WBBM AM to diplex with WSCR - Page 7
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Thread: WBBM AM to diplex with WSCR

  1. #61
    Quote Originally Posted by Schroedingers Cat View Post
    WMVP is the only station that puts an M-3 predicted 25 mV/m signal over all of the City of Chicago. WLS is weak on the North end of Chicago. It was even 50 or more years ago. It's surprising that WCFL didn't beat WLS in the ratings often in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Format, audio, DJs all about the same quality.
    Well first, how "weak" could WLS's 50,000-watt signal been in the north end of Chicago? In the 60's and 70's, before a lot of computer issues and new development, the signal had to be very competitive.

    Second, you are dismissing the programming elements as not having been a factor. I was an observer from afar, listening to both stations at night in Baltimore. My perception is that when WCFL flipped to Top 40, WLS had grown complacent and lazy. So at that point, while I didn't feel WCFL was great, they had a "more motivated" sound than WLS. Then in the very late 60's, when WLS revamped, they were far better than WCFL. The early 70's, when it was Super CFL vs The Rock of Chicago, I thought both stations sounded incredible.

  2. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by RoddyFreeman View Post
    Well first, how "weak" could WLS's 50,000-watt signal been in the north end of Chicago? In the 60's and 70's, before a lot of computer issues and new development, the signal had to be very competitive.

    Second, you are dismissing the programming elements as not having been a factor. .
    Good points. Where I grew up northwest of Chicago, but about ten miles east of where I am now, WLS and WCFL were roughly equal in signal strength day and night in the 1960s. (Where I am now, WLS is actually a little bit stronger.)

    As for programming, what follows is just my observation from experience....

    When WCFL launched top 40 in 1965, some of the air staff was holdover from the former regime. While it's probably fair to say that WLS had gotten a little complacent, they still had a talent lineup that had established a following with the top 40 audience. WCFL had dayparts that sounded like top 40 from guys who didn't know or like top 40. Of course that eventually changed. But even then, WCFL wasn't exactly "higher energy" than WLS at first. WCFL also sounded a little more cluttered than WLS for those first few years. It's true that WLS had a one hour news block in the evening up until about 1967 that had to have been a tune-out. But WCFL had news on the hour and half hour along with othe format quirks. WCFL had "mini-spins" featuring snippets of three songs. I guess the idea was to give more exposure to "hot" singles, but I found it irritating. They also played oldies ("encores") that consisted of about a half dozen oldies that were more or less for regular rotation for a week. That was it. No other "encores", and when the week was over you never heard them again, but instead they were replaced with another half dozen. I thought that was just plain "weird". Then there was Dick Orkin's "Chickenman". Admittedly brilliant. But I have to beleive that a certain percentage of the audience looking for music tuned it out. And then there was the overnight jazz program. Which while, excellent, certainly didn't fit the format. Also "out of sync" was the move in 1968 to bring in Howard Miller's morning drive talk show.

    Meanwhile, while all of these things were creeping into WCFL's presentation, John Rook was coming on board at WLS and tightening up things in a big way. The new acapella jingle package at WLS screamed "more music".
    Last edited by cyberdad; Yesterday at 10:02 PM.
    Owner of a radio receiver

  3. #63
    Good point about the WCFL "Mini Spins" they were definitely annoying!

  4. #64
    Capsule Countdown Comments?

    Where I spent a few days a year in that era was just three miles from the WJJD transmitter. WMAQ, WGN, and WBBM were about 100 mV/m, maybe a little more. WCFL was about 75-80 mV/m. WLS was way weaker, M-3 prediction was about 17 mV/m. On a 1960 vintage Zenith portable (not my radio), there was noticeable whiite noise in the signal on WLS. WGRT was just a little weaker. WSBC was stronger.

    So while WLS had a "decent" signal, it was way weaker than the other five 50000 watt stations.
    Last edited by Schroedingers Cat; Today at 12:42 AM.

  5. #65
    WLS tried to move to Grace and Fullerton near Elmhurst in the 1970s. A 900 kHz station in Wisconsin kept filing objections as I recall and I don't think the FCC ever approved it.

  6. #66
    Quote Originally Posted by cyberdad View Post
    Good points. Where I grew up northwest of Chicago, but about ten miles east of where I am now, WLS and WCFL were roughly equal in signal strength day and night in the 1960s. (Where I am now, WLS is actually a little bit stronger.)

    As for programming, what follows is just my observation from experience....

    When WCFL launched top 40 in 1965, some of the air staff was holdover from the former regime. While it's probably fair to say that WLS had gotten a little complacent, they still had a talent lineup that had established a following with the top 40 audience. WCFL had dayparts that sounded like top 40 from guys who didn't know or like top 40. Of course that eventually changed. But even then, WCFL wasn't exactly "higher energy" than WLS at first. WCFL also sounded a little more cluttered than WLS for those first few years. It's true that WLS had a one hour news block in the evening up until about 1967 that had to have been a tune-out. But WCFL had news on the hour and half hour along with othe format quirks. WCFL had "mini-spins" featuring snippets of three songs. I guess the idea was to give more exposure to "hot" singles, but I found it irritating. They also played oldies ("encores") that consisted of about a half dozen oldies that were more or less for regular rotation for a week. That was it. No other "encores", and when the week was over you never heard them again, but instead they were replaced with another half dozen. I thought that was just plain "weird". Then there was Dick Orkin's "Chickenman". Admittedly brilliant. But I have to beleive that a certain percentage of the audience looking for music tuned it out. And then there was the overnight jazz program. Which while, excellent, certainly didn't fit the format. Also "out of sync" was the move in 1968 to bring in Howard Miller's morning drive talk show.

    Meanwhile, while all of these things were creeping into WCFL's presentation, John Rook was coming on board at WLS and tightening up things in a big way. The new acapella jingle package at WLS screamed "more music".
    I agree with you about the holdovers from the former format. Dick Williamson doing evenings comes to mind. And you're correct about the news block and overnight jazz. I also felt WCFL's first jingles as a Top 40 station, which won acclaim from some professional observers, were much too long and sounded like they came from a Broadway show. But WCFL surpassed WLS in ratings around 1967. ABC Corporate brought in John Rook to fix things, and that he did. By 1969, WLS was sounding great and shot back to the top.

  7. #67
    Quote Originally Posted by Schroedingers Cat View Post
    Capsule Countdown Comments?

    Where I spent a few days a year in that era was just three miles from the WJJD transmitter. WMAQ, WGN, and WBBM were about 100 mV/m, maybe a little more. WCFL was about 75-80 mV/m. WLS was way weaker, M-3 prediction was about 17 mV/m. On a 1960 vintage Zenith portable (not my radio), there was noticeable whiite noise in the signal on WLS. WGRT was just a little weaker. WSBC was stronger.

    So while WLS had a "decent" signal, it was way weaker than the other five 50000 watt stations.
    Living in the Northern Chicago suburbs I do agree that WLS was weaker than the other 50K Chicago signals at my location. However, they had no serious Top 40 competitor until WYNR in 1962. WYNR's signal in the northern suburbs, especially at night was much worse. As you know WJJD was not on later in the evenings and by 62-63 they were mixing in more AOR anyway.

  8. #68
    I meant to say that by 62-63 WJJD was mixing in more AC than Top 40.

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