Aug. 16 was the birthday of Purvis Spann "The Blues Man," and it was the day his daughter Melody Spann-Cooper, president and general of WVON, announced the expansion of the station to 24-hour broadcasting.
WVON radio has been a major entity in the African-American community since it began in 1963. The station was the home of the legendary "Good Guys" and a place where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., appeared with talk show host and partner Mr. Wesley South.
Effective Sept. 18, Midway Broadcasting will transfer WVON's talk format letters from 1450AM to 1690AM and be on the air 24 hours.
Spann-Cooper was able to negotiate a mega-deal with Clear Channel and will air around the clock, using the 1690 frequency at 10,000 watts. Under the terms, Clear Channel will own the 1690 frequency, but WVON will be responsible for all programming. Spann-Cooper will be able to purchase the station after the five-year lease agreement. WVON will still own the 1450 frequency, but Spann-Cooper has not decided what she will do with it, or if she will simulcast. FCC rules will only allow her to do up to six hours, according to an article in the Chicago Defender.
As a "guest" on The Cliff Kelley Show, Cooper stated, "This deal came along at the right time, and we were fortunate to put a product together enough for corporate to look at and say this is worth it, they can make it, they can do it and be successful."