|Broadcast area||Chicago Metropolitan Area|
|Branding||AM 1160 WYLL|
|Slogan||Hope for Your Life|
|First air date||1924|
(night and aux. antenna)
|Former callsigns||WJJD (1924-1997)
|Owner||Salem Media Group
(Salem Media Group, LLC)
WYLL 1160 is a "Christian Talk & Teaching" radio station located in Chicago, Illinois and owned by Salem Communications. The Studios and offices are located in Elk Grove Village with Daytime transmitter facilities and four-tower array are located in Maine Township and Nighttime Transmitter facilities and six-tower array are located in Lockport. The station runs features, preaching, and other religious programs. Ministries may also buy time for programming. WYLL additionally produces a couple hours of local call-in shows every day. WYLL is a Class B AM radio station broadcasting on the clear-channel frequency of 1160 AM.
1160 was originally started in 1924 as WJJD. The station offered general entertainment programming before going through several music format changes. Baseball great Lew Fonseca broadcast Chicago Cubs games on WJJD during the 1939 and 1940 seasons. Plough Broadcasting bought WJJD in 1953. Ed Short was the station's sports director before becoming an executive with the Chicago White Sox in 1950.
Before 1980, the station broadcast during daylight hours only, until sunset in Salt Lake City, where a 50,000 watt clear-channel station, KSL, the dominant Class A station, is located. This would keep the station on the air for about one hour after local sunset in Chicago. In 1980, 1160 in Chicago began 24-hour operations. The coverage area of WYLL is considerably smaller during the nighttime hours than during the day; a directional antenna system is used at all times, with a two-tower array daytime and a six-tower array nighttime.
From June 1956 until February 1965, WJJD was a top 40 (popular music) station. At first it had no serious competition for the teenage rock 'n' roll audience. After WLS switched to the top 40 format in 1960, WJJD couldn't compete: WLS had a 50,000 watt clear channel signal vs. WJJD's 50,000 watts with a directional signal that protected KSL in Salt Lake City; WLS was on 24 hours a day, while WJJD signed on at 4:00 a.m. and off at anywhere from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. depending on the local sunset time in Salt Lake City ; and WLS had a better position on the AM radio dial (890) than WJJD (1160).
On February 15, 1965, WJJD became a country music station, which competed against WMAQ starting in the mid-1970s. WJJD's co-owned FM station WJEZ also played the same country music format. This musical genre continued until WJJD dropped the country music format in 1982 and adopted a syndicated adult standards format known as "Music Of Your Life". This format featured artists like Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Tommy Dorsey, Patti Page, The Four Aces, Mills Brothers, Perry Como, Glenn Miller, Sammy Davis Jr., Pat Boone, Jack Jones, The McGuire Sisters, Nat King Cole, and Artie Shaw. The format also featured a few songs by baby boomer artists like Elvis Presley, The Carpenters, Tony Orlando, etc.
In 1984, WJJD and WJEZ were sold to Infinity. WJEZ became Magic 104.3 and played oldies as WJMK. WJJD remained standards/easy listening, and in the late 1980s, added some evening sports programming. The station also began to mix in more soft adult contemporary cuts into the format. In 1993, WJJD added syndicated talk shows on late nights. The station also cut back on music during the day. On November 22, 1994, WJJD dropped easy listening altogether for full-time talk and sports format, with hosts including Ed Vrdolyak, Ty Wansley, Don & Mike, G. Gordon Liddy, Tom Leykis and Jim Bohannon. WJJD added Howard Stern in October 1995 (who would move to WCKG in July 1996). Ed Vrdolyak and Ty Wansley moved from mornings to replace Don and Mike in the afternoon. On July 29, 1996, WJJD would return to easy listening, though it would retain shows from Liddy and Leykis.
In 1997, Infinity would merge with CBS, now giving CBS AAA 93.1 WXRT, CHR/rhythmic WBBM-FM 96.3, Country WUSN 99.5, oldies 104.3 WJMK (owned by Infinity), talk/rock 105.9 WCKG, 70s oldies WYSY 107.9, talk WMAQ 670, all-news WBBM 780, sports WSCR 820, and talk/sports WJJD 1160.
CBS/Infinity was forced to sell 2 stations due to ownership limitations of no more than 5 of an AM or FM station, totally no more than 8. CBS sold their underperforming FM station WYSY to Spanish Broadcasting System (which flipped 107.9 to WLEY, "La Ley", in July 1997). WJJD kept evening sports programming, but dropped the talk shows and easy listening format to simulcast WJMK on February 3, 1997. CBS/Infinity kept 1160, but dropped the WJJD call letters in April. They moved the intellectual unit of WSCR -- which was also put on sale -- to AM 1160 on April 7th. (AM 820 was sold to Douglas Broadcasting and flipped to ABC's Personal Achievement Radio with some time-brokered motivational/inspirational programming (e.g., Les Brown) on weekends.)
When Viacom and CBS merged in 1999, the company needed to sell one station in Chicago; WSCR 1160 was chosen, with Salem Communications choosing to acquire the station. Although it was initially believed that WSCR's play-by-play teams and some sports shows would move to WMAQ 670, the new company instead decided to relocate the entire format. So, on August 1, 2000, Viacom signed off WMAQ's all news format (thereby leaving co-owned WBBM 780 as the only all-news formatted station in Chicago) and WMAQ began simulcasting WSCR under the branding 670 The Score. Two weeks later, the intellectual property of WSCR officially moved to WMAQ's dial position, retiring the long-standing WMAQ call letters on 670 in the process. The 1160 frequency then began a short period of simulcasting 93.1 WXRT before the sale of 1160 to Salem was finalized.
In February 2001, Salem relocated the intellectual property of WYLL 106.7 (now WPPN) to the 1160 frequency. Moving the format to 1160 cleared the Des Plaines-licensed 106.7 for a new format, and Salem chose to utilize their successful contemporary Christian music "Fish" format, creating WZFS 106.7 "The Fish".