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WUSN (99.5 FM) is a country radio station in Chicago, Illinois. Owned by Entercom and branded as "US✶99", it is based at Two Prudential Plaza in the Loop, and transmits from atop the John Hancock Center with an HD Radio signal.[5]

WUSN
US 99.5 WUSN Chicago.png
CityChicago, Illinois
Broadcast areaChicago market
BrandingUS 99
SloganChicago's Hottest Country
Frequency99.5 MHz (also on HD Radio)
99.5 HD-2 for The Wolf (future country)
First air dateFebruary 2, 1940[1][2]
FormatCountry
ERP5,700 watts
HAAT425 meters (1,394 ft)
ClassB
Facility ID28620
Callsign meaningUS Ninety-nine (frequency)
Former callsignsW51C (1940–1943)[3]
WWZR (1943–1946)[3]
WEFM (1946–1982)[3][4]
OwnerEntercom
(Entercom License, LLC)
Sister stationsWBBM, WBBM-FM, WBMX, WCFS-FM, WSCR, WXRT
WebcastListen Live
Websiteus99.radio.com

HistoryEdit

Classical eraEdit

 
WEFM's logo as a classical station

The station began broadcasting experimentally on February 2, 1940, as W9XEN.[2][6] Shortly thereafter, the station would be licensed as W51C, broadcasting at 45.1 MHz.[7][3] It was one of the first FM stations in the United States, and is the country's oldest FM station still in operation.[7][8][9][10] The station was owned by the Chicago based radio/television manufacturer Zenith Radio Corporation.[7][3] Its transmitter was located atop the Field Building.[3]

In 1943, the station's call sign was changed to WWZR.[3] In 1946, the station's call sign was changed to WEFM, and it began broadcasting on 98.5 MHz, while continuing to broadcast at 45.1 MHz.[3] WEFM's call letters stood for the initials of Zenith Radio Corporation president Eugene F. McDonald.[11][12] In 1947, the station's frequency was changed to 99.5 MHz.[3] On June 1, 1961, WEFM became the second station in the United States to broadcast in FM stereo.[13] In 1972, its transmitter was moved to the John Hancock Center.[3]

From 1940, when the station began broadcasting, until February 1978 the station aired a classical music format.[14][15][16][17] Few advertisements were aired, and until 1966 the only advertisements were for Zenith products.[18][19][14] In 1966, the station began to sell advertising time, though commercials were limited to five minutes per hour and the ads had to be compatible with WEFM's classical music format.[19]

In 1967, WEFM won the National Federation of Music Clubs' "Special 4-Star Award" for "outstanding programming devoted to American composers".[20]

General Cinema Corporation ownershipEdit

In the early 1970s Zenith agreed to sell WEFM to General Cinema Corporation, which intended to change the station's call letters to WICV (pseudo-Roman numerals for 99.5) and institute a rock format.[3][14][8] Litigation delayed the sale and format change until February 1978.[15][16] As part of the settlement to allow the station's sale, WEFM's classical music library was donated to WNIB and WBEZ.[15] General Cinema converted the station to a top 40 format with program director Brian White and afternoon drive personality Don Cox, but decided not to change the call sign.[16][21][22] The station was branded "We-FM" and initially broadcast from the studios used by the Zenith classical music format at 120 West Madison street in the Chicago loop.[23] General Cinema moved studios to the 13th floor of the Hancock Center at 875 N. Michigan Ave in 1980, where the transmitter resides on the 93rd floor.[3] The station leased a 67 kHz subcarrier to the Physicians Radio Network, a news service for medical doctors.[24][25] In early 1981, the station adopted a MOR format, with programming from the syndicated Schulke II package.[26][27]

The WEFM call sign is now used on 95.9 FM in nearby Michigan City, Indiana, which also is imaged as "We-FM."

US✶99Edit

In 1982, the station was purchased by First Media Corporation for $9.2 million.[28] On February 6, 1982, the station adopted a country music format, branded "US-99", and its call sign was changed to WUSN on February 25, 1982.[28][27][4] The station's initial promotion was that four songs would be played before any commercial break ensued, and that $25,000 would be given to the first person to call if the guarantee wasn't fulfilled.[29] Within the first week, two mistakes were noticed by listeners and $50,000 was given away.[29]

Lee Logan was hired as program director from KFMK in Houston, remaining with the station until 1987, when he departed for KLAC in Los Angeles.[29][30] From 1982 to 1985, Don Wade was the station's morning host.[31][32] Wade was briefly midday host on the station, before moving to WLS.[33][31] Shock-Jock Gary Dee replaced Wade as morning host in 1985, but was fired a year later.[32][34]

The station's initial country music competitors in Chicago were 670 WMAQ, 104.3 WJEZ, and 1160 WJJD, which switched to the adult standards Music of Your Life format within weeks of "US-99"'s debut.[29] In years when the station lacked major local competition, it has ranked as the nation's most listened to country station.[35][36]

In 1993, Infinity Broadcasting bought WUSN.[37] Infinity was acquired by the parent company of CBS in 1997.[38]

On August 8, 2016, WUSN rebranded slightly as "US✶99", dropping the .5 from their moniker and unveiling a new logo and slogan, "Chicago's Hottest Country".[39][40][41] The traditional star seen in their logo was changed in the new version to the six-pointed variety represented in the acclaimed Flag of Chicago, with the logo coloring following suit using the flag's light blue and red.[41][39][40]

On February 2, 2017, CBS Radio announced it would merge with Entercom.[42] The merger was approved on November 9, 2017, and was consummated on the 17th.[43][44]

AwardsEdit

In 1993, 2006, and 2015, WUSN won the Country Music Association's Major Market Station of the Year award.[45][46][47]

In 2005, WUSN host Lisa Dent won the Country Music Association's Major Market Personality of the Year award.[48]

In 2010 and 2011, the station won Country Radio Broadcasters/Country Aircheck Awards for Station of the Year for a Major Market; the Lisa Dent and Ramblin' Ray Show for Major Market Morning Show and Marci Braun (weeknight host/MD) for Major Market MD.[49][50]

In 2010 and 2015, Lisa Dent and Ramblin' Ray Stevens won the Country Music Association Major Market Personality of the Year for the Lisa Dent and Ramblin' Ray Morning Show.[48][47]

ControversyEdit

On April 13, 2001, a memo from WUSN management asking on-air station employees to attend the George Strait Country Music Festival on May 26, 2001 at their own expense and "work the crowd" on behalf of the station was leaked to Robert Feder's media column for the Chicago Sun-Times.[51]

On July 7, 2003, country music radio personality Cliff Dumas sued Infinity Broadcasting Corporation and WUSN in United States District Court, seeking monetary damages. Dumas alleged that station management had induced him to resign gainful employment at a New Mexico radio station to take a job which was offered but then never materialized.[52]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Broadcasting & Cable Yearbook 2010, Broadcasting & Cable, 2010. p. D-186. Retrieved September 6, 2018.
  2. ^ a b Broadcasting Yearbook 1947, Broadcasting, 1947. p. 226. Retrieved September 6, 2018.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l History Cards for WUSN, fcc.gov. Retrieved September 6, 2018.
  4. ^ a b Call Sign History, fcc.gov. Retrieved September 6, 2018.
  5. ^ http://hdradio.com/station_guides/widget.php?id=4 Archived 2016-09-16 at the Wayback Machine HD Radio Guide for Chicago
  6. ^ Sterling, Christopher H. (2013). Biographical Encyclopedia of American Radio. Routledge. Retrieved September 6, 2018.
  7. ^ a b c Broadcasting Yearbook 1941, Broadcasting, 1941. p. 386. Retrieved September 6, 2018.
  8. ^ a b Duston, Anne. "Attorney Fights to Keep Classical Format on FM", Billboard. July 15, 1972. p. 23. Retrieved September 6, 2018.
  9. ^ The Zenith Story. Zenith Electronics Corporation. p. 16. Retrieved September 6, 2018.
  10. ^ "Zenith Pres. McDonald Dies In Chicago", Billboard. May 19, 1958. p. 6. Retrieved February 23, 2019.
  11. ^ Schneider, John. "Eugene F. McDonald Jr.: Broadcasting Pioneer", Radio World. July 13, 2017. Retrieved September 6, 2018.
  12. ^ Chicago Radio: Some facts, figures, and things you might not know", Chicago Tribune Magazine, March 4, 1979. p. 16. Retrieved September 6, 2018.
  13. ^ Fitch, Charles (January 27, 2016). "How FM Stereo Came to Life". RadioWorld. Retrieved September 6, 2018.
  14. ^ a b c Citizens Committee to Save WEFM and Citizens Committee To Save WEFM, Inc., Appellants, v. Federal Communications Commission and United States Of America, Appellees, GCC Communications of Chicago, Inc. Zenith Radio Corporation, Intervenors, 506 F.2d 246 (D.C. Cir. 1974), U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit - 506 F.2d 246 (D.C. Cir. 1974). Justia. Retrieved September 6, 2018.
  15. ^ a b c Brenner, Daniel L. "Government Regulation of Radio Program Format Changes", University of Pennsylvania Law Review. Volume 127. 1978. Retrieved February 18, 2019.
  16. ^ a b c "Chicago's WEFM-FM Doubles Teen Numbers", Billboard. September 23, 1978. p. 34. Retrieved September 6, 2018.
  17. ^ "FM Outlet Histories", Broadcasting — Telecasting. A Continuing Study of Major Radio Markets: Study No. 7: Chicago. October 25, 1948. p. 21. Retrieved February 14, 2019.
  18. ^ "Zenith conversion", Broadcasting. November 4, 1963. p. 5. Retrieved February 23, 2019.
  19. ^ a b "Zenith's FM station goes commercial", Broadcasting. February 14, 1966. pp. 58, 60. Retrieved February 23, 2019.
  20. ^ "From the Music Capitals of the World", Billboard. August 8, 1967. p. 37. Retrieved February 24, 2019.
  21. ^ Broadcasting Yearbook 1979, Broadcasting, 1979. p. C-63. Retrieved September 6, 2018.
  22. ^ "We Fm 99", WEFM. August 12, 1978. Retrieved September 7, 2018.
  23. ^ "We Fm 99", WEFM. December 9, 1978. Retrieved April 25, 2019.
  24. ^ "FCC FM News", VHF-UHF Digest. September 1975. p. 3. Retrieved April 25, 2019.
  25. ^ "Physicians Radio Network Is Set", The New York Times. May 20, 1975. Retrieved April 25, 2019.
  26. ^ "Fragmentation Stalks Arbitrons In L.A., Chi.", Billboard. February 14, 1981. p. 23. Retrieved September 7, 2018.
  27. ^ a b "KSFX Gets 'Talkradio' Format", Billboard. May 1, 1982. p. 19. Retrieved September 7, 2018.
  28. ^ a b "WEFM: New Owners", Billboard. February 13, 1982. p. 74. Retrieved February 26, 2019.
  29. ^ a b c d Kirby, Kip. "Country Clicks for WUSN", Billboard. July 3, 1982. pp. 20, 49. Retrieved September 7, 2018.
  30. ^ Stark, Phyllis. "PD of the Week", Billboard. July 18, 1992. p. 67. Retrieved September 7, 2018.
  31. ^ a b Zorn, Eric. "Radio legend Don Wade dies at age 72", Chicago Tribune. September 08, 2013. Retrieved September 8, 2018.
  32. ^ a b Bornstein, Rollye. "Vox Jox", Billboard. April 20, 1985. p. 20. Retrieved September 8, 2018.
  33. ^ Freeman, Kim. "Vox Jox", Billboard. January 11, 1986. p. 15. Retrieved September 8, 2018.
  34. ^ "Disc Jockey Was Fired, WUSN Says", Chicago Tribune. July 31, 1986. Retrieved September 8, 2018.
  35. ^ "America Online Launches Leading Infinity Broadcasting Stations Online on Radio@AOL and Radio@AOL for Broadband", Business Wire. December 10, 2003. Retrieved September 7, 2018.
  36. ^ "The Best Program Directors in Country Radio", Radio Ink. February 16, 2015. p. CRS18. Retrieved September 7, 2018.
  37. ^ "Infinity nets stations", Variety. February 2, 1993. Retrieved September 8, 2018.
  38. ^ "Westinghouse to Change Name to CBS After Spinoff", Bloomberg News. Los Angeles Times. February 06, 1997. Retrieved January 21, 2019.
  39. ^ a b "WUSN Is Now 'Chicago's Hottest Country'", All Access Music Group. August 8, 2016. Retrieved September 8, 2018.
  40. ^ a b Feder, Robert. "US 99.5 rebrands as ‘Chicago’s Hottest Country’", Robert Feder. August 8, 2016. Retrieved September 8, 2018.
  41. ^ a b "US 99.5". CBS Local Media. Archived from the original on February 6, 2016. Retrieved September 8, 2018.
  42. ^ CBS Radio to Merge with Entercom
  43. ^ Entercom Receives FCC Approval for Merger with CBS Radio
  44. ^ Entercom Completes CBS Radio Merger
  45. ^ Revsine, Barbara. "In Tune With Country Music", Chicago Tribune. January 22, 1995. Retrieved February 24, 2019.
  46. ^ Feder, Robert. "US 99.5 counts on midday star to make a Dent in mornings", Chicago Sun-Times. October 26, 2006. Retrieved February 24, 2019.
  47. ^ a b Chicago’s US99.5 Wins Big At The 50th Academy Of Country Music Awards", CBS 2 Chicago. February 25, 2015. Retrieved February 24, 2019.
  48. ^ a b Lazare, Lewis. "New WMVP director to battle his old mentor", Chicago Sun-Times. October 15, 2010. Retrieved February 24, 2019.
  49. ^ Winterroth, Scott (March 4, 2010). "Word on the Street - March 4". Country Music Chicago. Retrieved February 24, 2019.
  50. ^ Winterroth, Scott (March 5, 2011). "It's a Two-Peat!". Country Music Chicago. Retrieved February 24, 2019.
  51. ^ "Chicago Newspaper Gets Hold of Internal Infinity Memo. Cost-Cutting Measures Scrutinized". Radio Ink. April 13, 2001. Archived from the original on February 16, 2012. Retrieved September 8, 2018.
  52. ^ Cliff Dumas, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. Infinity Broadcasting Corporation and WUSN-FM, Defendants-Appellees., 416 F.3d 671, Federal Circuits, 7th Cir. (August 01, 2005) Docket number: 04-1133

External linksEdit