WGN Radio adopts ‘Chicago’s Very Own’

This morning, WGN-AM 720 hosts and news anchors began using the new tagline, “Chicago’s Very Own.”  The iconic tagline, which has long been used by its television counterpart, WGN-TV Ch. 9, replaces the “Voice of Chicago,” which had been used on and off since 2005.

The change in taglines had long been expected. An Aug. 22 Chicago Tribune story detailing upcoming changes at the station confirmed that the new tagline would soon be implemented. Prior to that, there were a few other hints that the new tagline was coming.

A July 11 report by Robert Feder announcing WGN’s hiring of Bob Sirrott and Marianne Murciano included a quote by station President and General Manager Jimmy de Castro in which he identifies the station as “Chicago’s Very Own 720.” On July 22, WGN news anchors began using the “Chicago’s Very Own” tagline at the end of news reports, as originally noted that day by “RadioGeek” on the Chicagoland Radio & Media message board. That, however, was likely only a test roll-out, since anchors went back to using the “Voice of Chicago” the following day.

Previous use of the “Voice of Chicago” tagline was minimal (which was a shame), voiced at the top of the hour during the station’s legal identification. With the new tagline in place, gone is the familiar sounding four-second sounder used during the legal ID (though morning host Steve Cochran still used it with the new tagline just before the 6 a.m. newscast).

With the new sequence, the host are now saying “We are live, we are local, Chicago’s Very Own, 720 WGN Chicago,” before going to the news. The news anchors close their newscast with the tagline as well (though Judy Pielach was still using the old one during today’s “Bill and Wendy” show).

I liked the “Voice of Chicago” tagline. I thought it was perfect for a station having the luxury to brag that they are indeed live and local 24/7. While there is nothing wrong with “Chicago’s Very Own,” which has worked well for WGN-TV, the “Voice of Chicago” does a better job at signifying radio. It was simple and unique.

If one of the long-term goals is to better tie the radio and television stations together, then the sharing of a taglines makes sense (as if sharing call letters wasn’t enough), assuming the station makes an effort to use it more then they had the previous one.

With the new tagline now implemented, I think its fair to ask how far we are away from the station launching a new logo, as initially teased by Robert Feder in Aug. In addition to a new logo, one could also hope that a new and vastly improved website may be on its way to replace the clunky and half-assed one they now have.

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