opinion, the imaging voice is and was horrible, but that’s made up for the fact that the format itself slams, and Whammo is in top form on this aircheck… lively and energetic.

This is a good quality recording, one you’ll enjoy as an alternative to samples of WLS around the same timeframe.

95 1/2 WMET Chicago


  1. This is genius. Anyone who would call themselves “Captain Whammo” is my kind of idiot. If only the station was WMMO.

    Love the advert for the K-Tel LP…how many of those stores they mentioned are still in business?

  2. “Captain Whammo” is known by his real name these days—Jim Channell—and this is what he’s been up to since at least the mid-80’s when I met him at WAY-FM in Ft. Myers, FLA. From his bio at in Naples, FLA…

    Jim grew up in Chicago, 4 blocks from Wrigley Field. He attended the Pillar of Fire Fundamental Christian Grammar School, Lake View High School and Columbia College, where he discovered an interest in radio. After consulting with Ken Draper, Program Director of his favorite radio station (Super WCFL AM 1000) Jim then entered Midwestern Broadcasting School. Upon graduation, Jim’s first radio job took him to WCHI – Chillicothe, Ohio. Jim had one goal in mind – to make it back to Chicago radio! His radio travels took him to WBEX – Chillicothe, Ohio; KCLU – Rolla, MO; Milwaukee, WI; KSTP – Minneapolis/St. Paul MN; and finally to WDHF/WMET – Chicago… all this before accepting Jesus.

    Some of the highlights from Jim’s secular radio days include: Programming KUDL – Kansas City to the highest ratings in their history; Programming KSTP – Minneapolis/St. Paul from 13th to 2nd in 105 days which earned Jim nationwide recognition in all the trade publications; and in 1975 (as Captain Whammo) he was voted one of the Top 4 DJs in America by Billboard Magazine!

    On November 5, 1978 through a series of God-ordained circumstances, Jim accepted Jesus as personal savior as he cried out for forgiveness of his sins.

    Jim immediately turned his back on Rock N Roll radio, even though he would eventually receive four big money offers to return. He taught at Midwestern Broadcasting School for $6/hour for 2 ½ years as he was being disciple by Pastors-in-training at Moody Bible Institute.

    In 1981, God opened a door for Jim to begin his Christian radio ministry. He has worked at WCRM – Dundee, IL; WCFL – Chicago (when it was a Christian station for a time); WAYJ – Ft. Myers, FL; World Harvest Radio WHME – South Bend, IN; and now since 1998 as Morning Host at Praise FM (WSRX) in Naples, FL.

    Some of the highlights from Jim’s Christian radio days include: Programming WCFL – Chicago to have more listeners during music hours than any other Christian station in America; recording “Christian Countdown America” for 10 years (and seeing over 3,000 souls won for the Lord in that time); becoming the very first Program Director in the history of the WAY-FM ministries; programming WAYJ – Ft. Myers, Fl to the highest “hooper” ratings in their history; sharing Jesus on the air since 1998 at Praise FM (WSRX) – Naples, FL; and in February 2006 at God’s direction, started the world’s first Christian Oldies program, “Classic Christian Gold.” Through this ministry he shares Jesus in Africa, Kenya, New Zealand, the Phillipines, France, the UK, Alaska, Canada, Puerto Rico, Haiti and the U.S.A. Jim can also be reached via email at

    Jim’s goal in life is very simple – “To live in peace – and share Jesus”! Amen!

    • Joe.. I remember your stay in Fort Mud! We had a blast and working with Jim was a trip! I am so glad he’s still in the greater SWFLA market and been drivin’ limos and doing mornings on Praise FM… If I am 51, he’s in his 60’s and still going strong.. You can knock him down, but he get’s right back up… And to you and your neat career in Radio and now NBC-20 in Springfield as a Miss.State weather grad, way to go! “Skipper T.” from those Way-Fm days and WCIL-FM in Carbondale, where Joe grew up listening to this old guy….

  3. Bob Roberts

    A P.S. – The date on this aircheck is April 6, 1978. The imaging voice is that of PD Gary Price, who kept the imaging in-house. Jingles were done on the cheap in the ‘DHF days till September ’76, when the station bought a package from TM Productions and had it redone with the format change. The TM shotgun jingles in Whammo’s aircheck arrived in early ’78 and stayed till the format change to AOR. It should not be a surprise that ‘MET used them because Gary had worked at WCFL (where the TM shotguns were the station’s signature for its last four years at a rocker) before coming to WDHF.

  4. Dean Poling

    I went to the same church as Jim Channell in the mid 80’s and worked with him on the Christian Countdown America radio program as well as WCFL AM 1000 after it became a Christian station. He was great to work with and a strong man for God.
    When he left Illinois, it left a big hole in Chicago radio…. Florida’s gain….

  5. Stasick

    I was a student of his at Midwestern Broadcasting School and he was a funny guy, but couldn’t understand most of the music I was interested in. I had already begun working in radio in ’74, but decided to make it “official” by attending the broadcasting school. Years later, Jim was supposed to debut at KENO-AM in Vegas, but mysteriously disappeared. Fowl play was being considered a possibility, but suddenly he surfaced as the afternoon drive man on WWMM-FM in Arlington Heights, IL. He explained his sudden absence by saying that he hated the Nevada desert and left without notice because he was afraid that the folks at KENO would try to convince him to stay. Clearly, he was having some difficulties in his life after his time at MBS – he had attempted suicide – and so instead of seeking help through normal channels of personal/professional interactions, he decided to go the religious route and apparently has continued in this fashion to this day.

    • Jim Channell aka Captain Whammo

      Dear Stasick,

      A friend, Rob Pearlman, told me that there were three rumours about me. 1. I went to Las Vegas and became a big time gambler. 2. I tried or succeeded at attempting suicide, and 3. I had become a Christian and went into Christian radio.

      I’m happy to report, that the only rumour that is TOTALLY true is that I became a Christian by God’s grace and forgiveness, and after two years of in-depth study of the bible, going to church, and accepting God’s forgiveness through Jesus Christ, I got my first job in Christian radio at WCRM in Dundee IL, and have been sharing Jesus on the air via local stations and syndicated worldwide radio shows. Christian Countdown America for 10 years, and now Classic Christian Gold.

      There is not one ounce of truth in the first two rumours! But the third, that I became a follower of Jesus Christ, IS 100% true. I just wanted to set the record straight.

      God Bless,
      Jim…Psalm 145!!!!!!!

      • Stasick

        Well, I’ll take your word about this Jim, but I’m just going by quotes from you in the paper at the time. I often find that people who have some type of precipitous religious conversion, do so because of some sudden drastic event in their lives – a long-lasting relationship gone bad, a near-death experience, financial difficulties, some type of psychic trauma…and resort to what you may call a “Damascus road conversion” (using your religion’s line of thought), so these “rumors” (of which the third cannot be if you say it is true) would be highly believable under your past conditions of which you’ve been quoted. OK, maybe you were not necessarily a “big time gambler” in Vegas, but you *did* leave Vegas’ KENO suddenly and “just didn’t have the nerve to tell them” that you were going. As for the second, let’s say details are not necessary here because you’ve decided to go a different direction in your life that is more fulfilling to you –
        something that “floats your boat” as could be said. One could say that you’ve certainly had an eventful life.

        best years ahead to you…

        • Rob Pearlman

          I’ve known Jim Channell for forty years. He once said he thought of driving his car off the Wells Street bridge in Chicago. He never said he tried to commit suicide. And just for the record, you sound like an intolerant asshole.

          • Well, at least he said it to Jim’s face. But, please. Lets not resort to name calling. I believe Jim has more than adequately answered all the questions as to his whereabouts over the years. I’m glad he found Christ. No better thing can happen to someone.

        • Arlene

          But, if you knew Jim you’d know that he likes himself too well and enjoys life to much to ever go the self-harm route. But he does enjoy being a topic of conversation…….

  6. Patty( Jones)Camp

    Hello Jim (aka J.J.Mitchell)Remembrg your soldier days @Ft.Leonard Wood Mo. & when you brought the great tunes from the midwest on KCLU Rolla,Mo. Thats the days you could get the besst charcoal broiled hambrg @ the Totem Pole trading Post, which is Still in existance. You also greatly influenced Bill in launching his radio career. Many miles & yrs seperate us all, but its so great to know we share our faith in Christ. We’ll celebrate togethr & catch up in heaven probably. Gods grace as you walk in the Light.

  7. Rockin' Ron

    “Are you whammo-ing out there?” That was the Captains big catch phrase… It was kind of like asking if his audience getting lucky without being crude…. I grew up listening to WMET and The Loop. I remember how these stations battled with eachother back in the 70’s…. Some of the stores mentioned in the commercials are now defunct… Goldbatts! Wow, listening to this is likng taking a trip back on Mr.Peabodys way-back machine… 🙂

  8. Did Jim ever go under the name, Rick Patton? Did he ever work at WYCA in Hammond, IN?

  9. Johnny Angel

    Jim is training me as a DJ at Praise FM and I couldn’t ask for a better teacher, even if he is older than rocks! He is quick to praise and loves Jesus!

  10. Don Beno

    Capt. Whammo was one of my favorite jocks, I mimicked his high energy screamer style at WCFL-FM in the 1990’s.

    Chicago had some great screamers. Ron O’Brien, Jeff Hooker (aka Shadoe Stevens) and Dr. Brock.

    • Pat Lacey VanTuyl Saitta

      Mark Watkins…think of you every time someone mentions Athens, GA or Bozeman, MT! I did end up dating Jim in 1986. I spent some time with him in Maine…and fell in love with the place. I don’t know where he is now…but I bet Bob Roberts does. Bob and I are still friends…and Whammo and I have reconnected in the last few years as well. I learned a lot from you guys. We all had some great times…I miss those days!

      • jim

        Hey there,

        How are you? What are you up to these days?

  11. Sean May

    He is doing great doing Christian Internet radio in Naples Florida. I should no he is my uncle

  12. Arlene

    I was wondering if that picture was supposed to be a picture of Jim Channell….’cause it’s not. Who is that guy?

    • Arlene, the picture you are talking about is actually an advertisement. I don’t have too many of them on the site, but that’s an ad block. I believe that one takes you to an online music service. I don’t have any control over what ads appear, although I can ban something if it is offensive. But, yea. That’s not Capt. Whammo, for sure!

      • Arlene

        Yeah, Steve, get rid of it, it’s not Jim. I can supply loads of pictures if someone wants them. Thanks.

  13. Gary Kerns

    He sounds something like Big Jack Armstrong. WMET’S branding was different in that it called itself “95 and 1/2” instead of “95.5”.

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