WGN Radio Marks 100th Anniversary with Big Celebration

Documentary Highlighting History of Radio Station to Air on WGN-TV

Proclamations by State, City, and County Specialty Beer “Chicago’s Very Own” Golden Lager and Much More

CHICAGO (May 18, 2022) – WGN Radio is celebrating its 100th anniversary as the 50,000-watt voice of “Chicago’s Very Own” during the entire month of May and throughout all of 2022.

The station traces its origins back to May 19, 1922, when two young Chicagoans and radio enthusiasts named Thorne Donnelley and Elliott Jenkins started broadcasting from the Wrigley Building with their experimental station named WDAP. In 1924, the station acquired new call letters (WGN) and a new owner, Col. Robert McCormick, editor, and publisher of the Chicago Tribune. Over the years, the station has been headquartered at several notable Chicago landmarks, including The Drake Hotel and Tribune Tower. Nexstar Media Group, Inc. has owned the station since the autumn of 2019.

The following will take place during the month of May:

  • On May 19 at 7pm CT, WGN-TV will debut the documentary “100 Years of WGN Radio: A Retrospective”. The 45-minute documentary, produced by WGN Radio, tells the story of the radio station and journeys from its beginnings in 1922 through 2022. Viewers will see the faces of familiar voices, including Bob Sirott, John Williams, Lou Manfredini, Steve King and Johnnie Putman, Dave Eanet, Mary Van De Velde, Dave Plier, and others, reflecting on their experiences at the station and memorable moments in its history. The documentary will be re-broadcast on WGN-TV on May 22 at 2pm.
  • WGN-TV’s Emmy Award-winning entertainment reporter and critic Dean Richards, who hosts “Dean Richards’ Sunday Morning” on WGN Radio, will be reporting live from WGN Radio’s studios throughout the day on Thursday, May 19.
  • WGN Radio will be honored with resolutions celebrating its 100th anniversary from the State of Illinois, City of Chicago, and Cook County Board.
  • Metropolitan Brewing, Conrad Seipp Brewing Company, and the Chicago Brewseum will launch Chicago’s Very Own, a golden lager canned exclusively to celebrate WGN Radio’s 100th birthday. Chicago’s Very Own golden lager will first be available for public sale at the official beer release at Metropolitan Brewing (3057 N. Rockwell in Chicago) on Friday, May 20 starting at 11am. Afterwards, Chicago’s Very Own golden lager will be available on draft at select locations around Chicagoland starting the week of May 23. For details, visit www.wgnradio.com/100.
  •  During Memorial Day weekend, automobile racing fans can tune into WGN Radio for the Indianapolis 500. WGN Radio host and contributor Dane Neal will broadcast live from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday, May 29 from 7am to 10am CT. Neal’s show will be followed by the airing of the 106th Indianapolis 500, including extended pre-race coverage starting at 10am CT. WGN Radio made history being the first station of note to broadcast what was then called the Memorial Day 500 in 1924.

For a detailed timeline on the station’s 100-year history, archive content, and much more, visit www.wgnradio.com/100.


Since 1922, WGN Radio AM 720, a Nexstar Media Group, Inc. station, has been dedicated to being the #1 source of Chicagoland news, information, entertainment, and sports. WGN Radio is the official broadcast home of the Chicago Blackhawks and Northwestern University. Listen at AM 720, online at wgnradio.com, on your WGN Radio app, smart speakers, or TuneIn. Like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/wgnradio and follow us on Twitter @WGNRadio and Instagram @wgnradio.

Contact: Sara Tieman | 312.222.5098 | stieman@nexstar.tv

Click here for a PDF version of the release.

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