Does anyone else remember WVON? As a 60's kid in a lily white Chicago 'burb I remember spinning the dial, stumbling across this low power station and being blown away. This is not top 40! Not Dion and the Belmonts, not Ricky Nelson…. It was people and bands who are now Chicago blues legends , along with the more obscure but talented.
Recalling WVON made me do some research. I never knew the Chess brothers owned the station and were, not surprisingly, responsible for the change to an R&B format after they bought it. I did know that WVON stood for “Voice of the Negro.” Now the station is talk radio and it stands for “Voice of the Nation.”
I was about 15 - 16 years old and working in a small business for a few summers where the small AM radio we had was tuned to WVON when it wasn't tuned to a baseball game. For the blacks who worked there, this was "the" station. A white kid like me still listened to WLS or WCFL and it was a revelation, the R&B music that I couldn't hear anywhere else.
IIRC, the afternoon DJ was E. Rodney Jones who, kept up a constant verbal patter both between and during songs and made any other DJ seem "laid back" in comparison, quite entertaining in his own right.
Those were really different times and music had a a lot of variety unlike today. It was a long, long time ago now and to speak of "WVON" and "Berwyn" in the same sentence seems almost contradictory to this particular Chicagoland expat.
WSDM -"smack dab in the middle" was the precursor.
I used to be enthralled by Yvonne Danials "den of Daniels" show at 8pm in the sixties, sooo sexy!
I met her and told her so before she died.
BTW, I owned the house that had been owned by the president of Chess Records on 51st and Greenwood in Kenwood.
I took a year rebuilding it, when I bought it, the third floor was full of records, thousands of them, including metal masters for pressing.
That house is now owned by another President.....Obama.