Joel Sebastian, 89 WLS Chicago | August, 1971

890 Chicago WLS The Rock
Joel Sebastian circa 1963
Joel Sebastian circa 1963

Contributor Jim Hampton has been patiently waiting for this HD quality (for AM radio) aircheck of the enormous 89 WLS to post. This needed no extra processing. It sounds like it is coming right out of a high-quality AM radio speaker!

Here’s the fun part. WLS in 1971 was the undisputed ratings leader in Chicago. The music at this point was probably considered not terribly friendly to Top 40 stations. Much of it was slow and unexciting. Of course, some great titles stand out. In parts. Because this is telescoped, you get to hear beginnings and endings only. Still, you get a feel for the sound and flow of WLS in the Summer of 1971. Rare Earth’s “Celebrate” and Carole King’s “I Feel The Earth Move”, to me, are the musical highlights.

Because we got this mostly unscoped, I mastered this one-hour recording down to 26 minutes. I kept in the commercials and elements. The one thing I really wanted was a full newscast. That was already scoped out by our contributor. Listen to some of these commercials! Lots of soft drinks, I.E. Coke and Pepsi products are heard. You’ll hear an old Schlitz beer commercial. Perhaps the best part of this, if you’re a fan of Joel Sebastian’s work, is the live commercial reads. There are quite a few. One of the interesting aspects of the live commercial reads is the pauses that Joel Sebastian takes. What that does is underscore the incredible processing at WLS. The engineers certainly worked magic in creating the sound of the Big 89. We can hear the background ambient noise of the WLS studio increase in the pauses of Joel Sebastian’s monologue.

At this point in WLS history, the station sounded clean and bright. The elements are woven together in a tight format. Despite what I feel was a lousy year for Top 40 music overall, WLS was on top of its game and only got bigger as the 1970s wore on.

Click the BIG BLUE BUTTON to listen

You’ll really enjoy this long recording. Give this your full attention so that you can get a feel for the greatness of the BIG 89, WLS!


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