City Chicago, Illinois
Broadcast area Chicago market
Branding ESPN Chicago 1000 AM
Slogan Chicagoland's Leader In Sports
Frequency 1000 kHz
First air date June 19, 1926
Format Sports Talk
Power 50,000 watts
Class A (Clear channel)
Facility ID 73303
Transmitter coordinates 41°49′5″N 87°59′18″W / 41.81806°N 87.98833°W / 41.81806; -87.98833
Callsign meaning W Most Valuable Player
Former callsigns WCFL (1926–1987)
WLUP (1987–1993)
Affiliations ESPN Radio
Chicago Bandits (NPF)
Chicago Wolves (AHL)
Northwestern Wildcats (NCAA)
Owner The Walt Disney Company
(Sports Radio Chicago, LLC)
Sister stations WLS-TV
Webcast Listen Live
Website ESPN Chicago

WMVP (1000 kHz) is a commercial AM radio station in Chicago, Illinois, United States. It is owned by ABC, Inc. and operated by ESPN Radio. Its transmitter is located in Downers Grove.[1] The station broadcasts a sports radio format.

WMVP airs both local programs and nationally syndicated sports shows. Weekdays begin with Golic and Wingo, a national program from ESPN, while Waddle and Silvy, Carmen and Jurko, and Kap and Company are more focused on Chicago sports. WMVP is currently the flagship station of the Chicago Wolves, the AHL affiliate of the St. Louis Blues of the NHL. Until 2016, it was the flagship station of the Chicago Bulls of the NBA (now heard on WSCR). WMVP also airs Northwestern Wildcats football and basketball games whenever flagship station WGN is unable to air the games due to other broadcast agreements.

From 1926 to 1987, 1000 AM was WCFL, the radio voice of the Chicago Federation of Labor. WMVP is a Class A radio station, broadcasting at 50,000 watts, the maximum power for commercial AM stations. It shares 1000 AM, a clear channel frequency, with KOMO Seattle and XEOY Mexico City. WMVP uses a directional antenna to avoid interfering with those other stations. WMVP's powerful nighttime signal allows it to be heard by listeners around the Midwestern United States and Central Canada.


WCFL: Chicago Federation of Labor

The station's former call sign was WCFL, for the Chicago Federation of Labor. The station billed itself as "The Voice of Labor" from its inception until its sale to the Mutual Broadcasting System in 1978.[2]

While it was primarily a Top 40 station, WCFL featured a Sunday evening program of progressive rock music called "The Ron Britain Subterranean Circus." The word "subterranean" was in reference to WCFL featuring "underground music," which was the term used to refer to then-emerging album oriented rock sound. This genre of music was almost exclusively carried by FM stations, making WCFL being among the few AM stations to carry album cuts as opposed to singles.

The Sale of WCFL to Mutual

On March 15, 1976, after two years of falling ratings, WCFL abruptly dropped its Top 40 format in favor of "The World's Most Beautiful Music," leaving rival WLS as Chicago's only AM Top 40 station.[3][4] Station management released all disc jockeys who did not have "no cut" clauses in their contracts. The official explanation of the format change described it as "being more in keeping with the labor movement".[5] Larry Lujack, still under contract with the station, stayed on at WCFL playing easy listening music until moving back to WLS in September 1976.[6] The easy listening format was already heard in stereo on FM beautiful music stations WLOO and WLAK. By 1978, the easy sounds were replaced by a gold-based adult contemporary format.[7]

WCFL and the Chicago Federation of Labor enjoyed the support of Mayor Richard J. Daley throughout his 1955-1976 administration. He proclaimed January 11, 1966 "WCFL Day in Chicago" to mark the 40th anniversary of the station.[2] In 1976, when it became evident it was time for the Federation to sell the radio station, Federation President William A. Lee turned to his long-time friend, Mayor Daley, for advice.[5]

After deciding its profit margin was too small for the Chicago Federation of Labor to maintain, WCFL was sold on April 3, 1978 to the Mutual Broadcasting System, at the time a subsidiary of the Amway Corporation.[2] The history of the first and longest-lived labor radio station was over; after nearly 52 years, the "Voice of Labor" had been stilled.[5] The station began to identify itself as "Mutual/CFL." A magazine-type news/talk format was adopted, with sports talk in the evening hours and the syndicated Larry King Show overnight, but ratings remained low. In 1982, WCFL flipped to an Middle of The Road format playing adult standards and pop hits of the 1950s and '60s mixed in with some softer oldies and AC cuts, and even a few currents. Ratings were still low, so WCFL evolved by the end of 1983 to an adult contemporary music format.[5]

Religious Years

In 1983, WCFL was sold by Mutual to Statewide Broadcasting.[8] Statewide switched WCFL to adult contemporary Christian music about 10 hours a day and teaching programs the rest of the time. WCFL sold brokered programming in 30 minute blocks of time to Christian radio organizations and preachers. The format was profitable but received low ratings. At that time, WCFL advertised its call letters as standing for "Winning Chicago For The Lord". In early 1985, the station moved from Marina City into a two-story brick building which had served as the original transmitter building on its Downers Grove transmitter site.[1] Statewide Broadcasting specialized in religious formats but later merged with a secular company called Heftel Broadcasting.[9]

1000 WLUP

Initially, WCFL remained religious while its co-owned longtime rock station 97.9 FM WLUP maintained its AOR format. Heftel ended WCFL's religious format just after the stroke of midnight on April 29, 1987.[5][10] The call letters of the station were changed to WLUP, and its FM sister station became WLUP-FM. WLUP-FM remained an AOR station, while 1000 WLUP switched to a full service rock format focusing on personality, comedy and talk programs with a few rock cuts an hour. After 7 p.m., WLUP and WLUP-FM simulcast the AOR format till dawn.[11] Heftel had bought a few Spanish-language stations in the late 1980s and bought a Spanish station in Chicago in 1992. As it concentrated on Spanish radio, Heftel sold its English-language stations, including WLUP-AM-FM. Evergreen Media bought WLUP-AM-FM in late 1992. From October 1992 until August 1993, WLUP-AM was the first Chicago affiliate for The Howard Stern Show.[12][13]


Initially, the AM and FM stations remained the same under Evergreen. But on September 27, 1993, WLUP-FM switched to a full-service talk/comedy format, while AM 1000 became all-sports.[14][15] 97.9 then became WLUP and AM 1000 changed its call sign to WMVP, for "Most Valuable Player," to reflect the station's all-sports programming.[16][17] WMVP's schedule included some nationally syndicated shows such as "The Fabulous Sports Babe" and "Ferrall On The Bench" as well as play-by-play of local sports games. Despite broadcasting 24/7, the station trailed in the ratings to (at the time) daytime-only WSCR and to WMAQ's Sports Huddle at night. WMVP dropped its all sports format at 6 a.m. on June 5, 1996, the day before the Chicago Bulls opened the NBA Finals against the Seattle SuperSonics, and returned to mostly simulcasting WLUP-FM. (WMVP did carry its own night-time sports talk program, and play-by-play broadcasts of the White Sox, Blackhawks and Bulls, and would later air some shows from hosts who were moved over from the FM beginning that September).[18][19] Evergreen later merged with Chancellor and sold WLUP-FM to Bonneville International in July 1997, with WMVP permanently splitting from the FM. WMVP began airing its own talk/sports format, simply called "AM 1000."[20] In August 1998, WMVP was sold by Chancellor to ABC/Disney, and flipped back to sports on October 5, this time affiliated with the co-owned ESPN Radio Network.[21][22][23]

ESPN 1000 Sportscasters

ABC operates WMVP from studios and offices at 190 North State Street in the Chicago Loop, where sister station WLS-TV also has its studios. WMVP also has a streetside studio for local programming right next to WLS's own streetside studios.


  1. 1 2 Fybush (2008). "WCFL/WMVP Transmitter site". Fybush. Retrieved 19 April 2010.
  2. 1 2 3 "WCFL". Radio Timeline. Archived from the original on 17 June 2010. Retrieved 14 March 2010.
  3. YouTube-audio of Larry Lujack and the end of Rock on WCFL-March 15, 1976
  4. Demos (16 September 2005). "Loaning Larry Lujack Bus Fare During WCFL's Beautiful Music Summer of 1976". McMahon. Retrieved 12 May 2010.
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 Godfried, Nathan, ed. (1997), WCFL, Chicago's Voice of Labor, 1926-78, University of Illinois Press, pp. 281–290, ISBN 0-252-06592-1, retrieved 2010-04-06
  6. "Larry Lujack Interview". Manteno. 1985. Archived from the original on 16 August 2003. Retrieved 1 April 2010.
  7. "WCFL Returns to Pop Music (page 9)" (PDF). Mr. Pop History. 23 January 1978. Retrieved 1 April 2010.
  8. "Jordan Ginsburg-Statewide Broadcasting-co-owner obituary-Boca Raton, FL". 26 August 2009. Retrieved 22 March 2010.
  9. More details about the Statewide/Heftel Merger-Univision Radio-Wikipedia
  10. https://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P2-3823221.html
  11. https://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P2-3834332.html
  12. https://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P2-4135125.html
  13. https://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P2-4185756.html
  14. https://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P2-4193252.html
  15. http://www.americanradiohistory.com/Archive-RandR/1990s/1993/RR-1993-10-01.pdf
  16. Nidetz, Steve (January 17, 1994). "ESPN Scoring Here--On Radio". Chicago Tribune. p. 9.
  17. https://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P2-4193252.html
  18. https://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P2-4335610.html
  19. https://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P2-4350811.html
  20. https://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P2-4417720.html
  21. https://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P2-4447853.html
  22. https://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P2-4458387.html
  23. https://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P2-4468594.html
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