WLIT-FM
CityChicago, Illinois
Broadcast areaChicago metropolitan area
Frequency93.9 MHz (HD Radio)
Branding93.9 Lite FM
Programming
Language(s)English
FormatSoft adult contemporary
SubchannelsHD2: Soft AC (The Breeze)
AffiliationsiHeartRadio
Premiere Networks
Ownership
OwneriHeartMedia
(iHM Licenses, LLC)
History
First air date
April 7, 1958
(63 years ago)
 (1958-04-07)
Former call signs
WEBH-FM (1958–59)
WEBH (1959–70)
WWEL (1970–72)
WLAK (1972–89)
Call sign meaning
LITe
Technical information
Licensing authority
FCC
Facility ID70042
ClassB
ERP
  • 4,000 watts (analog)
  • 159 watts (digital)
HAAT482 meters (1,581 ft)
Transmitter coordinates
41°52′44″N 87°38′10″W / 41.87889°N 87.63611°W / 41.87889; -87.63611
Translator(s)99.1 MHz W256CL (Park Forest)
Links
Public license information
Profile
LMS
Webcast
Website939litefm.iheart.com

WLIT-FM (93.9 FM, "93.9 Lite FM") is a radio station in Chicago. Owned by iHeartMedia, it broadcasts a soft adult contemporary format. Its studios are located at the Illinois Center complex in the Chicago Loop, while the station transmitter is on top of the Willis Tower.

History

WEBH

This station signed on the air as WEBH-FM on April 7, 1958;[1][2] the call letters stood for the Edgewater Beach Hotel, the location of its original studios and transmitter site.[2][3][1] The station was owned by the Buddy Black Broadcasting Co.[2][1][3]

WEBH-FM aired easy listening music, along with popular jazz on weekday evenings, a classical music block on Sundays afternoons, and Sunday morning religious programming.[3] In 1968, the station's transmitter was moved to Riverside Plaza, and its studios were moved to the Congress Plaza Hotel.[2][4] In 1969 the station was sold to Rich Communications Corp. for $325,000.[5]

WWEL

In January 1970, the station's call sign was changed to WWEL.[6][2] WWEL broadcast a beautiful music format.[7] The EL in WWEL's call sign was chosen to describe its Easy Listening format.[3] In 1971, the station's transmitter was moved to the John Hancock Center, and it was sold to Sudbrink Broadcasting.[2][8] The station's studios were moved to the John Hancock Center the following year.[2]

WLAK

In February 1972, the station's call sign was changed to WLAK.[2] This time the call letters referred to Lake Michigan where Chicago is the largest port. WLAK adopted the beautiful music format produced and distributed by Stereo Radio Productions, as did the other Sudbrink FM stations.[9] WLAK did well in the ratings throughout the 1970s, and was the top rated FM station in 1975.[10][11][12]

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.[13] That December, Storer announced that it would exit radio to focus on its television stations and cable systems.[14] 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.[14] Storer sold WLAK to Viacom International for $8 million in 1981.[14]

In March 1982, WLAK's format began to shift towards soft adult contemporary.[15][16] More soft vocals were added to the playlist, while the share of instrumentals was reduced.[15][16] Core artists included Neil Diamond, Barbra Streisand, Lionel Richie, and softer selections by the Beatles.[15] On August 8, 1983, it completed its transition to soft AC.[17][16] The instrumentals were cut entirely, and the station was branded as "Love Songs."[17][18][19][16] It featured love songs from the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, from artists such as Dionne Warwick, Frank Sinatra, and Gordon Lightfoot.[16] Later, its slogan was "Songs to Sing Along With," as it continued to air a soft AC format.[20]

WLIT-FM

WLAK changed call letters on January 16, 1989, to WLIT-FM, and rebranded as "Lite FM", using the slogan "Lite Favorites."[21][22][23] Viacom sold its radio stations to Chancellor Broadcasting in 1997.[24] In 1999 Chancellor restructured as AMFM Inc.[25] In 2000, WLIT's ownership changed to Clear Channel Communications after Clear Channel's merger with AMFM.[26][27]

Lite FM logo used from 2012 to 2013
Lite FM logo used from 2012 to 2013

Over time, the station evolved to a mainstream adult contemporary format. WLIT became Chicago's only adult contemporary station on August 1, 2011, when former rival 105.9 WCFS-FM flipped to a simulcast of all-news radio 780 WBBM. This marked the first time in years Chicago only had one AC radio station.

My FM logo, 2013 to 2017
My FM logo, 2013 to 2017
My FM Christmas logo
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.[28][29][30] The station's playlist was adjusted to be more current/recurrent-based.[28][29][30] On December 1, 2017, during its annual Christmas music programming, WLIT returned to the Lite FM branding.[31] The station also dropped its carriage of the syndicated On with Mario Lopez evening show, replacing it with the syndicated call-in and dedications show Delilah.[31]

In December 2018, Robert Feder reported that WLIT planned to flip to a soft adult contemporary format. It would begin using the slogan "Relaxing Favorites" after the conclusion of its Christmas programming.[32]

HD programming

In February 2006, WLIT began broadcasting in HD Radio. WLIT's HD-2 subchannel was originally a simulcast of the now-defunct "Real Oldies" AM 1690 WRLL (now WVON). It later changed to a mix of disco music and 1970s/1980s oldies 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."[33][34]

On February 1, 2016, WLIT's HD-2 adopted a Regional Mexican format branded "Poder 97.5" (Power 97.5), which was rebroadcast at 97.5 MHz through FM translator W248BB.[35][36] 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. The 97.5 translator flipped to Christian contemporary music, as an affiliate of K-Love.[37]

Christmas Music

From early November through Christmas Day each year, WLIT changes its branding to The Holiday Lite. The format switches to all Christmas music, resuming its regular branding and Soft AC sound 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".[38][39]

Personalities

In December 2000, the station began airing the nationally syndicated Delilah program on weekday evenings.[40] It is produced by Premiere Networks, which is co-owned with WLIT. WLIT cancelled Delilah's program in November 2007, but it returned in October 2008.[41] Delilah's program was taken off WLIT again in March 2012 but was brought back in December 2017, after the station returned to its "Lite FM" branding.[41][42] Delilah is currently heard Sunday through Friday evenings.

WLIT also carries the Ellen K Weekend Show from co-owned KOST Los Angeles on Saturday mornings. As with Delilah, Ellen K is syndicated by Premiere Networks.

Melissa Forman joined WLIT as morning host in 2001, remaining until 2006, but returning 14 months later.[43][44] 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.[43][44][45]

WLIT's midday DJ is Robin Rock, Mick Lee is heard in afternoon drive time and Theresa Lucas overnight.

References

  1. ^ a b c 1958 Broadcasting Yearbook (PDF). 1958. p. A-276. Retrieved December 16, 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i History Cards for WLIT-FM, fcc.gov. Retrieved September 8, 2018.
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ "The Sound: Music and radio: for young listeners", Chicago Tribune. February 20, 1968. Section 2, p. 15.
  5. ^ "Actions" (PDF). Broadcasting. December 8, 1969. p. 84. Retrieved September 8, 2018.
  6. ^ "Call Letter Actions" (PDF). Broadcasting. January 26, 1970. p. 96. Retrieved September 17, 2018.
  7. ^ 1971 Broadcasting Yearbook, Broadcasting. 1971. p. B-62. Retrieved September 8, 2018.
  8. ^ Federal Communications Commission Reports: Decisions, Reports, and Orders of the Federal Communications Commission of the United States. Volume 30. United States Government Publishing Office. June 25, 1971 to August 19, 1971. p. 978. Retrieved December 17, 2019.
  9. ^ 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.
  10. ^ Duncan, James H. "Chicago: 12+ Metro Share", An American Radio Trilogy 1975 to 2004. Volume 1: The Markets. Duncan's American Radio. Retrieved December 17, 2019.
  11. ^ Lazarus, George. "WLAK gets FM rating peak", Chicago Tribune. May 20, 1975. p. C11.
  12. ^ Deeb, Gary. "Good news for FMers in Arbitron ratings", Chicago Tribune. March 15, 1978. p. A8.
  13. ^ "Changing Hands" (PDF). Broadcasting. April 17, 1978. p. 53. Retrieved September 8, 2018.
  14. ^ a b c "Storer sells its final AM [sic] to Viacom" (PDF). Broadcasting. September 14, 1981. p. 90. Retrieved September 9, 2018.
  15. ^ a b c "It's Beautiful: Bonneville's Verdery Trying New Approach to Vocal Music", Billboard. February 19, 1983. pp. 15, 62. Retrieved September 10, 2018.
  16. ^ a b c d e Zorn, Eric. "Love is in the air — and it's on WLAK", Chicago Tribune. May 21, 1984. pp F1, F2.
  17. ^ a b Zorn, Eric. "Love is in the air at 'new' WLAK", Chicago Tribune. August 6, 1983. p. 11.
  18. ^ "Love Is 'On' The Air", Radio & Records. March 9, 1984. p. 41. Retrieved September 10, 2018.
  19. ^ Chicago Radio Guide. Vol. 1, No. 1. May 1985. p. 3. Retrieved September 10, 2018.
  20. ^ Chicagoland Radio Waves, MediaTies. Summer 1988. Retrieved September 10, 2018.
  21. ^ Call Sign History, fcc.gov. Retrieved September 8, 2018.
  22. ^ Chicagoland Radio Waves, MediaTies. Spring-Summer 1989. Retrieved September 10, 2018.
  23. ^ "WLIT FM 93.9", Radio Chicago. Fall 1989. p. 42. Retrieved September 10, 2018.
  24. ^ Peers, Martin. "Viacom Radio Signs Off", Variety. February 18, 1997. Retrieved September 10, 2018.
  25. ^ Chancellor to Become AMFM Inc.", AdAge. May 20, 1999. Retrieved September 10, 2018.
  26. ^ Consent to Transfer, fcc.gov. Retrieved September 10, 2018.
  27. ^ "Clear Channel-AMFM Merger Gets Approval", Associated Press. Los Angeles Times. August 30, 2000. Retrieved September 10, 2018.
  28. ^ a b Venta, Lance (June 17, 2013). "Lite's Out In Chicago". Radio Insight. Retrieved September 10, 2018.
  29. ^ a b "WLIT-FM Drops 'The Lite' - Changes To '93.9 My FM'". Chicagoland Radio and Media. June 17, 2013. Retrieved September 10, 2018.
  30. ^ a b Channick, Robert (June 17, 2013). "WLIT now MY FM with updated playlist". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved September 10, 2018.
  31. ^ a b Venta, Lance (December 1, 2017). "WLIT Chicago Reverts To 93.9 Lite-FM Branding". Radio Insight. Retrieved September 10, 2018.
  32. ^ Feder, Robert (December 20, 2018). "Robservations: After Christmas, Lite FM turns to 'Relaxing Favorites'". Robert Feder. Retrieved December 20, 2018.
  33. ^ "Listen To Delilah 24/7!", WLIT. Retrieved September 10, 2018.
  34. ^ http://hdradio.com/station_guides/widget.php?id=4 Archived 2016-09-16 at the Wayback Machine HD Radio Guide for Chicago
  35. ^ Villafañe, Veronica. "iHeart Chicago’s 97.5 FM drops ESPN Deportes", Media Moves. November 24, 2015. Retrieved November 29, 2018.
  36. ^ "Poder 97.5 Revamps Line-Up", Chicagoland Radio and Media. January 24, 2017. Retrieved November 29, 2018.
  37. ^ "Poder 97.5 Chicago Ceases Operations", RadioInsight. May 7, 2019. Retrieved May 7, 2019.
  38. ^ "WLIT Goes All Christmas Just After Midnight". Robert Feder. November 13, 2014. Retrieved September 10, 2018.
  39. ^ "WLIT-FM Begins Its Annual Teasing of Listeners Waiting for Christmas Music". Chicagoland Radio and Media. November 3, 2014. Retrieved September 10, 2018.
  40. ^ "Format Changes & Updates", The M Street Journal. Vol. 17 No. 50. December 13, 2000. p. 2. Retrieved September 10, 2018.
  41. ^ a b "Delilah Loses Son; Then Loses WLIT-FM", Chicagoland Radio and Media. March 13, 2012. Retrieved September 10, 2018.
  42. ^ "Delilah Joins Chicago’s Reprised ‘Lite FM.’", Inside Radio. December 8, 2017. Retrieved September 10, 2018.
  43. ^ a b Rosenthal, Phil. "Melissa Forman out at WLIT-FM -- again", Chicago Tribune. August 13, 2009. Retrieved September 10, 2018.
  44. ^ a b Feder, Robert. "Melissa Forman going ‘home again’ to Lite FM morning show", Robert Feder. May 21, 2018. Retrieved September 10, 2018.
  45. ^ Melissa Forman Returns To WLIT (93.9 Lite FM)/Chicago", All Access Music Group. May 21, 2018. Retrieved September 10, 2018.