The iUniverse author, Stew Cohen, one of the pioneers of request radio in the early seventies, has brought those heady days of radio to life in his book, The WYEN Experience. Des Plaines, Chicago based WYEN radio station initiated the phenomenon, as we now know it today of request radio, interacting with the station’s listeners and creating the radio station you could talk to.
As the station grew it attracted quite a crew of announcers who moved on to be familiar and colorful personalities across radio land. The likes of Bill Elliott, John Zur, Val Stouffer, Bruce Davis, Chris Devine, Dan Diamond, Cindy Bravos, Louie Parrott, Bob Roberts and Garry Meier, to name a few; also last and not least the author himself, Stew Cohen.
Now News Director at Star 105.5 radio out of Crystal Lake, Stew recently reminisced about his time at WYEN and his lifetime in radio with leading local community magazine, McHenry County Living.
iUniverse Rising Star author, Stew Cohen, waxes lyrical about radio presenting
“Request Radio is Born
The Walters’ built their studio, erected their tower, and on December 3, 1971, through the voice of Ray Smithers, Ed’s dream came to fruition. His dream filled the air via the studio monitors and transmitter radiating out of the WYEN tower, and magically reached into thousands of homes in Cook, Lake and McHenry counties, and beyond.
At midnight, Gil Peters began the all-night program. Being the first broadcast, friends and family began calling in, requesting he play songs for them. It was during that midnight shift, as the phone rang off the hook, that request radio was born. Like a one-man band, Peters answered the phone, wrote down requests, searched for and spun the records (yep, those big, round, flat things), reported the news and read commercials. Through those many calls, WYEN got to know its listeners — many who became not just listeners, but friends of WYEN. WYEN became the station you could talk to.”…………………..