GOLDEN GIFT Our thanks to John Rhodes for this Golden Gift.
Nearly 8 hours of unforgettable radio history was captured on the single 7-inch reel tape contributed by John, which was recorded at 1-7/8 IPS. The original tape was carefully transferred to digital media in hour-long segments. The segments were combined for this presentation.
WLS BIG 89 OF 1969 Art Roberts,
Larry Lujack,
and Chuck Buell
are heard in this amazing recording of WLS, Chicago on January 1, 1970.
[Description by Uncle Ricky]

REELRADIO transferred the reel tape to digital media in 2001. No noise reduction or subtractive filtering was used. There are no frequencies above 10Khz in this recording, which included authentic, low-level background whistle and noise. There are some speed variances, dropouts and flutter as well, and other limitations of 1970 technology. Despite these infrequent imperfections, we think you will find this to be a very enjoyable exhibit. For our 2008 presentation, we returned to the original digital archive and applied some hiss reduction, notched out some hum and whistles, and processed the presentation version with our Optimod PC-1100.
The Big 89 of 1969 was originally broadcast on January 1, 1970, by WLS in Chicago. It was first presented here over the 2001-2002 New Year's Holiday. It was a marvelous and memorable exhibit. It broke all records. It was a remarkable chance to return to that day and time. Since then, we have repeated this special five times, on January 1 and 3, 2004, January 1, 2007, January 1, 2008 and for a 40th Anniversary presentation on January 1, 2010.

As for this historic aircheck: On the first day of 1970, no Chicago radio station out-rated John Rook's WLS. The station was number one in all Pulse and Arbitron books with a total audience of 4.2 million listeners each week. This one-of-a-kind recording begins just after 1PM with Art Roberts warming up for the Countdown. At 2PM, Larry Lujack enumerates from 89 through 32. At 6:10PM, Chuck Buell picks it up at #31 and takes it home to Hit #1. (An additional half-hour of Chuck follows the countdown).

The recording ends just after 8:30PM Chicago time, but not before Howard Cossell and Chuck Leonard are heard on the ABC network, along with ABC Contemporary news. One of the Public Service Announcements in the ABC newscasts on New Year's Day spotlights the late Rod Serling with an anti-marijuana spot. (Serling died in 1975 of a heart attack.) WLS news talent is featured, including an expanded report by Charles Scott. There's a news cameo by Ross Perot, classic "The Chicago Giant" production PLUS an ABC newscast by Lyle Dean, lots of PAMS acapellas, Viewpoint from VP & GM Gene Taylor, and the WLS Bridal Fair. Every hour ID has a celebrity greeting, too!

This was some of the biggest big-time Top 40 radio in America, ever.

This EXCLUSIVE New Year's Special was available from approximately 9PM December 29, 2001 until 5:55PM (PT) on Tuesday, January 1, 2002. It was one of our most popular one-time specials and we received many requests to make it available again.

We were pleased to stream encore performances on Thursday, January 1, 2004, on Saturday, January 3, 2004, Monday January 1, 2007, and Tuesday, January 1, 2008. On Friday, January 1, 2010, AIRCHECK CHANNEL featured a Special 40th Anniversary presentation. Here are comments from that event.

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