WIND "News-Talk 560" is a
radio station based in Chicago,
broadcasting its talk radio format on 560
Its current owner is Salem Media
company specializing primarily in Christian radio
. WIND is similar to many of
Salem's other secular
talk stations, airing
a lineup consisting of syndicated
talkers including Michael Medved
, Laura Ingraham
, Dennis Prager
, Michael Savage
, Hugh Hewitt
, and former Saturday Night Live
star Dennis Miller
. A local show hosted by former
country music disc jockey Big John Howell and Cisco Cotto (former
WLS-AM midday news man) airs weekday mornings.
WIND first signed on in 1927. It was started by Ralph Atlass, originally
licensed to Gary,
Atlass also started WBBM, Chicago.
WIND's coverage map notes a 4 tower directional array located South
and East of Chicago along I-80/94
near Cline Ave. The North lobe of
their signal went to Milwaukee 24 hours daily.
Another lobe of the
directional signal extended toward Indianapolis during the day, but
was shut off at sunset. At 560 on the dial, with 5000 watts, the
signal easily blanketed Chicagoland.
studios were located on the 3rd floor of the South tower of the
According to old Chicago Tribune radio schedules (found on the
website JJ's radio logs) in the late 40's WIND was the "hit music"
station for Chicago, mostly playing contemporary music. It also
featured Cubs and Sox baseball and big band programs, including
WIND's programming has always been music and personality driven. In
the 50's, Howard Miller, a Chicago radio personality, started a
longtime run as Chicago's top rated morning DJ. For the next 20
years, Miller claimed the top spot in Chicago morning radio
ratings, only to be toppled in the 1970s by WGN's Wally
Over the years, other WIND personalities included Bernie Allen, Lee
Rogers, Dick Williamson, Perry Marshall, Kassidy, Joel Sebastian,
Milo Hamilton, Doug Dalghren, Chuck Benson and Kurt Russell, Clark
Weber, Jerry G Bishop, Ron Riley, Ron Brittain, Steve King, Bill
Jurek, and Connie Szerczen.
Overnight programing began with "Night Watch" featuring Bruce Lee,
several other hosts, then Larry Johnson, then Chicago Eddie
Schwartz (who was also music director for a time).
From the 1940s until the demise of the music format, following the
2:00am newscast, WIND played "The Whiffenpoof Song." The station
had a library of over 100 versions of this song.
In 1956, Atlass sold WIND to Westinghouse
expanded the news department, adding such names as Walt Hamilton,
Dick Brazie, Dick Elliott and Bernard
(later of CNN
). WIND pioneered 5 minute
newscasts at the top and bottom of every hour, and a
"meteorologist" (for many years, Earl Finckle) doing the weather
1960s, though WIND, along with other Westinghouse stations employed
a "gentle top 40" (an early version of what is now called Hot Adult Contemporary, sometimes
derisively called "chicken rock" ) music format, WLS did much
better in the ratings.
Several Westinghouse stations went to
an all-news format. Others like WIND evolved into adult contemporary
formats by the 1970s.
competing against WLS they opted to compete against WGN and its
By 1977 WIND played music during the day along with local news
until 10:00 p.m. when they would switch to call-in talk programming
featuring Dave Baum (called "Contact"). Similar formats were
on Westinghouse sister stations like WBZ in Boston,
Massachusetts, WOWO in Fort Wayne,
Indiana and KDKA in Pittsburgh,
During these years, WIND and WGN had similar formats except the
latter played less music. By 1978 WIND switched to a (mostly
satellite delivered) news/talk format and opted to add local talk
shows in the morning.
According to Radio and
, a radio trade publication, the WIND oldies format
was strong until FM station WKFM
changed call letters to WFYR when it was purchased by RKO
for one million dollars (a record price for an FM at
the time) and broadcast "Drake-Chenault" automated oldies in
When WIND evolved into talk, the tape cartridges, which held the
2000+ song music library, were sent to WOWO, Fort Wayne, another
In 1981, when WIND added all-news blocks between 6:00-9:00 a.m. and
3:00-7:00 p.m. the station did not perform as well as sister
stations. In 1985 Westinghouse sold WIND to Tichenor Radio for $6
million and left the Chicago market. The radio station then moved
to the 625 N. Michigan building.
Westinghouse later returned to the area by
purchasing WMAQ-AM 670 from
NBC in 1987.
In 1985 WIND became a Spanish adult
music station, including Spanish-language
news and talk shows
. WIND evolved into Spanish news and
talk by 1990, but eventually brought back music. In 1998 Tichenor
merged with Heftel Broadcasting (which Clear Channel Communications
had acquired controlling interest in 1996) to form Hispanic
Broadcasting, in which Clear Channel retained a minority stake.
Five years later, when Hispanic Broadcasting merged with Univision
, Clear Channel relinquished its minority
stake in the company, which was renamed Univision Radio
In 2004 Univision Radio swapped stations with Salem. Univision
Radio wanted to move their music format to an FM station, while
Salem wanted a major AM station as an outlet for its syndicated
programming. This resulted in
Salem owning WIND while Univision Radio got WPPN
106.7. WIND once again became an English-language
July 1, 2005, WIND
entered into a three-year agreement with the University of Illinois to carry Fighting Illini football and men's
basketball games, as well as the coaches shows, through the Illini
Sports Radio Network.
WIND also aired six games of the Chicago Blackhawks
- two regular season
and four playoffs
- in the
. Flagship station
WGN could not
carry the games because the Chicago
Cubs (baseball) were playing at the same time.