Illinois General Assembly - Full Text of HR0201
Illinois General Assembly

Previous General Assemblies

Full Text of HR0201  98th General Assembly




HR0201LRB098 11587 GRL 43924 r


2    WHEREAS, The members of the Illinois House of
3Representatives wish to congratulate the owners and employees
4of the WVON radio station in Chicago on the occasion of the
5station's 50th anniversary in 2013; and
6    WHEREAS, WVON originated from the acquisition of
7WHFC-1450AM, a 1,000-watt station licensed in Cicero, by
8Leonard and Phil Chess, the owners of Chess Records, a
9successful record label, which produced mega-hits for local
10artists such as Muddy Waters, Lil' Howlin' Wolf, and others;
11the brothers envisioned one station that would pull together
12the best radio talent who could galvanize all of black Chicago;
14    WHEREAS, On April 1, 1963, WVON hit the airwaves in Chicago
15with a group of handpicked personalities, Franklin McCarthy, E.
16Rodney Jones, Herb Kent, Wesley South, and Pervis Spann, who
17eventually became known as "The Good Guys"; Ric Ricardo, Bill
18"Butterball" Crane, Ed Cook, Joe Cobb, Roy Wood, Ed Maloney,
19Bill "Doc" Lee, Don Cornelius, Richard Pegue, Isabel Joseph
20Johnson, Cecil Hale, and McKee Fitzhugh eventually joined the
21roster; under the direction of the station's general manager,
22Lucky Cordell, and its "Ambassador of Good Will", Bernadine C.
23Washington, the Good Guys held black Chicago captive for more



HR0201- 2 -LRB098 11587 GRL 43924 r

1than a decade and ranked consistently in the top 5 of the "most
2listened to" stations in the market; and
3    WHEREAS, The power of WVON soon went beyond the Chicago
4market; Berry Gordy, the founder of Motown Records, had a
5special arrangement with WVON that every song he produced would
6be sent immediately to WVON before any other station; WVON also
7served as the voice of information for local and national
8affairs; during the riots that followed the death of Dr. Martin
9Luther King, Jr., WVON on-air personalities were there to lift
10the spirits and ease the tension that had erupted in
11neighborhoods across the city; and
12    WHEREAS, Following the death of Leonard Chess in 1969, the
13Chess family decided to sell WVON to George Gillette and Potter
14Palmer, who formed Globetrotter Communications; in 1977,
15Globetrotter Communications sold WVON to the Gannett Company;
16in 1986, at the height of the black community's political
17involvement in Chicago, Wesley South, co-owner of WVON, opted
18to change the station's format to talk, providing Chicago with
19its first black-talk radio format; and
20    WHEREAS, WVON will celebrate its 50th anniversary with a
21two-day celebration on April 5-7, which will include the
22station's "IMPACT 50" Grand Gala; and



HR0201- 3 -LRB098 11587 GRL 43924 r

1    WHEREAS, For 40 years, WVON has been and remains the drum
2major for the African-American community of Chicago and
3continues its mission of providing a platform on which black
4Chicago can air its concerns, voice its differences, and
5discuss the issues that affect society; therefore, be it
8we congratulate the owners and employees of the WVON radio
9station on the occasion of the station's 50th anniversary and
10wish them continued success and happiness in the future; and be
11it further
12    RESOLVED, That a suitable copy of this resolution be
13presented to WVON as a symbol of our esteem and respect.