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WMVP (1000 AM) is the callsign of a commercial radio station in Chicago, Illinoismarker, USAmarker. It is owned by ABC. Its transmitter is located in Downers Grovemarker. Its former call sign was WCFL, for the Chicago Federation of Labor.

The station broadcasts live sports talk, both locally and nationally. Daily programming consists of talk shows that are both national and local. Mike and Mike in the Morning and the Scott Van Pelt show are done by ESPN, while Waddle & Silvy, and The Afternoon Saloon are more focused on Chicago sports. It is also currently the flagship station of the Chicago Bulls.

Early years

AM 1000 began operation as WCFL in test broadcasts on June 19, 1926. In 1927, WCFL broadcast the Gene Tunney-Jack Dempsey championship boxing match at Soldier Fieldmarker, challenging the National Broadcasting Company's exclusive claim to the event. This led to an arrangement whereby WCFL became one of three affiliates in Chicago of the Blue Network of NBC; WCFL broadcast non-sponsored, or sustaining, NBC programs not carried by WENR or WLSmarker, as well as selected major sporting events and any broadcast speeches by union leaders aired by the network. When the Federal Communications Commission forced NBC to sell the Blue Network, WCFL's affiliation continued with the network through its new identity as the American Broadcasting Company, ending with the merger of WENR and WLS in 1959. WCFL was also to become an affiliate of the Amalgamated Broadcasting System in 1933, but that network folded after only a month of operations, prior to its planned westward expansion from New York.

Evolution to Top 40

WCFL was also involved in early experimental television broadcasts, and operated a shortwave repeater station, W9XAA, in the 1930s. The station carried general entertainment over the decades but by the late 1950s WCFL evolved into a popular music station. Between 1963 and 1965, there was only one top 40 station in Chicago, unusual as most major cities has 2 or even 3 stations featuring pop music. Consequently, WLS had become somewhat complacent as the only game in town. This all changed when, in 1965 WCFL became a Top 40 music station, competing with WLS.

In their Top 40 days, some famous disc jockeys on WCFL included Jim Runyon, Joel Sebastian, Dick Williamson, Jim Stagg, Ron Britain, the legendary Dick Biondi,(still on the air in Chicago-2009) Barney Pip, Fred Winston, late night jazz with the immortal Sid McCoy during the earliest days of the change to Top 40 - and later, WIND's former longtime morning man Howard Miller,who was a decided departure from the youthful staff, came to helm 'CFL's 6-9AM spot. He was replaced before long by Jerry G. Bishop. General Manager Ken Draper ran the station from 1965-68 and brought many of the original staffers with him from the big Cleveland rock station he had run before. These included not only DJ's but also chief engineer Mike King and his cohort Jim Loupas, and members of the crack newsroom team, which included Howie Roberts and the unstoppable Jeff Kamen. WCFL gained fame when Kamen marched into the midst of the 1968 Chicago Democrat convention melee and got himself beaten over the head by Chicago cops, with the picture ending up on front pages. Later in the Beatles-era Larry Lujack, Art Roberts, Clark Weber, Ron Riley came to WCFL. The DJ secretary during this era was a young lady named Connie Szerszen, who went on to forge her own career on the air in Chicago radio, appearing on WIND and other stations for decades after. About 1966, WCFL General Manager Ken Draper also hired Carol Simpson as one of radio's first female newscasters, and Carol went on to a big career with ABC-TV. Also on staff at that time was continuity director Barbara Sternig, who left for LA once the Beatles broke up, became Rona Barrett's writer, and later Senior Reporter in Hollywood for the National Enquirer.

During the late 1960's and early 1970's, WCFL also featured a popular Sunday night program of "underground" album-oriented music called "Ron Britain's Subteranean Circus". Due to madcap DJ Britain's sure ear for the innovative and his highly inventive sketches, plus WCFL's powerful AM nighttime signal, these programs gained huge listenership not just in the Chicago area, but in other parts of the country as well. Britain's "Sub Circus" made WCFL one of the few AM stations to feature this kind of music, which was a major staple of "underground" FM stations.

The comedy feature "Chickenman," a satire on the "Batman" TV series, originated on Runyon's morning drive-time show in 1966. It was created by WCFL staffer Dick Orkin. All the voices were done by Orkin, Runyon, and Jane Roberts, who also did WCFL's morning traffic reports as "Trooper 36-24-36". The "Chickenman" program was subsequently syndicated to radio stations worldwide.

The end of "Super CFL" and the sale to Mutual

On March 15, 1976, after two years of falling ratings, WCFL abruptly dropped its Top 40 format in favor of "The World's Most Beautiful Music," leaving WLS once again as Chicago's only AM Top 40 station. Larry Lujack, still under contract with the station, stayed on at WCFL playing easy listening music until moving back to WLS in September 1976. This format won few listeners from FM beautiful music stations such as WLOOmarker, and by 1978 had been replaced by a gold-based adult contemporary format.

After deciding its profit margin was too small for the Chicago Federation of Labor to maintain, WCFL was sold in 1979 to the Mutual Broadcasting System, at the time a subsidiary of the Amway Corporation. The station began to identify itself as "Mutual/CFL." A magazine-type news/talk format was adopted, with sports talk in the evening hours and Larry King overnight, but ratings remained low. In 1982 WCFL flipped to an MOR format playing standards and non rock hits of the '50s and '60s mixed in with some softer rock and roll oldies and soft '70s and '80s AC cuts and even a few currents. Ratings were still low so WCFL evolved by the end of 1983 to an Adult Contemporary format.

Religious years

In 1981 WCFL was sold by Mutual to Statewide Broadcasting. Statewide switched WCFL to adult contemporary Christian music about 10 hours a day and teaching programs the rest of the time. WCFL basically sold blocks of time to various Christian organizations. The format was profitable but received very low ratings. At that time, they advertised the call letters as standing for "Winning Chicago For the Lord". Statewide specialized in religious formats but opted merge with a secular company called Heftel.

1000 WLUP

Initially they opted to remain religious while keeping their longtime rock station 97.9 FM WLUP an AOR format. Heftel opted to end the religious format in April 1987. The call letters of the station was changed to WLUP, and its FM sister became WLUP-FM. WLUP-FM remained an AOR station while 1000 WLUP switched to a full service rock format focusing on personality, comedy, talk and a few rock cuts an hour. After 7 p.m. WLUP and WLUP-FM simulcast the AOR format. Heftel had bought a few Spanish stations in the late 1980s and bought a Spanish station in Chicago in 1992. They then sold their English stations including WLUP and WLUP-FM. Evergreen Media would buy WLUP-AM-FM late in 1992.

Becoming sports radio

Initially, the AM and FM stations remained the same. In 1993, though, WLUP FM switched to a full-service talk/comedy/rock format, while WLUP 1000 became sports. 97.9 then became WLUP and AM 1000 changed its call sign to WMVP, or "Most Valuable Player," to reflect the station's new emphasis on sports programming. Many believe that co-owner Jim DeCastro was trying to recover the Chicago Bulls Broadcasts that WLUP had lost to WMAQ in 1991. He did so, but the price he paid for the Bulls and the White Sox may have doomed WMVP's chance of succeeding. They never made a serious attempt to challenge WSCR, which ran only local shows that easily beat WMVP's National Shows such as the "Fabulous Sports Babe" and "Farrell On The Bench," both of which had very low ratings and were disliked by both listeners and media critics. In addition, WSCR did a better job of promoting their talent than WMVP did. This talent included Steve Dahl - who said many times on the air that he did not want to be part of an all sports station - Chet Coppock, Jay Mariotti, Jim Kozimore, David Kaplan, Brian Davis, Steve Lyons, Norm Van Lier, Les Grobstein, Lance McCallister, and reporters Bruce Levine and Cheryl Raye. The station continued with syndicated sports programming as well as play-by-play local sports games and lost in the ratings to WSCR and to WMAQ's Sports Huddle at night. WMVP dropped it's all sports format in June 1996, the night before the Chicago Bulls opened the NBA Finals against Seattle. Evergreen later merged with Chancellor and sold WLUP 97.9 to Bonneville International. WMVP was sold to ABC in 1998.

ABC continues to operate WMVP today from studios at the intersection of State Street and Lake Street in the heart of Chicago.

Perhaps the most popular place to comment upon WMVP programming is the Chicago Sports Fan Message Board, where both listeners and on-air personalities discuss the network. Former WMVP host Dan McNeil is also a contributor there (McNeil announced his June, 2006 suspension on the CSFMB.)

Current ESPN 1000 Talent:

  • Carmen DeFalco- Afternoon Co-Host 2pm-7pm
  • John Jurkovic- Afternoon Co-Host 2pm-7pm
  • Harry Teinowitz- Afternoon Co-Host 2pm-7pm
  • Marc Silverman- Midday Co-Host 9am-1pm
  • Tom Waddle- Midday Co-Host 9am-1pm
  • Jeff Dickerson-Evenings and weekends
  • Jonathan Hood-Evenings and weekends
  • Bruce Levine-Baseball Expert/Reporter
  • Mark Giangreco - from WLS-TVmarker sports, Tuesdays and Fridays at 11 on "Waddle and Silvy"
  • Randy Merkin-Executive Producer "Waddle and Silvy"
  • Billy Zureikat-Associate Producer "Waddle and Silvy"
  • Dave Juday - Sports Anchor
  • Jon Kernan - Sports Anchor
  • Mike Bloomberg - Sports Anchor
  • Brian Dolgin - Sports Reporter
  • Jesse Rogers - Hockey Reporter [149515]


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