Celebration tunes in to Chicago radio’s good old days
Chicago’s incomparable contribution to the Golden Age of Radio and its role in defining the medium throughout the 1940s and ’50s will be celebrated with a live remote broadcast this weekend and a month-long salute on Those Were the Days.
The voices of legendary Chicago personalities Paul Harvey, Studs Terkel, Mike Wallace, Hugh Downs and Art Hellyer will be showcased on the four-hour special Saturday along with such seminal programs as The National Barn Dance, radio's first country music showcase, and Destination Freedom, one of the earliest shows to focus on African-American history.
Originating from the new home of the Museum of Broadcast Communications, 360 North State Street, the remote on Those Were the Days will be presented in conjunction with 175 Days to Love Chicago, the Chicago Office of Tourism’s marketing campaign to commemorate the 175th anniversary of the founding of the city.
A weekly radio fixture since 1970, Those Were the Days airs from 1 to 5pm Saturdays on the College of DuPage’s WDCB-FM (90.9) and streams online at wdcb.org. Steve Darnall, the show’s host and producer, said Chicago’s 175th celebration seemed like an appropriate time to honor Windy City radio.
"In addition to producing and honing some outstanding and groundbreaking talents — including those from whom we'll hear this Saturday — Chicago radio gave birth to soap operas and juvenile adventure shows, and did a lot to bring both country music and jazz to a national audience,” Darnall said. “We're delighted to put the spotlight on those people and shows — be they internationally famous or locally obscure — who made Chicago radio so important and entertaining during the medium's early years."
Later in August, Those Were the Days will feature such iconic local voices as Franklyn MacCormack, Fahey Flynn, Wally Phillips, Don McNeill, Fran Allyson, Eddie Hubbard, John Doremus and Jay Andres, as well as the last broadcast from Chicago of Fibber McGee and Molly and an episode of Chicago Theater of the Air featuring an address by Col. Robert McCormick, publisher of the Chicago Tribune and founder of WGN.
Tickets for the event Saturday are available for $12 online at museum.tv.