H. Leslie Atlass

Radio and television broadcast pioneer H. Leslie Atlass began his career in 1911 when he and. his brother, Ralph, began operating an amateur radio station.

But, in 1915, the station had to cease operations during World War I at the request of the government. Then in 1921, the brothers resumed operations with an amateur license and a 200 watt vacuum tube transmitter.

In 1923, the brothers applied for and were granted a license to use the same transmitter as a commercial broadcasting station, and were allocated the radio frequency of 1,300 kHz and assigned the the station's current call sign WBBM, which then stood for World's Best Battery Maker. In later years, alternate meanings "We Broadcast Better Music" and "We Broadcast Broadmoor Music," were created.

The Atlass Brothers sold their battery company in 1924 to devote their full attention to WBBM, and moved to Chicago that same year. They then set up WBBM in the basement of their home at 7421 N. North Sheridan Road.

A year later, in 1925, studios were built on the main floor of the Broadmoor Hotel at Howard Street and Bosworth Avenue and the transmitter was installed on the roof. At the same time, the power of the station is increased to 1,500 watts.

February 1926 saw WBBM's power being increased again, this time to 10,000 watts with the frequency remaining at 1330 KC. Then on June 1, 1927, WBBM was authorized to change its frequency to 770 kHz and to operate with a radiated power of 25,000 watts. Later the same month, the transmitter was moved to Glenview, IL. which allowed space for the construction of a proper antenna tower.

WBBM became a charter CBS affiliate in 1928. The new network liked what it saw in the station, and bought a controlling interest in 1929.

Leslie and Ralph also founded Chicago radio station WIND and held an interest in Chicago radio station WJJD.

Leslie assumed management of WBBM-TV Ch. 2, when CBS purchased ownership from Balaban & Katz, for $6 million.

In 1954, CBS bought the Chicago Arena, 630 McClurg Court for $1.5 million and spent $6 million remodeling it. When the remodeling was completed in 1956, the former arena became the Chicago base for the CBS network's radio and television operations.


John Coughlin

Coughlin's first job was working for a small radio station in Alton, Illinois, where he lived in a dingy boarding house with the station's other disc jockeys. After about a year in Alton, Coughlin worked for a variety of radio stations in Chicago. He joined WBBM-TV in 1953, working mostly on children's programs.

Pressed into service as a weatherman after one of the station's meteorologists, Roy Allred, took ill just before a broadcast. Later, after Allred quit, Coughlin was asked to become the station's interim meteorologist, even though by his own admission, he knew nothing about the subject. No replacement ever was found, however, and after eight months of filling in, Coughlin was given the job on a full-time basis. Coughlin then began studying meteorology—even hiring a tutor from the University of Chicago.

In July 1976, WBBM demoted Coughlin, who by that point was the station's top weather forecaster, to be a staff announcer and replaced him with part-time actor Tom Alderman, who also had been a public relations professional for then-Illinois Gov. Dan Walker. The station received more than 10,000 letters of protest from viewers, and eventually restored Coughlin in February 1977 to his previous job and apologized on the air.

Coughlin retired from WBBM-TV in August 1989. "I cannot think of a thing that I would have done differently," Coughlin told the Chicago Tribune at the time of his retirement. "I've been so lucky. I was at the right place at the right time several times in my life. I had no idea I'd be the weatherman when I started out." Couglin died on February 17, 2001.

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Bruce DuMont

Bruce DuMont (born June 18, 1944) is an American broadcaster and political analyst based in Chicago, Illinois. He is the host of Beyond the Beltway, a syndicated talk radio show that airs on approximately 30 stations around the United States. The program, which began in 1980 as Inside Politics, also aired a televised version on Chicago's secondary PBS station, WYCC, from 1996 to 2017, when WYCC went off the air.

DuMont got his start in broadcasting as a producer for WGN 720 AM in 1968. He interrupted his radio career to make an unsuccessful run for a seat in the Illinois Senate in 1970, then returned to WGN, this time as a producer for Howard Miller, a controversial radio personality. DuMont gained his first on-air radio experience at WLTD, now WCGO, in Evanston, Illinois, a 1,000-watt AM station at the time. It was at WLTD that he became nationally known for his investigative reporting on subjects such as Watergate and the CIA.

He then began to focus on producing news and documentaries for local television. A documentary about teenage suicides for WBBM-TV earned him an Iris Award from the National Association of Television Programming, while another documentary, this one about censorship in public libraries, earned him the Golden Gavel Award from the American Bar Association. He then worked as a producer for Chicago's primary PBS station, WTTW, heading up its broadcasts of the 1983 mayoral debates between Mayor Jane Byrne and her challengers, Richard M. Daley and Harold Washington. DuMont also produced WTTW's Chicago Tonight, and his on-camera work began in 1984 as the program's anchor for both the Republican National Convention and Democratic National Convention.

DuMont is the founder and former president of the Museum of Broadcast Communications, which began development in 1982. The MBC relocated to a new location at 360 N. State St. on June 13, 2012. In August 2016, DuMont announced that he planned to retire as the museum's president.


Richard Reinauer

Richard was Associate Producer/Director of Mutual of Omaha's "Wild Kingdom".

He served in the Marine Corps as a dog trainer and scout in WW II with the War Dog Unit in the South Pacific. He was a raconteur, master story teller and collector of friendships. Richard Reinauer died on Dec. 6, 2008. He is survived by his wife, Kathryn Moffatt; and twin daughters, Eve Flor and Regina Israel.

Jerry K. Rose

Rose is the writer and host of Journey, a faith based teaching television series, the host of On Screen, a Hollywood produced celebrity interview series, and Significant Insights, a weekly interview show on the TLN network.

Rose has served on the Executive committee of the National Religious Broadcasters and as its president for three years. He is the author of five books including Significant Living: A Roadmap for the Rest of Your Life and Deep Faith for Dark Valleys.

“Jerry Rose is a forward thinking man with a clear vision of reaching and adding value to the people he serves given the changes in the broadcast industry. With his charismatic personality, Rose is the type of leader that will make you think, believe, and feel like the most important person when in conversation with him”, shares District 30 Governor Srinivas Saineni of Toastmasters International.


Carole Simpson

Award winning journalist Carole Estelle Simpson was born on December 7, 1940, in Chicago, Illinois. Simpson became involved in drama in elementary school and high school, training her at a young age to articulate and project her voice for television and radio. In 1958, Simpson graduated from high school and attended the University of Illinois. After attending the University of Illinois for two years, Simpson transferred to the University of Michigan where she graduated in 1962 with her B.A. degree in journalism; she was the only black journalism major in her graduating class. While pursuing her B.A. degree, Simpson received her first media experience by working at a community newspaper during her summer breaks.

After graduating from college, Simpson was hired as a journalism instructor and publicist at the Tuskegee Institute in Tuskegee, Alabama; she held this position for two years before becoming a graduate student at the University of Iowa, where she chose broadcast media over print journalism. In 1965, Simpson returned to Chicago to become the first woman to broadcast news in the city’s history when she was hired at WCFL Radio. In 1968, Simpson changed stations and began working for Chicago’s WBBM Radio as a news reporter and anchor. While working for Chicago’s WBBM, Simpson covered the Civil Rights Movement and the Chicago Seven conspiracy trial. She also served as a commentator for the public affairs series Our People until 1970. After working for WBBM, Simpson became Chicago’s first black female television reporter, while working for the NBC affiliate, WMAQ-TV. While working as a journalist in Chicago, Simpson also taught journalism courses at Northwestern University.

In 1974, Simpson was hired as a Washington, D.C. correspondent for the NBC Nightly News. In 1982, Simpson joined ABC News as a correspondent and covered then-Vice President George H.W. Bush on his domestic and foreign trips. She also went on to cover his 1988 presidential campaign. In 1986, Simpson reported live from the Philippine Islands on the fall of the country’s president, Ferdinand Marcos. In 1988, she was hired as a Sunday news anchor for ABC’s World News Tonight. In 1992, Simpson was the first woman and minority to ever moderate a presidential debate held at the University of Richmond between George H.W. Bush, Ross Perot and then Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton; the debate was also the first to be held in the town hall meeting format. For ABC’s Nightline, Simpson covered the release from prison of South African civil rights leader Nelson Mandela after twenty-seven years for his anti-apartheid activities; while covering the story, she was beaten by a South African police officer. Throughout the 1990s, Simpson reported on several breaking news stories including the controversial Clarence Thomas-Anita Hill hearings, the Oklahoma City bombing, and the Senate impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton.

Simpson ended her career as a weekend ABC anchor in 2003, but had a contract with the network until 2005. Simpson became the ambassador for the network, traveling throughout the country and speaking in schools. Simpson’s new role consisted of visiting public schools to help students make a sense of the changing media landscape; she launched the program at her old high school in Chicago. Simpson has established six scholarships for women and minorities majoring in journalism at the post-secondary level. In 2007, Simpson was hired as Leader in Residence at Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts.