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The predecessor to WGN was WDAP, which signed on the air on May 19, 1922, and was founded by Thorne Donnelley and Elliott Jenkins.Originally based in the Wrigley Building, the station moved its operations to the Drake Hotel in July.After a dispute with the station in 1927, Gosden and Correll took the program's concept and announcer Bill Hay across town to WMAQ (670 AM) and created the first syndicated radio show, Amos 'n' Andy.WGN served as a founding member of the Mutual Broadcasting System.The station played small amounts of music during the mornings and afternoon hours, moderate amounts of music on weekends during the day, aired midday and evening talk shows, and sports among other features.The station aired middle of the road (MOR) music until the 1970s, when its switched to more of an adult contemporary-type sound.The Sousa Archives and Center for American Music at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign holds the WGN Radio Station Studio Orchestra Music Library and Records, 1925–1956, which consists of scripts, programs, production notes, correspondence, music library rental records, sheet music manuscripts, and music scores with annotations that document the WGN Studio Symphonic Orchestra from 1925 to 1956.WGN continues to recover from the controversial rule of former Tribune head Randy Michaels, who resigned under pressure in 2010 amid allegations of inappropriate and sexist behavior in the workplace, and former WGN Program Director Kevin Metheny.
WGN is a clear channel Class A station operating with the maximum AM Radio power of 50,000 watts, using a non-directional antenna.
On April 30, 2008, the station entered into a three-year deal to broadcast Chicago Blackhawks hockey games through the 2010–2011 season.
In October 2008, WGN-TV began to provide forecasts for WGN radio (prepared by Tom Skilling and other members of the sister television station's weather staff), after it ended a ten-year forecast partnership with The Weather Channel.
In 1961, the WGN radio and television stations moved to a studio facility on West Bradley Place in the North Center neighborhood, a move undertaken for civil defense concerns in order to provide the station a safe base to broadcast in case of a hostile attack targeting downtown Chicago.
WGN radio moved back to North Michigan Avenue in 1986, relocating its operations to a studio in the Pioneer Court extension (WGN-TV remained at the Bradley Place facility, where that station operates to this day).