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Iconic WVON Chicago Turning 50


WVON-AM in Chicago is the oldest black-oriented radio station in the city. With its Urban Talk format, the station is well-known as a source of information and community empowerment. WVON will celebrate 50 years serving the African-American community with an April 1 on-air retro day tribute that will have listeners believing theyre listening to the station the way it sounded back in the 60s. And, on April 6, Radio One Chairperson Cathy Hughes, performer Toni Braxton, Dick Gregory, and many others will head to Chicago to celebrate five decades of WVON at the Chicago Theatre.

Meloday Spann-Cooper is chairman of Midway Broadcasting and president of WVON. Cooper is a visionary, and the only woman to hold these positions in the third-largest radio market in the country. She joined an elite list of female broadcast owners in 1999, when she purchased the companys controlling interest. Her positive personality, drive to win, and commitment to WVON and the black community make it easy to understand why so many people love working with her and root for her to succeed.

Cooper talks about being part of such a historic radio station. There are not many stations that can say theyve been a voice for Martin Luther King and a young Barack Obama,she says. People understand that heritage. They understand that history. Especially in an environment where Urban radio has suffered tremendously. Many of your heritage stations no longer exist, so WVONs survival becomes more important. I think thats why we get to 50 and people are energized and excited to celebrate it.

While the format has changed from music to Talk, WVON has built a loyal, incredible base of listeners in Chicago. People respect the station and they look to it for information about whats going on in the community. And Cooper says that, at the end of the day, she wants listeners to be just a little bit smarter after listening to WVON. I mean that literally, she says. If they dont learn something at the end of the day by listening to us, if they are not given something thats going to help them live better lives, thats going to help them with their Social Security, help them understand whats going on with ObamaCare, then we havent done a very good job. At that point, we are just another station talking. We really want to empower people.

Reach out to Melody Span-Cooper to congratulate her on 50 great radio years at WVON

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