Frequency88.5 MHz
FormatCollege radio, community radio
OwnerUniversity of Chicago
First air date
March 22, 1968 (1968-03-22)[1]
Former call signs
WHPK-FM (1968–2016)
Former frequencies
88.3 MHz (1968–1985)
Call sign meaning
Woodlawn/Hyde Park/Kenwood[1]
Technical information[2]
Licensing authority
Facility ID69000
ClassA (NCE)
ERP100 watts
HAAT37 meters (121 ft)
Public license information

WHPK (88.5 FM)[3] is an American radio station based in Hyde Park on the South Side of Chicago, established in 1968. The station is owned by the University of Chicago, and operated by volunteer students and community members. WHPK's station manager and program director are elected by the station's student members and must be students themselves. The station's broadcast engineer is paid by the university.


Mitchell Tower, University of Chicago Reynolds Club building where the station's studios are located.

In 1968, WHPK-FM was established when the campus secret Society of the Owl and Serpent disbanded, donating its funds and Reynolds Club office space to a student radio group. WHPK-FM started broadcasting as a 15-watt FM station at 88.3 MHz on March 22, 1968. In 1985, WHPK-FM upgraded to a 100-watt transmitter and moved to the current frequency of 88.5 MHz.[1]

WHPK-FM was the first radio station to broadcast hip hop music in Chicago, and would become home to aspiring rappers throughout the years, including Common[3] and Kanye West.[4]

The station changed its call sign to the current WHPK on February 26, 2016.


Programming blocks are divided into classical, folk, international, jazz, public affairs, rap, rock, and specialty show formats.[5]


In 1984, WHPK-FM's first rap show was established by Ken Wissoker.[6] DJ JP Chill has had a rap and hip hop show on WHPK since 1986.[7]

A long-running Saturday night show, The Blues Excursion, is hosted by a widely received radio personality named Arkansas Red.[8]


In 2008, WHPK-FM was awarded "Best College Radio Station" by Chicago Reader.[9]


  1. ^ a b c "WHPK: Still spinnin' after all these years". Vol. 15, no. 7. University of Chicago Chronicle. December 7, 1995. Retrieved June 26, 2008.
  2. ^ "Facility Technical Data for WHPK". Licensing and Management System. Federal Communications Commission.
  3. ^ a b Austen, Jake (April 27, 2011). "Chicago memories: Common". Time Out Chicago. Retrieved February 26, 2011.
  4. ^ Drapa, Michael (December 5, 2011). "WHPK hosted Common/Kanye faceoff—before they were stars". University of Chicago. Retrieved February 26, 2011.
  5. ^ "About". WHPK. Retrieved February 26, 2012.
  6. ^ Obaro, Tomi (December 5, 2011). "Pioneering WHPK keeps Chicago rap fresh". University of Chicago. Retrieved February 26, 2011.
  7. ^ Sisson, Patrick (July 16, 2006). "Chicago Hip-hop History ... A Tour". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved February 26, 2011.
  8. ^ Terry, Clifford (May 30, 1993). "Arkansas Red's House Party: Weekly Blues, Talk Show Has South Side Listening". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved February 26, 2011.
  9. ^ "Best of Chicago 2008 - Reader's Choice: WHPK". Chicago Reader. 2008. Retrieved June 26, 2008.

41°47′38″N 87°35′56″W / 41.794°N 87.599°W / 41.794; -87.599