City Chicago, Illinois
Broadcast area Chicago metropolitan area
Branding 97.1 The Drive
Slogan Chicago's Classic Rock
Frequency 97.1 MHz (also on HD Radio)
Repeater(s) See § WWDV Simulcast
First air date 1955 (as WNIB)
Format Analog/HD1: Classic rock
HD2: Classic rock ("Deep Tracks")
ERP 8,300 watts (analog)
297 watts (digital)[1]
HAAT 363 meters (1,191 ft)
Class B
Facility ID 49552
Callsign meaning Derived from "DRiVe"
Former callsigns WNIB (1955-March 15, 2001)[2]
Owner Hubbard Radio
Sister stations WTMX, WSHE-FM, WWDV
Webcast Listen Live
Website wdrv.com

WDRV (97.1 FM, "The Drive") is a commercial FM radio station licensed to serve Chicago, Illinois. The station is owned by Hubbard Radio and broadcasts a classic rock format. Its studios were originally located in the John Hancock Center.[3] On May 11, 2018, WDRV moved into all new, state-of-the-art, digital studios in Chicago's Prudential Plaza. The WDRV broadcast tower is located atop the Aon Center at (41°53′6.1″N 87°37′17.7″W / 41.885028°N 87.621583°W / 41.885028; -87.621583).[4] The station's programming is simulcast on sister station 96.9 WWDV in Zion, Illinois.

WDRV uses HD Radio and broadcasts a classic rock format branded as "Deep Tracks" on its HD2 subchannel.[5][6]


1955-2001: WNIB

The station signed on for the first time in 1955 as WNIB. Owned by Northern Illinois Broadcasting (NIB), the station broadcast a classical music format. The last day of classical programming on WNIB was February 11, 2001.

2001-Present: WDRV

WNIB/WNIZ was sold in 2000 to Bonneville International. On February 12, 2001, Bonneville began to stunt with a "format of the day", which included sets from artists such as Madonna, Pink Floyd, Barbra Streisand and Garth Brooks.[7][8] On March 15, 2001, the call sign was changed to WDRV, and the format officially changed to Classic Hits.[9][10] The format has slowly evolved into a broad-based classic rock format, while former sister station WLUP-FM was sold to Emmis[11] and changed to a mainstream rock format in 2005.

Bonneville announced the sale of WDRV and 16 other stations, to Hubbard Broadcasting on January 19, 2011.[12] The sale was completed on April 29, 2011.[13]

On June 27, 2011, WDRV celebrated its 10th anniversary by organizing a free-entrance concert at the Rosemont Theatre by America and headliner Jethro Tull.[14]

Online streaming of the "Deep Tracks" programming broadcast on WDRV's HD2 subchannel was discontinued in October 2013, due to its popularity.[5] The high amount of traffic to the site made the stream too expensive to maintain, considering the cost of the service, royalty payments and lack of commercials to offset costs.

The station celebrated its 15th anniversary on Friday, May 20, 2016 with a concert at the Rosemont Theater featuring Boston and Jefferson Starship.[15]

WDRV features The Sherman & Tingle Show (Brian Sherman and Steve Tingle with Executive Producer, Jill Egan) which debuted the morning of October 31, 2016.[16]

On March 10, 2018, WDRV became Chicago's only classic rock station when former rival WLUP-FM was sold to Educational Media Foundation and changed formats to EMF's Christian AC format known as K-Love.[17]

WWDV Simulcast

In 1983, Northern Illinois Broadcasting purchased WKZN 96.9 FM in Zion, Illinois, changing the call sign to WNIZ and airing a simulcast of WNIB programming for communities north of Chicago. On February 12, 2001, WNIZ programming became a simulcast of WDRV's sister station, WTMX, when WNIB changed call signs to WDRV. WNIZ's call sign was changed to WTNX at that time. This simulcast did very little for WTMX's ratings, and management decided to return the station's programming to a simulcast of 97.1, now WDRV. The change took effect on January 1, 2003, with a call sign change to WWDV.[18]

Signal note

WDRV is short-spaced to sister station WWDV (licensed to serve Zion, Illinois) as they operate on adjacent channels and the cities they are licensed to serve are only 40 miles apart.[19] The minimum distance between two Class B FM radio stations operating on adjacent channels according to current FCC rules is 105 miles.[20] Both stations use directional antennas to reduce their signals toward each other.[4][21]

See also


  1. "FCC 335-FM Digital Notification [WDRV]". fcc.gov. Federal Communications Commission. October 21, 2015. Retrieved 2017-07-08.
  2. "Call Sign History (WDRV)". fcc.gov. Federal Communications Commission. Retrieved 2017-07-09.
  3. "Longtime Chicago Radio Engineer Keith Warner Passes Away". Chicagoland Radio and Media. May 25, 2016. Retrieved 2017-07-09.
  4. 1 2 "FM Query Results for WDRV". fcc.gov. Federal Communications Commission. Retrieved 2017-07-08.
  5. 1 2 "WDRV-FM's 'Decade Tracks' Stream Gets Deep Sixed". Chicagoland Radio and Media. October 16, 2013. Retrieved 2017-07-09.
  6. <iframe name="HDRadioStations-chicago_illinois" scrolling="no" src="https://hdradio.com/station_guides/widget.php?latitude=41.8839927&longitude=-87.6197056
  7. "WBP Archived News - Feb/Mar/Apr 2001". March 17, 2001. Retrieved 2017-11-11.
  8. http://www.americanradiohistory.com/Archive-RandR/2000s/2001/RR-2001-02-16.pdf
  9. Kening, Dan (March 15, 2001). "Former Wnib Debuts Rock And Pop Oldies Format As 'The Drive'". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2017-07-09.
  10. http://www.americanradiohistory.com/Archive-RandR/2000s/2001/RR-2001-03-23.pdf
  11. "Emmis Begins Time Brokerage Agreement with Bonneville's WLUP". RadioWorld. December 1, 2004. Retrieved 2017-07-09.
  12. "$505M sale: Bonneville sells Chicago, D.C., St. Louis and Cincinnati to Hubbard". Radio-Info.com. January 19, 2011. Archived from the original on January 21, 2011. Retrieved January 19, 2011.
  13. "Hubbard deal to purchase Bonneville stations closes". Radio Ink. May 2, 2011. Archived from the original on March 12, 2012. Retrieved May 2, 2011.
  14. "The Drive Hosts Free 10th Anniversary Concert". Chicagoland Radio and Media. May 12, 2011. Retrieved 2017-07-09.
  15. Argyrakis, Andy (May 20, 2016). "Legends Boston and Jefferson Starship, local favs Backdated rock The Drive's milestone bash". Chicago Concert Reviews. Retrieved 2017-07-09.
  16. "Robservations: Wait till Sherman & Tingle meet Eric & Kathy". robertfeder.com. October 6, 2016. Retrieved 2017-11-11.
  17. https://radioinsight.com/headlines/166554/educational-media-foundation-acquires-97-9-wlup-chicago/
  18. "Call Sign History (WWDV)". fcc.gov. Federal Communications Commission. Retrieved 2017-07-09.
  19. "How Far is it Between Zion, IL, United States and Chicago, IL, United States". Free Map Tools. Retrieved 2017-07-08.
  20. "Minimum distance separation between stations. 47 CFR 73.207 (1)" (PDF). Retrieved 2017-07-08.
  21. "FM Query Results for WWDV". fcc.gov. Federal Communications Commission. Retrieved 2017-07-08.
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