Composite: 89 WLS Chicago | March, 1977

The late 70s. The second heyday of WLS in Chicago. By this time, WLS was the number one station in Chicago, even with FM competitors in the Top 40 format. It’s FM station at 94.7 was WDAI, an Album Rock station that had been around since 1971. WLS AM had been known in the early 70s as the “Rock of Chicago”. With that background, WLS was solidly known as the place for Rock music in the market and there wasn’t a station around strong enough to challenge the brand.

While WLS would once again revive the “Rock of Chicago” name in 1979, at the time of this aircheck in 1977, WLS is using the “MusicRadio 89” branding which had proven itself so successful at sister station WABC New York. The jingles at this time are all from JAM Creative Productions in Dallas, Texas, and are all fairly new, introduced on the air earlier in 1976. As was common back then, WLS IS dayparted, with the more middle of the road songs being played during Lujack’s Morning Show and Edwards’ Midday Program. By the time Landecker’s show goes on, this is a blowtorch of a station with the hardest rock & disco music out there, and it’s nighttime, with WLS’ signal reaching out to half the United States and Canada, parts of Mexico and even the Caribbean and other faraway places! Contests are a staple of WLS programming, with constant promotions and on-air giveaways. WLS airs it’s callers, and Landecker of course has ‘Boogie Check’! This is the legacy of the Enormous 89, a station which was larger than life and would get larger as it entered the early 80s!

This is a full day composite. It starts with Lyle Dean (WLS News) and moves through the days’ different shows including Larry Lujack, Tommy Edwards, Bob Sirott, Larry Lujack, Steve King and Yvonne Daniels.

Courtesy Big Apple Airchecks


  1. mike hotaling

    I probably was the only kid my age that could not wait for the sun to go down because I knew the the big 50,000 watters would start booming in. To me there was NO better rivalry in top 40 radio history than WLS vs. WCFL!!!

  2. David Woodson

    It is interesting that WLS is giving away Elvis concert tickets. Since Elvis left the building in 1977, I wonder if this concert actually took place?

    • Roger

      I think it is likely as the article identifies this as having been recorded in March. Elvis did not pass until August.

  3. Steven Green

    Wonderful aircheck of WLS and the way this great radio station sounded in the mid 1970’s.

    Thanks for this aircheck.

    • My pleasure! Steve, great to see you post again. Been a while, hasn’t it been?

  4. Hope Sibley Vollmer

    Ahhh, the good old days!

  5. Danny L. McDaniel

    In the those bad 70’s winter I would turn on WLS in the car before I turned the defroster on. Great air check!

  6. Lou

    Steve King is doing nights….where is John Landecker?

  7. Darrel

    As a kid I remember listening to WLS even though i was in Ottawa Canada . Fell asleep listening to The Rock of Chicago, woke up to Larry Lujack and Animal Stories. A true pro who will be greatly missed, one of a kind..
    His influence is still heard in radio today.

    Thank’s for the great radio!

  8. Ron Huff

    Mike, My brother and I were two others who waited for the sun to go down! WLS at night between 1972 and 1979 was the best eight years of top 40 radio ever. Landecker had it all- a razor sharp wit, great sense of rhythm as he syncopated along with the beat over the intros, a fine voice, superb sense of timing, awesome jingles, reverb, a 50,000 watt powerhouse that beamed out over much of America- Boogie Check, Americana Panorama, Cannot Get a Witness News, he was surely the best ever, WLS at night in the 70’s and John Records Landecker- this was the perfect storm….

  9. You know Uncle Larr loved doing those live 60 second True Value ads. You can almost hear his eyes rolling.

  10. Mac Beauchat

    Makes me miss the days of real radio… Love the jingle package!

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