Encyclopedia o f Chicago
Entries : WCFL


WCFL was the nation's first and longest-surviving labor radio station. Created by the Chicago Federation of Labor in 1926, WCFL initially was listener-supported. During its first decade it offered entertainment, labor, and public affairs programming designed to serve the labor movement and working-class communities.

By the 1940s WCFL had become more commercially oriented. It featured sports in the 1950s and '60s and, from 1966 to 1976, challenged WLS for Chicago's rock music title. The labor federation sold the failing station in 1978. As ownership changed again and ratings declined, WCFL went from talk to adult music to religious formats and, in 1987, ceased operations entirely.

Godfried, Nathan. WCFL: Chicago's Voice of Labor, 1926–78. 1997.
McChesney, Robert W. “Labor and the Marketplace of Ideas: WCFL and the Battle for Labor Radio Broadcasting, 1927–1934.” Journalism Monographs 134 (August 1992): 1–40.