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WMVP (1000 AM) is the callsign of a commercial radio station in Chicago, Illinois, USA. It is owned by ABC. Its transmitter is located in Downers Grove. Its former call sign was WCFL, for the Chicago Federation of Labor.

The station broadcasts live sports talk, both locally and nationally. Daily programming consists of talk shows that are both national and local. Mike and Mike in the Morning and the Mike Tirico show are done by ESPN, while Waddle & Silvy, Mac, Jurko, and Harry, and The Show are more focused on Chicago sports. It is also currently the flagship station of the Chicago Bulls.

ESPN Radio

ESPN Radio is a national sports radio network in the United States launched on January 1, 1992. It was originally called Sports Radio ESPN. ESPN Radio is located at ESPN headquarters in Bristol, Connecticut. The network airs a regular schedule of daily and weekly programming as well as live coverage of Major League Baseball, National Basketball Association, Bowl Championship Series, and National Invitation Tournament games. As of 2006, like ESPN, ESPN Radio now has what is called ESPN Radio Insider. ESPN Radio is broadcast to subscribers of both Sirius Satellite Radio and XM Satellite Radio.

ESPN Radio currently has five company-owned stations in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, and Pittsburgh. Most other markets have ESPN Radio affiliates, whether they be part-time or have their entire format dedicated to ESPN Radio. ESPN Radio is currently an official part of the ABC Radio network, though the Walt Disney Company did not include the ESPN Radio network or the Radio Disney network in the sale of ABC Radio to Citadel Broadcasting.

Early years

AM 1000 began operation as WCFL in test broadcasts on June 19, 1926. In 1927, WCFL broadcast the Gene Tunney-Jack Dempsey championship boxing match at Soldier Field, challenging the National Broadcasting Company's exclusive claim to the event. This led to an arrangement whereby WCFL became one of three affiliates in Chicago of the Blue Network of NBC; WCFL broadcast non-sponsored, or sustaining, NBC programs not carried by WENR or WLS, as well as selected major sporting events and any broadcast speeches by union leaders aired by the network. When the Federal Communications Commission forced NBC to sell the Blue Network, WCFL's affiliation continued with the network through its new identity as the American Broadcasting Company, ending with the merger of WENR and WLS in 1959. WCFL was also to become an affiliate of the Amalgamated Broadcasting System in 1933, but that network folded after only a month of operations, prior to its planned westward expansion from New York.

Evolution to Top 40

WCFL was also involved in early experimental television broadcasts, and operated a shortwave repeater station, W9XAA, in the 1930s. The station carried general entertainment over the decades but by the late 1950s WCFL evolved into a popular music station. In 1965 WCFL became a Top 40 music station, competing with WLS.

In their Top 40 days, some famous disc jockeys on WCFL included Jim Runyon, Larry Lujack, Art Roberts, Ron Britain, Clark Weber, Ron Riley, Barney Pip, Fred Winston, Jim Bohannon, Howard Miller, Wolfman Jack, and Dick Biondi.

The comedy feature "Chickenman," a satire on the "Batman" TV series, originated on Runyon's morning drive-time show in 1966. It was created by WCFL staffer Dick Orkin. All the voices were done by Orkin, Runyon, and Jane Roberts, who also did WCFL's morning traffic reports as "Trooper 36-24-36". The "Chickenman" program was subsequently syndicated to radio stations worldwide.

The end of "Super CFL" and the sale 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 WLS as Chicago's only AM Top 40 station. Larry Lujack, still under contract with the station, stayed on at WCFL playing easy listening music until moving back to WLS in September 1976. This format won few listeners from FM beautiful music stations such as WLOO, and by 1978 had been replaced by a gold-based adult contemporary format.

After deciding its profit margin was too small for the Chicago Federation of Labor to maintain, WCFL was sold in 1979 to the Mutual Broadcasting System, at the time a subsidiary of the Amway Corporation. 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 Larry King overnight, but ratings remained low. In 1982 WCFL flipped to an MOR format playing standards and non rock hits of the '50s and '60s mixed in with some softer rock and roll oldies and soft '70s and '80s AC cuts and even a few currents. Ratings were still low so WCFL evolved by the end of 1983 to an Adult Contemporary format.

Religious years

In 1984 WCFL was sold by Mutual to Statewide Broadcasting. Statewide switched WCFL to adult contemporary Christian music about 10 hours a day and teaching programs the rest of the time. WCFL basically sold blocks of time to various Christian organizations. The format was profitable but received very low ratings. At that time, they advertised the call letters as standing for "Winning Chicago For the Lord". Statewide specialized in religious formats but opted merge with a secular company called Heftel.

1000 WLUP

Initially they opted to remain religious while keeping their longtime rock station 97.9 FM WLUP an AOR format. Heftel opted to end the religious format in April 1987. The call letters of the station was changed to WLUP, and its FM sister became WLUP-FM. WLUP FM remained an AOR station while 1000 WLUP switched to a full service rock format focusing on personality, comedy, talk and a few rock cuts an hour. After 7 p.m. WLUP and WLUP-FM simulcast the AOR format. Heftel had bought a few Spanish stations in the late 1980s and bought a Spanish station in Chicago in 1992. They then sold their English stations including WLUP and WLUP-FM. Evergreen Media would buy WLUP-AM and FM late in 1992.

Becoming sports radio

Initially the stations stayed the same. In 1993 though it was decided to move the full service talk/comedy/rock format to WLUP FM while switching WLUP 1000 to sports. 97.9 then became WLUP and AM 1000 changed calls to WMVP, or "Most Valuable Player," to reflect the station's new emphasis on sports programming.Many believe that Co-Owner Jim DeCastro was trying to recover the Chicago Bulls Broadcasts that WLUP had lost to WMAQ in 1991.He did by badly overpaying for the Bulls and Chicago White Sox in a move that doomed WMVP's chance of succeeding. They never made a serious attempt to challange WSCR which ran only local shows that easily beat WMVP's National Shows like the Fabulous Sports Babe and Farrell On The Bench which had very low ratings and were laughing stocks among listeners and media critics.In addition,WSCR did a much better job of promoting their talent than WMVP did. Talent included Steve Dahl who said many times on the air that he did not want to be part of an all sports station,Chet Coppock,Jay Mariotti,Jim Kozimore,David Kaplan,Brian Davis,Steve Lyons,Norm Van Lier,Les Grobstein,Lance McCallister,and reporters Bruce Levine and Cheryl Raye.The station continued with syndicated sports programming as well as play by play local sports games and got clobbered in the ratings by WSCR and even by WMAQ's Sports Huddle at night. WVMP dropped it's sinking all sports format in June 1996,the night before the Chicago Bulls opened the NBA Finals against Seattle. Evergreen would merge with Chancellor and at that point Evergreen sold WLUP 97.9 to Bonneville International and sold WMVP to ABC in 1998.

ABC continues to operate it today from studios at the intersection of State Street and Lake Street in the heart of Chicago.

Perhaps the most popular place to comment upon WMVP programming is the Chicago Sports Fan Message Board, where both listeners and on-air personalities discuss the network. WMVP host Dan McNeil is also a contributor there (McNeil announced his June, 2006 suspension on the CSFMB.)

Current ESPN 1000 Talent:

  • Dan McNeil- Afternoon Co-Host 2pm-7pm
  • John Jurkovic- Afternoon Co-Host 2pm-7pm
  • Harry Teinowitz- Afternoon Co-Host 2pm-7pm
  • Marc Silverman- Midday Co-Host 9am-Noon
  • Tom Waddle- Midday Co-Host 9am-Noon

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