WLIT-FM

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WLIT-FM
WLIT-FM The New 93-9 Lite FM logo.png
CityChicago, Illinois
Broadcast areaChicago metropolitan area
Branding93.9 Lite FM
SloganChicago's Relaxing Favorites
Frequency93.9 MHz (also on HD Radio)
First air dateApril 7, 1958; 61 years ago (1958-04-07) (as WEBH-FM)[1][2]
Format
ERP4,000 watts (Analog)
159 watts (Digital)
HAAT482 meters (1,581 ft)
ClassB
Facility ID70042
Callsign meaningLITe FM
Former callsigns
  • WEBH-FM (1958–1959)[2]
  • WEBH (1959-1970)[2]
  • WWEL (1970–1972)[2]
  • WLAK (1972–1989)[2][3]
OwneriHeartMedia, Inc.
(AMFM Broadcasting Licenses, LLC)
Sister stationsWEBG, WGCI-FM, WGRB, WKSC-FM, WVAZ, WVON
WebcastListen Live
HD2: Listen Live
Website939litefm.iheart.com

WLIT-FM 93.9 FM, (93.9 LITE FM) is a radio station licensed to Chicago, Illinois, featuring a format of Soft AC music. The station is currently owned by iHeartMedia, Inc. (formerly Clear Channel Communications until September 2014). WLIT has its studios located at the Illinois Center complex on Michigan Avenue in Downtown Chicago, and it broadcasts from a 4 kw transmitter and antenna based atop Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower). WLIT broadcasts with the maximum authorized power for a Class B FM station at the specified antenna height.[4]

History[edit]

WEBH[edit]

93.9 FM in Chicago began operation April 7, 1958, with the call sign WEBH-FM, which stood for the Edgewater Beach Hotel, the location of its original studios and transmitter site.[2][5][6] The station was owned by Buddy Black Broadcasting Co.[2][5] WEBH-FM broadcast easy listening music, along with middle of the road jazz on weekday evenings, a classical music block on Sundays, and Sunday morning sermons.[5] In 1968, the station's transmitter was moved to Riverside Plaza, and its studios were moved to the Congress Plaza Hotel.[2] In 1969 the station was sold to Rich Communications Corp. for $325,000.[7]

WWEL[edit]

In January 1970, the station's call sign was changed to WWEL.[8][2] WWEL broadcast a beautiful music format.[9] WWEL's call sign was chosen to describe the easy listening format that was broadcast.[5] In 1971, the station's transmitter was moved to the John Hancock Center, and it was sold to Sudbrink Broadcasting.[2] The station's studios were moved to the John Hancock Center the following year.[2]

WLAK[edit]

In February 1972, the station's call sign was changed to WLAK.[2] WLAK adopted the beautiful music format produced and distributed by Stereo Radio Productions, as did the other Sudbrink FM stations.[10]

In 1974, the station's transmitter and studios were moved to the Sears Tower.[2] In 1978, WLAK was sold to Storer Broadcasting for $4.25 million.[11] That December, Storer announced that it would exit radio to focus on its television stations and cable systems.[12] While the company's other radio stations were sold in 1979, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations of the time required Storer to retain WLAK for three years.[12] Storer sold WLAK to Viacom International for $8 million in 1981.[12]

In 1983, WLAK's format was shifted to soft adult contemporary.[13] Core artists included Neil Diamond, Barbra Streisand and others.[13] The station was branded "Love Songs".[14][15] Later, its slogan was "Songs to Sing Along With".[16]

WLIT-FM[edit]

WLAK changed call letters on January 16, 1989 to WLIT-FM, and rebranded as "Lite FM", with the slogan "Lite Favorites".[3][17][18]

Viacom sold its radio stations to Chancellor Broadcasting in 1997.[19] In 1999 Chancellor restructured as AMFM Inc.[20] In 2000, WLIT fell under the ownership of Clear Channel Communications after Clear Channel's merger with AMFM.[21][22]

Lite FM logo used from 2012 to 2013

Over time, WLIT evolved out of soft AC and into a mainstream adult contemporary format. WLIT became Chicago's only adult contemporary station on August 1, 2011, when former rival WCFS-FM flipped to a simulcast of WBBM. This marked the first time in years Chicago had had only one AC radio station.

My FM logo, 2013 to 2017
My FM Christmas logo

On June 17, 2013, at 9 AM, WLIT rebranded as "93.9 My FM". The first song on "My FM" was "Teenage Dream" by Katy Perry.[23][24][25] The station's playlist was adjusted to be more current/recurrent-based.[23][24][25] On December 1, 2017, during its annual Christmas music programming, WLIT returned to the Lite FM branding.[26] The station also dropped On with Mario Lopez in favor of Delilah.[26]

In December 2018, Robert Feder reported that WLIT planned to flip to a soft adult contemporary format with the slogan "Relaxing Favorites" after the conclusion of its Christmas programming.[27]

HD programming[edit]

In February 2006, WLIT began broadcasting in HD Radio. WLIT's HD-2 was originally a simulcast of the now-defunct "Real Oldies" WRLL (now WVON) 1690 AM, then changed to a mix of disco music and 1970s/1980s called "Flashback." In August 2009, the format changed again, this time to a gold-based AC format known as "Chicago's Classic Lite", and later branded as Delilah.[28][29] On February 1, 2016, WLIT's HD-2 adopted a regional Mexican format branded "Poder 97.5", which was rebroadcast at 97.5 through translator W248BB.[30][31] On May 6, 2019, WLIT-HD2 dropped the "Poder 97.5" regional Mexican format and switched to iHeart's "The Breeze" soft adult contemporary format, while 97.5 switched to a Christian contemporary format, as an affiliate of K-Love.[32]

Christmas broadcasting[edit]

From November through Christmas Day each year, WLIT changes its branding to The Holiday Lite and format to continuous Christmas music, resuming its regular branding and format on December 26. During the period between December 26 and January 2, the Christmas music moves to the HD2 channel while the main terrestrial station resumes the regular format. After the mid-2013 rebranding, the all-Christmas tradition was continued without reference to "lite".[33][34]

Personalities[edit]

In December 2000, the station began airing Delilah evenings.[35] Delilah's program was cancelled in November 2007, but returned in October 2008.[36] Delilah's program was cancelled again in March 2012 but was brought back in December 2017, after the station returned to its "Lite FM" branding.[36][37]

Melissa Forman joined WLIT as morning host in 2001, remaining until 2006, but returning 14 months later.[38][39] Forman was again let go in 2009, and began co-hosting "You & Me This Morning" on WCIU-TV, but was again hired as morning host on WLIT in May 2018.[38][39][40]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Broadcasting & Cable Yearbook 2010, Broadcasting & Cable, 2010. p. D-186. Retrieved September 8, 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m History Cards for WLIT-FM, fcc.gov. Retrieved September 8, 2018.
  3. ^ a b Call Sign History, fcc.gov. Retrieved September 8, 2018.
  4. ^ "FCC FM Query". Retrieved August 27, 2016.
  5. ^ a b c d Holland, Marsha. "Radio Broadcasting at the Edgewater Beach Hotel after 1928 - Part 2", Edgewater Scrapbook. Vol. 28, No. 1. Winter 2017. Retrieved September 8, 2018.
  6. ^ 1958 Broadcasting Yearbook (PDF). 1958. p. A-276. Retrieved September 8, 2018.
  7. ^ "Actions" (PDF). Broadcasting. December 8, 1969. p. 84. Retrieved September 8, 2018.
  8. ^ "Call Letter Actions" (PDF). Broadcasting. January 26, 1970. p. 96. Retrieved September 17, 2018.
  9. ^ 1971 Broadcasting Yearbook, Broadcasting. 1971. p. B-62. Retrieved September 8, 2018.
  10. ^ Ciapura, Dennis R. "The Beautiful Music Radio Format: An Insider's Perspective" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on March 13, 2017. Retrieved September 9, 2018.
  11. ^ "Changing Hands" (PDF). Broadcasting. April 17, 1978. p. 53. Retrieved September 8, 2018.
  12. ^ a b c "Storer sells its final AM [sic] to Viacom" (PDF). Broadcasting. September 14, 1981. p. 90. Retrieved September 9, 2018.
  13. ^ a b "It's Beautiful: Bonneville's Verdery Trying New Approach to Vocal Music", Billboard. February 19, 1983. pp. 15, 62. Retrieved September 10, 2018.
  14. ^ "Love Is 'On' The Air", Radio & Records. March 9, 1984. p. 41. Retrieved September 10, 2018.
  15. ^ Chicago Radio Guide. Vol. 1, No. 1. May 1985. p. 3. Retrieved September 10, 2018.
  16. ^ Chicagoland Radio Waves, MediaTies. Summer 1988. Retrieved September 10, 2018.
  17. ^ Chicagoland Radio Waves, MediaTies. Spring-Summer 1989. Retrieved September 10, 2018.
  18. ^ "WLIT FM 93.9", Radio Chicago. Fall 1989. p. 42. Retrieved September 10, 2018.
  19. ^ Peers, Martin. "Viacom Radio Signs Off", Variety. February 18, 1997. Retrieved September 10, 2018.
  20. ^ "Chancellor to Become AMFM Inc.", AdAge. May 20, 1999. Retrieved September 10, 2018.
  21. ^ Consent to Transfer, fcc.gov. Retrieved September 10, 2018.
  22. ^ "Clear Channel-AMFM Merger Gets Approval", Associated Press. Los Angeles Times. August 30, 2000. Retrieved September 10, 2018.
  23. ^ a b Venta, Lance (June 17, 2013). "Lite's Out In Chicago". Radio Insight. Retrieved September 10, 2018.
  24. ^ a b "WLIT-FM Drops 'The Lite' - Changes To '93.9 My FM'". Chicagoland Radio and Media. June 17, 2013. Retrieved September 10, 2018.
  25. ^ a b Channick, Robert (June 17, 2013). "WLIT now MY FM with updated playlist". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved September 10, 2018.
  26. ^ a b Venta, Lance (December 1, 2017). "WLIT Chicago Reverts To 93.9 Lite-FM Branding". Radio Insight. Retrieved September 10, 2018.
  27. ^ Feder, Robert (December 20, 2018). "Robservations: After Christmas, Lite FM turns to 'Relaxing Favorites'". Robert Feder. Retrieved December 20, 2018.
  28. ^ "Listen To Delilah 24/7!", WLIT. Retrieved September 10, 2018.
  29. ^ http://hdradio.com/station_guides/widget.php?id=4 Archived 2016-09-16 at the Wayback Machine HD Radio Guide for Chicago
  30. ^ Villafañe, Veronica. "iHeart Chicago’s 97.5 FM drops ESPN Deportes", Media Moves. November 24, 2015. Retrieved November 29, 2018.
  31. ^ "Poder 97.5 Revamps Line-Up", Chicagoland Radio and Media. January 24, 2017. Retrieved November 29, 2018.
  32. ^ "Poder 97.5 Chicago Ceases Operations", RadioInsight. May 7, 2019. Retrieved May 7, 2019.
  33. ^ "WLIT Goes All Christmas Just After Midnight". Robert Feder. November 13, 2014. Retrieved September 10, 2018.
  34. ^ "WLIT-FM Begins Its Annual Teasing of Listeners Waiting for Christmas Music". Chicagoland Radio and Media. November 3, 2014. Retrieved September 10, 2018.
  35. ^ "Format Changes & Updates", The M Street Journal. Vol. 17 No. 50. December 13, 2000. p. 2. Retrieved September 10, 2018.
  36. ^ a b "Delilah Loses Son; Then Loses WLIT-FM", Chicagoland Radio and Media. March 13, 2012. Retrieved September 10, 2018.
  37. ^ "Delilah Joins Chicago’s Reprised ‘Lite FM.’", Inside Radio. December 8, 2017. Retrieved September 10, 2018.
  38. ^ a b Rosenthal, Phil. "Melissa Forman out at WLIT-FM -- again", Chicago Tribune. August 13, 2009. Retrieved September 10, 2018.
  39. ^ a b Feder, Robert. "Melissa Forman going ‘home again’ to Lite FM morning show", Robert Feder. May 21, 2018. Retrieved September 10, 2018.
  40. ^ Melissa Forman Returns To WLIT (93.9 Lite FM)/Chicago", All Access Music Group. May 21, 2018. Retrieved September 10, 2018.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 41°52′44″N 87°38′10″W / 41.87889°N 87.63611°W / 41.87889; -87.63611