Sunday, April 13, 2014

WCFL, Dick Biondi and "30 Double Gold"

This album cost me 50¢ from Half Price Books.  It was in great shape and had a huge selection of hits from the mid-to-late 60s (plus three 50s tunes thrown in as well).  The album was a promotional album from Chicago's WCFL, 1000 AM.  The station was known as the "Voice of Labor" and was originally owned by the Chicago Federation of Labor.  Broadcasting from Marina Towers, WCFL turned toward rock and roll music in 1966 and in just a matter of years it was the number one radio station in Chicago.  It was branded as "The Big 10."

The DJs of WCFL were known as the "Men From 10" and included some of Chicago's legendary on-air personalities:

After spending years at rival WLS and then hosting a syndicated show from Los Angeles, Dick Biondi returned to Chicago and joined WCFL in 1967.  He remained at the station until 1971 and then moved to Boston.

He returned in 1983 and has been on Chicago radio ever since.

Biondi is a radio legend, the first American DJ to play the Beatles in 1963.  At 81 years young, Biondi is still on the airwaves, now broadcasting again on WLS at the 11pm to 2 am time slot.

Earlier, I had highlighted another WCFL album that I had found in a thrift store.  This one is better.  Not only is it a double album, it is in better shape than the earlier album.  It has some great tunes as well, including the Turtles, the Righteous Brothers, Chuck Berry, the Association and James Brown.

I believe this album was distributed in either 1970 or 71.

WCFL continued broadcasting rock and roll until 1976 when it switched over to "Muzak" format, making WLS the only AM station to play rock and roll.  Today, AM1000 is a sports/talk station.

Thanks to the internet, WCFL is still alive and kicking.  You can listen to actual streams of the radio station from its glory days.  Click the player below to listen to a composite of WCFL from 1966-1971, featuring jingles, news and air checks:

Here is an hour of WCFL from 1970:

Here is another hour of WCFL from 1971:

Selections from WCFL's 30 Double Gold can be heard on Vinyl Voyage Radio.

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