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REEL TOP 40 RADIO REPOSITORY
Tim Benko, 1996
Tim Benko, 1996

Windy City Airchecks Coffee Mug

Hollywood Electronics Professional Grade High Fidelity Recording Tape

THE 'WINDY CITY' AIRCHECKS COLLECTION

Tim Benko of "Windy City" Airchecks archived the airwaves of Chicago radio for 25 years. Among his massive collection of airchecks are the gems you will find here. Tim said he never worked in radio, but he was always intrigued by the media. He found the Repository days after we went online and immediately became a major contributor. The success of this site is directly related to Tim's early and overwhelming willingness to share. He loved these old recordings of radio stations as much as anyone.

Unexpectedly, Tim passed away at the age of 51, between Christmas 1998 and New Years Day, 1999. Tim was so generous that we still have some of his contributions yet to go online.

We miss you, Tim!

Tim said his collection was more hobby than business, but it was serious enough that Uncle Ricky received a prized "MONITORING DIVISION" beverage mug, along with a mountain of nostalgic oxide and a list of goodies that very likely represents THE ultimate collection of Chicago airchecks from 1973 to the present.

Part of the debut offering for this collection was notable for the delivery medium and content: Kris Erik Stevens on WLS and WCFL, on authentic analog 1/4" reel-to-reel tape.

While it's difficult to beat 400 feet of acetate excellence - Tim and "Windy City" contributed so much more! Tim, we thank you!

REPOSITORY MAIN MENU

[Note from Ricky:] Some of these descriptions are mine - the good ones were written by Tim.

G2 5.0 Compatible
Charlie Van Dyke, CKLW Windsor, 1969 (6:44)

. . . and there was Michelle and Mama Fat . . .

Here's 21-year-old Charlie Van Dyke on Monday morning, May 26, 1969, at The Big 8, CKLW.

You'll also hear Bill Drake say "One Year Ago Today", and "And the hits just keep on comin'", staples of the original "Drake Format" road show. This one is provided courtesy of Tom Konard's Aircheck Factory.

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Gary Gears, WLS, January 1970 (7:34)

..Don't come downtown.. without an anchor...

A tasty sample of WLS, this one is provided courtesy of Tom Konard's Aircheck Factory.

It was nine degrees below zero on the January morning when Gary Gears filled in for Jerry Kaye on "The Chicago Giant." You'll enjoy Gears, those great PAMS WLS acapellas, and the "But You Know That" Budweiser jingle. Jeffrey Hendricks is featured with WLS News - and listen: isn't that The Real Don Steele hyping 20 Solid Gold Hits for only $3.50?

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Scotty Brink, WCFL, 1970 (8:34)

... It's our day, baby - you and me ...

Superlative formatics on WCFL, provided courtesy of Tom Konard's Aircheck Factory.

Scotty Brink was one of those jocks that just made it all sound so easy. Served with a great variety of pop music, the very best national spots, and those powerhouse TM Jingles - Brink and the Big 10 made a fine happy hour special for the Windy City.

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G2 5.0 Compatible TOP STREAM 32Kbps (13 Khz)
Ron Britain, WCFL Chicago, March 11, 1970 (01:03:25)

. . . let's have a little respect for the crystal set . . .

How fortunate for all of us that the Production Manager at WCFL in the '70's was Tom Konard, and that Tom kept so many studio-quality airchecks from The Voice of Labor. Likewise, it was also our good fortune to benefit from the generosity of contributor Tim Benko, who contributed this cassette from Tom Konard's Aircheck Factory back in 1998.

Back in those days, we didn't stream unscoped airchecks, and this aircheck of Ron Britain had already been contributed in 'scoped form by The Don Riley Collection.

This is one of the best-sounding Aircheck Factory cassettes we've heard, and since Tim wanted to share it, we are happy to do so in October, 2009. "King B" Ron Britain is all the buzz in this hour packed with goofy sounds and drop-ins, those great TM jingles and at least a few cool hit records. Fred W. Barton is featured with news, and one report covers the Grammy Awards show for 1969.

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Larry O'Brien, WCFL, Chicago, 4/71 (7:14)

..I wonder if she likes albums?...

This 'check is the first of several provided courtesy of Tom Konard's Aircheck Factory, through the diplomatic efforts of Tim Benko at Windy City Airchecks. Tom wrote that these were samples of the airchecks he saved while at WCFL. Tom, who is internationally known for his huge collection of radio on cassette, has yet to discover the Web! He can be reached via snail mail at: Aircheck Acres, Wild Rose, Wisconsin, 54984. Thank You, Tom!

For me, the highlight of this Larry O' Brien aircheck (from 7-7:30 PM, April 8, 1971) are the great TM jingles, with that beautiful, ballsy vocal group with the bass guy mixed up-front. I was told once that if you wanted sound like this, tell 'em to write it open. It's one helluva powerful vocal mix - and I thought it was perfectly matched to The Big 10.

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FRESH RA3.0 - REMASTERED!
Kris Erik Stevens, WLS, Chicago, 1/72 (3:26)

..and curl up to the radio next with JJ Jeffrey on the Big 89...

Kris Erik has his own web site now. He even stopped by the Repository and won the "Guess the 1969 WLS Jocks" contest. Back then, he was the youngster on the 'LS staff. Kris has a very one-of-a-kind style, and he will forever be the one and only Kris Erik Stevens.

I used to listen to Kris Erik as a 21-year old in York, S.C., driving home from work after sign-off. 'LS used to boom into the Carolinas most nights - a distant but powerful giant. By 1972, 'LS was into the PAMS Solid Rock package - the liberal use of which you'll note on this 'check.

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Ron O'Brien, WCFL, Chicago, 6/72 (6:40)

..Larry is my father...

Ron O' Brien is burnin' it up on this one!

This is genuine, butt-kickin' Voice of Labor Top 40 Radio from the Big 10, recorded June 7, 1972, between 10 and 10:30 PM.

Ron O'Brien died from complications of pneumonia on April 27, 2008.

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Paul Kirby, WCFL, Chicago, 6/24/72 (7:05)

..W C F L-ton John ...

Some jocks worked from sun to sun, but the Voice of Labor was never done! Paul Kirby is outstanding overnight in this 'check from Tom Konard's Aircheck Factory.

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FRESH RA3.0 - REMASTERED!
Kris Erik Stevens, WCFL, Chicago, 1/73 (4:38)

Eleven o' clock - at the Voice of Labor...

On the nights when WLS didn't boom into the Carolinas, WCFL often did. I didn't understand that the "Voice of Labor" meant the station was owned by the Chicago Federation of Labor, nor did I care. (I was forced to join IBEW in Providence, but forgive and forget, I always say..)

'CFL was a darn good radio station in those days. You'd almost think it was owned and operated by a bunch of businessmen with ties, instead of hard-working union laborers. What's that? The Businessmen with the ties are the Union guys?

Kris seemed to be entering some sort of "mellow" phase on 'CFL - maybe he was wearing KOSS Pro 4-AA's and had 'em cranked...

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G2/5.0 compatible
Dick Sainte, WCFL Chicago, May 15, 1973 (01:00:13)

Play Scoped Original RA 3.0 'SCOPED Exhibit (08:33)

[Original 'scoped exhbit contributed by Tim Benko, debuted March 15, 1997. The unscoped exhibit was contributed by John Celarek and debuted September 14, 2008.]

...I know some of you are sinnin' tonight - that's cool...

The late Dick Sainte (d. December 10, 2005) had that "boss" sound on WCFL in 1973, and it's no wonder. His credentials included KGB, KFRC, and KHJ before he joined the Voice of Labor.

The production value of Super 'CFL was very high during this period: Sainte's seemingly effortless, casual style is complemented here with those great TM WCFL jingles, and a memorable Pepsi spot.

(Aircheck courtesy Tom Konard's Aircheck Factory.)

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G2/5.0 compatible TOP STREAM 32 Kbps (10 Khz)
Charlie Van Dyke, WLS Chicago 7-26-73 (01:03:09)
play This Exhibit 'SCOPED (09:33)

SCOPEDThis 'scoped (music removed) and partially edited exhibit is in the original Real Audio 3.0 format.

. . . on the job, getting the rocks off . . .

The amazing Charlie Van Dyke, who at the age of 25(!) had already blazed a trail through classic Top 40 stations KLIF, CKLW, KFRC, KGB and KHJ, is heard on the WLS morning show in 1973.

It wasn't easy going up against John Rook's WCFL, but Van Dyke offers what is a definitely professional (if arguably perfunctory) performance.

This contribution from Tim Benko was originally introduced on April 19, 1998. It was upgraded from RA 3 to Real G2 (RA 8) as a full-length unscoped exhibit on March 20, 2005. As always, our thanks to Tim.

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 TOP STREAM 32Kbps (10Khz)
Larry Lujack, WCFL, Chicago, December 7, 1973 (46:03)

Play Scoped This Exhibit 'SCOPED (19:24)


UNSCOPED

'SCOPED

Klunk Letter of the Day, comin' up next...

No aircheck collection of Chicago radio would be complete without the great Larry Lujack, a staple for years on Windy City Top 40 Legends WLS and WCFL.

This was our first Larry Lujack exhibit, originally published as a 'scoped (only) exhibit on May 19, 1996. Larry Lujack died of esophageal cancer on December 18, 2013. He was 73.

This is authentic, off-the-air stuff; You can tell, because 'CFL was still runnin' that reverb...

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Larry O'Brien, WTAE Pittsburgh PA 11-7-1973 (16:17)

. . . just above the shins, Denise, ooobee doo . . .

Long-time Pittsburgh personality Larry O'Brien is featured on his solo morning show on WTAE on November 7, 1973. Don't be fooled by the "same old" Boss jingle opening - WTAE was not a cookie-cutter format. In addition to playing an adult mix of contemporary hits with deep oldies support, WTAE was also originating Pittsburgh Steeler NFL games. You'll hear a number of surprises, including the Johnny Mann Singers' rendition of "DeNardo Weather" (a reference to the Joe DeNardo weather service), and some comedy quickies by O'Brien.

In 1975, O'Brien was teamed with PM driver John Garry (featured on this aircheck voicing a contest promo) for mornings on WTAE. O'Brien and Garry remained together for decades.

[Thanks to Jeff Roteman for WTAE background information. Much more about WTAE is available at Jeff's WTAE site.]

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G2 5.0 compatible STEREO TOP STREAM 64Kbps - 14Khz STEREO
 Jim Channell, WDHF-FM, Chicago, June 6, 1975 (48:09)

.."Slippin' on by on 'DHF, Friday night, troublebound..."

play This Exhibit 'SCOPED (06:10)

SCOPEDHere's the original Real Audio 2.0 version of this exhibit (mono), contributed by Tim Benko for debut on May 19, 1996. If all you want is the jings and the jock and the news and the spots, this version's for you!
Was that an "image jingle", or a sure way to get your record played? Definitely mid-70's high energy - but whatever happened to Captain Whammo? Tim wrote the following when he contributed this aircheck in 1996:

"...Jim "Captain Whammo" Channell on WDHF-FM ... is now into the gospel related business and runs his ministry out of Ft. Myers, Florida. Long retired from the Windy City, Channell bailed out for KENO/Las Vegas in the late '70's. Reportedly, he and his girlfriend had a plan to 'break the bank' out in Vegas while working in radio there. It either didn't pan out, or 'The Captain' got one of those offers he couldn't refuse..

Channell came back to Chicago and hooked on with a 'Mom 'n' Pop' outlet in the Chicago suburbs. Later, when WCFL went to a religious format, Jim Channell was their PD and also did PM drive. After 'CFL was sold to the folks at Evergreen Broadcasting (it's now All-Sports WMVP), Channell set up shop in the suburbs and started to run his gospel syndication service.

(Years later) I taped his gospel countdown show (on WYLL-FM Des Plaines) to get an address for him. It turned out to be a P.O. Box in Fort Meyers, Florida, so I sent a letter to Mr. Channell asking for an aircheck of the gospel countdown. I eventually received the tape, six months later - along with a note from "The Captain" asking for a donation to his ministry!"

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 TOP STREAM 10KHz (20.7Kbps)
PLAY Wizard Lew Rogers, KGB San Diego, January 3 1975 (12:27)

. . . So far, the show has easily been more fun than a pinched nerve . . .

Brad Messer opens with his news closer at 5PM on KGB AM San Diego, January 3, 1975, and Wizard Lew Rogers is driving the Magic Bus on The KGB.

Along with a Top 40 music mix, and an abundance of adult theatre advertisements, you'll hear an introduction for Todd Wallace on KRUX (Glendale AZ.)

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PLAY Fred Winston, Doug Dahlgren, Dick Sainte, WLS 3-12-76 (22:13)

. . . How do you do that with your voice in your socks everyday? . . .

Doug Dahlgren & Dick Sainte

Dick Sainte and Doug Dahlgren, the deposed morning drive team on WCFL, join Fred Winston on WLS to explain why they were abruptly fired (and evicted from the studio) for talking about 'CFL's upcoming format change to beautiful music. Lew Witz, WCFL GM, had specifically forbidden any on-air discussion about the format change.

Bill Price is heard in the closing set.

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TOP STREAM 32Kbps (10 Khz)
ORIGINAL (SCOPED) EXHIBIT RA 3.0 March 14, 1999
RE-ENCODED (UNSCOPED) March 14, 2004

Bob Dearborn, WCFL Chicago, 3-15-76 (1:00:07)

. . . Hit that button one last time . . .

THE ORIGINAL SCOPED EXHIBIT (10:30)
The original exhibit is 'scoped (the music has been removed) and was encoded in 1999 Real Audio (3.0) format.
Super-smooth Bob Dearborn hosts the last hour of his final show on Super CFL, March 15, 1976, just prior to Larry Lujack's Super CFL Top 40 finale.

The late Tim Benko wrote Uncle Ricky about this aircheck in April of 1998:

"One of those moments where if you heard this while drinking in a bar, you'd buy a round for the entire place."

Included: spots for WLS and WDAI, both hoping to claim some of the WCFL audience.

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 TOP STREAM 32Kbps (10Khz)
Larry Lujack, WCFL Chicago, 3-16-76 (10:50)

. . . Day and Night, Chicago's most beautiful music is here . . .

Larry Lujack as a "Beautiful Music" announcer!

In the first break, "Superjock" announces that the KISS concert is still on, and for listeners to keep collecting those candy wrappers for the contest!

This exhibit was updated on June 20, 2009, and now includes the entire ('scoped) hour, and a newscast from Pat Sheraton.

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 TOP STREAM 32Kbps (10Khz)
Charlie Van Dyke, Last Hour KHJ L.A. May 5 1977 (16:28)

. . . Gee you can never find an engineer when you need one around here . . . The equipment looks older than I remember . . .

Charlie Van Dyke's final hour on KHJ, Los Angeles, May 5, 1977.

Uncle Ricky notes: Lots of wonderful sounds on this exhibit, but it also includes a classic Dick Orkin Milk spot. I never thought I'd get to hear Mrs. Uptight fall into the salmon loaf again — one of my all time favorites!

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G2 and 5.0 compatible TOP STREAM 20.7Kbps (10Khz)
Charlie Tuna, KHJ Los Angeles, May 6, 1977 (26:52)

. . . a funny thing happened to me on the way to work five years ago . . .

Charlie Tuna returns to KHJ, Los Angeles, May 6, 1977.

Features: Edith Anne, Henny Youngman for Turtle Wax, The Morning Breakfast Serial with Bill Cosby, a spot for Pumping Iron (starring an Austrian bodybuilder with a strange name) *one* TM "We Do It For You" jingle, This Date in History - "if he (Rudolph Valentino) heard me talking he would turn over in his grave - of course, that would be a more comfortable position for Rudy..", promos by Bobby Ocean, and lots more Tuna Surprise and wonderful memories of Spring 1977 in Los Angeles.

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Jim Channell, WMET-FM, Chicago, 4/12/78 (10:03)

.."I feel like doin' a little yellin' and screamin' tonight..."

Tim has more about "Captain Whammo":

...Metromedia changed the call letters of 'DHF to 'MET, and here's Captain Whammo again. If ever there was a true "screamer" in Top 40 Radio, Jim Channell had to be up there with the cream of the crop...

If not the "scream" of the crop, eh? I dunno, Tim - The "Cap" seemed to be mellowing in '78 ...

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G2/5.0/Aphex TOP STREAM 20.7 Kbps (10Khz)
PLAY Charlie O'Brien, CKLW, July 1978 (9:08)

. . . that's the title song from the movie soundtrack Grease, Earth Wind and Fire with Serpentine Fire and first, Exile, with Kiss You All Over . . .

This is interesting because it so appropriately demonstrates the beginning of the end of personality and production-driven Top-40. Who would have believed powerhouse CKLW would ever end up backselling "blocks" of music, without any ID between the hits?!

Was this any way to do Top 40? No Jingles! No Production, not even a Big Voice Production "Imager"! Ack! In all fairness to Charlie O' Brien, he is trying to sound comfortable and has a very pleasant voice. But I never would have believed this is what CKLW was doing in 1978. You must hear to believe...

..and know what this hath wrought. (Some of the commercial jings are nice to hear again...)

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G2 / 5.0 COMPATIBLE TOP STREAM 32Kbps (10Kz)
PLAYJohn Landecker, WLS Chicago, 12-17-79 (1:00:01)

Play Scoped The original lower-fi Exhibit 'SCOPED (13:16)

. . . Am I excited about my first day on the job, or what? . . .

Here's John Records Landecker on his first day in afternoon drive on WLS. It's 19 degrees, the Transit Authority is on strike, and he jokes that "after 8 years, I finally got day work". Included: the Christmas Wish contest, a Seasons Greetings jingle, and Dick Orkin as a Sugar Plum for The Gap.

Landecker replaced Bob Sirott. Sirrott was sitting out his non-compete clause before beginning AM drive on WCRK-FM (ex WDAI-FM) a few months later.

Thankfully, this is The Enormous 89 playing real Top 40 — a mix of pop, R&B and rock! The inevitable paranoia over disco music had yet to take its toll, and compared to the faux AOR heard in Landecker's farewell airchecks from 1981 (below), this one is right on target.

Update: December 13, 2009 - the unscoped version. Tim's original tape was noisy and warbly at the beginning of side 1 but improves. REELRADIO will be forever grateful for Tim's generosity.

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 TOP STREAM 32Kbps
John Records Landecker, WLS Chicago 6-13-81, Part 1 (46:53)

. . . if you still wanna, look me up when you get to Ta-ranna . . .


John Records Landecker (WJMK, Chicago, 1998). Picture courtesy of The Marty Johnson Collection.
John Records Landecker, leaves WLS, Chicago for CFTR, Toronto, and here's the first two hours (2-4 PM) of his farewell four. It's 46 minutes of the very Best of Landecker - including Landecker-selected aircheck flashbacks from his nine and a half years at "the 50,000 watt blowtorch".

Landecker is slow to get started (maybe he was having second thoughts), but once he gets rolling (about 8 minutes in), you'll hear some hilarious Richard Nixon bits including Make a Date with the Watergate (with an interesting story about ABC and the Nixon administration) and Press My Conference, (a brilliant revival of the late Dickie Goodman's novelty hits); A spot for Shirley, Squirrely & Melvin (this is for real!); A mostly manly pirate with balloons from Landecker's ex; A Boogie Check Premiere with Landecker's parents who testify that Records really is his middle name; Americana Panorama, and other quickie treats.

What you won't hear on this aircheck of 1981 WLS is anything resembling a traditional "Top 40" music mix. Surprisingly, the playlist is all AOR crossover! There's no question, however, that this (edited) aircheck is worth three of your quarter-hours.

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CAUTION! THIS RECORDING CONTAINS OBSCENITY THAT MAY BE INAPPROPRIATE FOR SOME LISTENERS

 TOP STREAM 32 Kbps
John Records Landecker, WLS Chicago 6-13-81, Part 2 (44:22)

. . . Obviously, you don't change jobs and go to another job if you are completely satisfied with what you have been doing. So, you can correctly assume that I am leaving because I am not getting all the things that I want here, and I hope to get them somewhere, and the people in Toronto called me a year ago . . .

John Records Landecker concludes "nine and a half years" at WLS in Part 2, covering 4 - 6 PM on June 13, 1981. We are reminded, again, of how difficult it was for this AM giant to stay true to a Top 40, mass-appeal music format in the 80's.

You'll hear more of the 1981 WLS "faux AOR" playlist. The only musical surprise is Being With You by Smokey Robinson, which makes no sense at all if you are pretending to be an AOR station, (but it sure sounds GOOD!) Meanwhile, enjoy the genuine faux formatics, like promos and jingles into spots and records back-to-back with NO ID - not even a drop-in. Like Part 1, this is an edited aircheck and the music is loosely 'scoped.

Otherwise, as in Part 1, the real entertainment here is Mr. Landecker, who first favors us with a fan's phone fable about his unfortunate death and the resultant "Landecker Clones", all property of ABC. This one ends with a genuine dirty-word blooper, a nice parting gift for the ABC FCC attorneys.

You'll also hear his special version of Jane (with Jefferson Starship), (there's a political story behind this explained by contributor Tim Benko via COMMENT, below.) You'll enjoy an elaborate radio drama that presents Landecker's demise as the dinner of a Great Puce Shark, and a Boogie Check montage that appears in part in Jay Philpott's 1976 WLS Composite. Finally, not to be missed: Landecker's lengthy Closing Remarks and Special Songs. In fact, take this one all the way out - he's not finished until after Rush.

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G2 and 5.0 compatible TOP STREAM 32Kbps (16Khz)
Larry Lujack, Chris Shebel, WLS January 4 1982 (21:02)

. . . How come you never play the middle of the records? . . .

[Description by Uncle Ricky]

Our late friend Tim Benko sent this tape to me in October, 1998. I'm happy to share it with REELRADIO visitors as we begin our seventh year online (February 12, 2002.) Tim wanted you to hear this.

It's kind of sad to hear Superjock Larry Lujack just playing records back to back (without even an ID! - and the reverb was still on!) but that's what WLS was doing in 1982. On the other hand, Uncle Lar's "interview" with "teenage" DJ (new WLS employee) Chris Shebel is classic Lujack. Larry plays Shebel's aircheck from Columbus, Ohio (WXGT) and asks lots of "very personal and embarrassing questions". Tim wrote (in 1998) that Shebel had just left WVTY-FM in Pittsburgh. Not everyone gets an interview with Superjock, but we are unsure if Lar's interest advanced Mr. Shebel's career.

Lujack also announces new schedules for Animal Stories. Please, no comments on that; Tim tried to get permission to put that online here in 1996 - Little Tommy said no, no, double-damn and call the lawyers NO. Fortunately, no one prohibited Tim from sharing this great WLS Lujack Moment with REELRADIO.

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G2 5.0 COMPATIBLE STEREO TOP STREAM 64Kbps (14 Khz STEREO, Web-TV Compatible)
Gary Spears, WBBM-FM Chicago, August 19, 1982 (01:00:24)

play This Exhibit 'SCOPED (10:27)

SCOPEDIf you don't care to hear the music, here is the original Real Audio 3.0 (mono) version, first published in January, 1999.

[RE-ENCODED and UNSCOPED, SEPTEMBER 10, 2005]

. . . tell 'em to turn us on - 96 Now! . . .

This Gary Spears aircheck is from the 96 NOW phase of WBBM-FM, a Mike Joseph Hot Hits formatted station.

Spears left WBBM-FM for New York City and WAPP-FM in late 1984. He made a return trip to the Windy City, once again on 'BBM-FM. He also worked at WKQX-FM, Chicago.

He made stops in Washington, D.C., New Orleans, San Diego and Los Angeles.

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REMASTERED G2/5.0 COMPATIBLE RA 8 ORIGINALLY ENCODED 'SCOPED RA 3.0 MAY 3, 1998 - 16Kbps
REMASTERED UNSCOPED DECEMBER 25, 2004 G2 (RA 8.0) - 44Kbps STEREO
Jackson Armstrong, KKHR Los Angeles 5-8-84 (01:19:23)

. . . Maybe so, but I'll take penicillin . . .

play This Exhibit 'SCOPED (15:55)

SCOPEDThis is the original Real Audio 3.0 (monaural low-fidelity, 1998) version. If all you want is the jings and the jock and the spots, this version's for you!
Here's Jackson Armstrong, using a lot of drop-ins, doing genuine TOP 40 (variety, not diversity) radio in Los Angeles, 1984! Big Brother would be proud; the Scorpions and Donna Summer back to back? HITRADIO 93 KKHR, take us away! When you listen closely you'll hear just a hint of reverb! The jingles and production elements are very exciting.

About 6:23 in, you'll hear a wonderful "California Cheese" spot featuring a very smart cow. (So funny!) And about 9:42, you'll hear Mr. Armstrong do a straight-up top of hour ID that rivals Viagra® for feelin' good. (The timings given are for the original, scoped exhibit.)

Otherwise, since this exhibit's first appearance in 1998, the telling of the story of HITRADIO 93 KKHR was entrusted to our learned visitors via COMMENT (below.) All we could tell from the content is that the station was owned by CBS, but that doesn't tell us much. Not only did we learn what happened to this fun Top 40 Radio Dinosaur of the mid 80's, but we discovered who got famous, or lost it all, with this one...

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Jeff Davis: WLS, The MusicRadio Years, 1960-1985 (55:13)

. . . as long as it is our privilege to direct the destinies of WLS, we will hold sacred this trust. . .

Last aired for the WLS Employee Reunion on August 30, 1997 from 6 - 7:30 PM, this retrospective was produced and narrated by the current voice of WLS, Chief Historian and former "Musicradio" personality Jeff Davis, and spans a quarter century of memorable moments. The late Tim Benko contributed this recording in September of 1997.

PART ONE (13:22) begins with radio's Golden Age prior to ABC's purchase of the station in March, 1960, followed by an aircheck with yet-to-become General Manager Gene Taylor, from June 7, 1960.

PART TWO - WLS & THE BEATLES (7:20) includes comments from Ron Riley and a montage of Beatle hits.

PART THREE - WLS COMMERCIAL FLUBS (5:50) features Fred Winston and weinies, Larry Lujack and Waterpik®, and JJ Jeffrey and The Chicago Symphony Orchestra. (This segment concluded with the WLS Montage. The 1984 WLS Montage can be heard here.)

PART FOUR - WLS & THE MUSIC PEOPLE (5:49) includes Roger Daltrey, Lindsey Buckingham, BTO, John Sebastian, Devo and Marvin Hamlisch. (This segment is not complete - it ends abruptly for the 7PM news - that's the way it was broadcast on 8/30/97.)

PART FIVE - WLS & THE PERSONALITIES (16:26) features Dick Biondi (On Top of a Pizza and the 3rd birthday show), Ron Riley, Dex Card, Jerry Kaye, Scotty Brink, Steve Lundy, JJ Jeffrey, Joel Sebastian, Bill Bailey (NOT "The Duke of Louisville"), Charlie Van Dyke, Bob Sirott, Yvonne Daniels, John Landecker, Larry Lujack, Steve Dahl and Gary Meier.

PART SIX - A WLS TIMELINE FOR A QUARTER CENTURY (6:23) is a classy montage of the sounds "between the music". Again, this segment is incomplete and was broadcast that way on 8/30/97. The closing credits are interrupted by the 7:30 news update, with a bulletin that Princess Diana had been "seriously injured" in an automobile accident in Paris - a unexpected reminder that even as radio honors its past, it cannot neglect its responsibility to the present.

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Chicken!

Dick Orkin

ChickenMania
In the Fall of 1996, Tim Benko contacted Dick Orkin of Dick Orkin's Radio Ranch and arranged to have a few CHICKENMAN episodes sent to REELRADIO.

Dick Orkin first created the Chickenman series for WCFL, Chicago, in 1967, at the urging of Program Director Ken Draper. A regular feature on Jim Runyon's morning show, Runyon was the series Announcer; Traffic Reporter Jane Roberts was Ms. Helfinger and the Masked Mother, and Orkin himself played the Police Commissioner and Our Hero, Chickenman. Since the 70's, the Chickenman series has been heard on more than 1500 U.S. radio stations, as well as overseas.

Orkin's unique and very funny radio advertising has earned him more than 165 Advertising and Radio awards. I'm happy to say that the old bird himself gave the go-ahead to include these prime cuts of chicken in the Windy City Airchicks collection. Thank You, Dick and Thank You, Tim!

All REELRADIO Chicken cuts are reproduced with permission and presented in G2 5.0 compatible

THE STORY OF CHICKENMAN — a CD collector's package which includes every episode and promo ever aired — is available from Dan O'Day.

Chickenmania 1-1 Costume Shop (2:07)
Chickenmania 1-2 First Day in the Office (2:15)
Chickenmania 1-3 Men's Brown Shoe (2:43)
Chickenmania 1-4 The Chicken Converter (2:52)
Chickenmania 1-5 The Irving (2:52)
Chickenmania 1-6 The Chicken Missile (2:23)
Chickenmania 1-7 Little Indians of America (2:51)
Chickenmania 1-8 Bus Incident (2:56)
Chickenmania 1-9 The Great Leap (2:31)
Chickenmania 1-10 Lost In Cave (2:40)

Be listening for more exciting episodes in the life of the most fantastic crime fighter the world has ever known...

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Additional Exhibits from
Tim Benko's Windy City Airchecks Collection...

Ray Otis, KXOK St. Louis, MO. November 9, 1967 (Part 2)
Larry Lujack Klunk Letter Composite #1, WCFL 1974
Larry Lujack, WLS Chicago, September 16, 1976
Fred Winston, WCFL Chicago, March 13, 1981
The Slim One Leslie Nelsen, WLS-FM Chicago, 1982
Jeff Hooker, WBBM-FM Chicago, September 26 1983
Ron Britain, Clark Weber, Ron Riley WJMK-FM Chicago, 1985
Stu Evans, Ron Britain, Jim Stagg, Barney Pip WJMK Chicago, 1985 Part One
Stu Evans, Ron Britain, Jim Stagg, Barney Pip WJMK Chicago, 1985 Part Two
Bob Sirott Discovers REELRADIO, WFLD-TV Chicago, April 10, 1997 (VIDEO)


The "Windy City" Aircheck Collection has been part of REELRADIO Since May 19, 1996.
REELRADIO thanks Tim Benko, who generously shared his aircheck treasures.

Reel Top 40 Radio Repository ©1996-2013 REELRADIO, Inc.