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WBBM (AM): Wikis


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City of license Chicago, Illinois
Broadcast area Chicagoland / Northern Illinois
Branding Newsradio 780
Frequency 780 kHz (also on HD Radio)
105.9-2 FM (WCFS-2)
First air date 1911 (amateur station)
1923 (licensed)
Format News
Power 50,000 Watts
Class A (clear channel)
Transmitter coordinates 41°59′26.00″N 88°01′39.00″W / 41.99056°N 88.0275°W / 41.99056; -88.0275
Callsign meaning World's Best Battery Maker (referring to Mallory Battery Company)
We Broadcast Better Music (from a past slogan)
World's Best Broadcast Medium
Owner CBS Radio
(CBS Radio East, Inc.)
Webcast Listen Live

WBBM, also known on-air as "Newsradio 780," is an all-news CBS radio station in Chicago, Illinois broadcasting on the AM dial at 780 kHz. It is owned by CBS along with WBBM-TV.

The station traces its history to 1911, when Leslie and Ralph Atlass, owners of the Mallory Battery Company of Lincoln, Illinois began an amateur spark station . In 1923, it received a commercial license and was assigned the frequency of 1300 kHz. It also received its current call letters, which stand for World's Best Battery Maker. In later years, an alternate meaning, "We Broadcast Better Music," was created.[1]

The Atlasses sold their battery company in 1924 to devote their full attention to WBBM, and moved to Chicago that same year. It became a charter CBS affiliate in 1928. The new network liked what it saw in the station, and bought a controlling interest in 1929. Leslie Atlass remained station manager with a 33 percent interest. CBS bought the remaining stock in 1933. As part of the deal, Atlass became vice president of CBS' Central Division while remaining station manager of WBBM--positions he continued to hold until his retirement in 1959. A series of power increases over the years culminated in its current power of 50,000 watts in 1935, allowing the station to cover much of North America after dark. It had studios at various locations in Chicago until 1956. In 1956-2006, it operated from a converted arena on North McClurg Court, and in 2006 it moved to Two Prudential Plaza.

The station has been all-news since 1968. Prior to its current incarnation, the station had a MOR/Personality-based format. The station has been the flagship station of the Chicago Bears since 2000, and in its history has also aired Chicago White Sox and Chicago Blackhawks games.

For many years, WBBM Newsradio 780 has been in a spirited battle with rival news/talk/sports station WGN for the number one AM or FM radio station in the Chicago media market. In the June 2009 Arbitron ratings period, WGN held a slight edge over WBBM in PPM metered listenership ratings.

780 is also known for a couple of trademarks. Typically before a commercial break the current on-air personality will claim, “WBBM news time…(current time of day)" (as is standard procedure with every other all-news station owned and operated by CBS). The station provides updates on traffic and weather "on the eights." Also after any sort of sports update the on-air personality will also proudly claim, “you're listening to the home of the Bears.”

According to the radio industry website, RadioStats (RadioStats.Net), WBBM's website is the most visited radio station website in America.

WBBM's skywave signal was received as far west as Salt Lake City, Utah.[2]


External links

Coordinates: 41°59′26″N 88°01′39″W / 41.99056°N 88.02750°W / 41.99056; -88.02750

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