Encyclopedia o f Chicago
Entries : WLS


Radio station WLS—for “world's largest store”—was started by Sears, Roebuck & Co. in 1924. Four years later, Sears sold it to the Prairie Farmer newspaper, which made its Barn Dance a national hit. As a clear-channel station, WLS could be heard throughout the Midwest and beyond. In 1960 ABC purchased WLS and changed its format to top 40. By 1990 ABC still owned WLS, but its format had switched to talk. The television station, WENR, came to ABC when it merged with the Paramount Theater chain; its first broadcast was in September 1948. Long headquartered on North State across from the Chicago Theater, channel 7 became most famous for its local “Eyewitness News.”

WLS station file. Library of American Broadcasting, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland.