About WGN TV

On September 13, 1946, WGN Incorporated—a subsidiary of the Chicago Tribune Company, headed at the time by Robert R. McCormick, editor and publisher of the Chicago Tribune and owner of local radio stations WGN (720 AM) and WGNB (98.7 FM; frequency now occupied by WFMT)—submitted an application to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for a construction permit to build and license to operate a television station on VHF channel 9. (WGN representatives had to amend the application to use channel 9 after realizing that the initial application listed VHF channel 4, which had already been assigned to Balaban and Katz Broadcasting for the fledgling WBKB-TV, as the allocation for the proposed station.) After the FCC awarded the permit to WGN Inc. on November 8, the group originally requested to assign WGNA as the station's call letters; by January 1948, however, the company decided to call its new television property, WGN-TV. The three-letter base callsign – obtained by Tribune in 1924 for the former WDAP radio station (upon its purchase from Zenith-Edgewater Beach Broadcasting) by permission of the owners of the then-under-construction SS Carl D. Bradley and used in modified form for WGNB from November 1945 until the FM station ceased operations in May 1953 – refers to "World's Greatest Newspaper," which the Tribune first used in a February 1909 feature commemorating the 100th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's birth and served as the newspaper's motto from August 29, 1911 until December 31, 1976.

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