WVON Radio Station

3350 S Kedzie Ave.

When Leonard and Phil Chess launched AM radio station WVON (which stood for “Voice of the Negro”) in 1963, they initially thought that it would be a vehicle to promote their own Chess Records’ products. But soon enough this 24-hour station became a crucial broadcaster for blues and R&B records from across the country. This was the station that often made the hits. Larger than life on-air personalities Herb Kent, E. Rodney Jones, Bernadine C. Washington and Pervis Spann also responded to the community that followed them. As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. brought the Civil Rights movement to Chicago, WVON was a crucial forum for Black activists and community leaders. After Leonard Chess’ death in 1969, Globetrotter Communications took over WVON. Midway Corporation bought the station in 1977 and it switched to a talk format in 1986. The station moved from this location to E. 87th Street in 2007.


– A.C. 


Caption: Former location of WVON Radio Station.

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