"WVON leads with service and excellence. Our history has proven who we are, our audiences are proof of who we are, and our team members reflect who we are."

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About Us

History

WVON 1690 is Chicago’s Urban Legacy Station. For decades, WVON’s massive influence has continuously positioned this media powerhouse as a leading institution for information and community empowerment. The station is credited with being a major player in electing Chicago’s first African-American mayor and played a pivotal role in the evolution of a young community activist who would become the President of the United States, Barack Obama.

A Powerhouse for Cultural Relevance

Our story began in 1963, with the debut of radio station WVON-The Voice of the Negro. Its owners were Leonard and Phil Chess, the founders of Chess Records. They were the first to assemble a radio station in Chicago specifically designed to serve the city’s growing Black community. WVON created a legendary group of radio personalities known as The Good Guys, who made WVON one of the top three stations in Chicago. The station became known nationwide as a powerhouse for cultural relevance and political activism.

 

The Legacy Continues

Midway Broadcasting Corporation was founded more than 40 years ago by two WVON legendary radio personalities, Wesley South and Pervis Spann, who eventually acquired WVON and joined an exclusive group of minority-owned broadcasters in the country.

Meet Our CEO

Melody Spann Cooper is Chairman of Midway Broadcasting Corporation, a best-in-class African-American-owned media boutique whose properties include radio and  digital platforms. The properties combine to provide niche programming to Chicago’s  thriving Black and Hispanic populations. As Chairman of Midway Broadcasting  Corporation, she joined an elite list of America’s female broadcast owners after  purchasing the company’s controlling interest in 1999. 

Midway Broadcasting properties include WVON 1690, the oldest Black-oriented radio  station in Chicago. With its urban talk format, the station is recognized nationally as a  leading source of information and community empowerment.

In 2007, Spann Cooper spearheaded the corporation’s expansion with WRLL 1450,  Chicago’s Home for Hispanic Independent Broadcasters. In fall 2020, the corporation  launched VON-tv, a digital streaming network reaching more than 100 million  households on ROKU and VON-tv.  

Spann Cooper’s other professional affiliations include Commissioner of the Illinois  Liquor Control Commission; Vice-Chair of the Illinois Broadcasting Association; Co-Chair of the Diversity and Inclusion Council for the Obama Library Foundation; Executive  Board Member of Chicago’s tourism board, Choose Chicago; Trustee of the Museum of  Science & Industry; Executive Committee Member of the Business Leadership Council;  Executive Board Member of The National Association of Black-Owned Broadcasters, and  Co-Founder of the Color Us Women Organization.  

Spann Cooper’s accomplishments in broadcast media have been recognized by  numerous organizations highlighting her achievements in leadership and  business. In addition, she recently added ‘author’ to her list of accomplishments with the release  of her first book, The Girlfriend’s Guide To Closing the Deal

Spann Cooper holds a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Criminal Justice from Loyola University of Chicago. She is married and the daughter of legendary radio personality  Pervis Spann “The Blues Man,” the co-founder of Midway Broadcasting Corporation. 

- OUR CEO IN THE NEWS -

Black & Powerful: Melody Spann Cooper, Midway Broadcasting Corporation Chairman & CEO

ABC 7 Chicago

May 22, 2021

 

Black Media Respond to Mayor Lightfoot Letter

Chicago Crusader

May 22, 2021

 

Our Chicago: Voices of the Community with ABC 7 Chicago’s Cheryl Burton, Explores Significance of the Election of Kamala Harris

Chicago Defender

November 18, 2020

 

Introducing VON.tv Digital TV Streaming Network with Culturally Relevant Original & Commercial Content

PR Newswire

October 1, 2020

 

Illinois Black-owned media coalition seeks bigger slice of $2 billion state advertising pie

Chicago Tribune

September 23, 2020

 

The Executive Leadership Council Seeks To Amplify The Success Of Black Professionals With 2020 Mid-Level Managers’ Symposium October 14-15

PR Newswire

September 17, 2020

 

Duckworth Joins Women’s Business Development Center to Discuss Intersection of Gender and Race in Government and Business

River Bender

August 6, 2020

 

Feder: WVON to add ‘enhanced news’ with Black Information Network

Daily Herald

July 16, 2020

 

Black Media Owners To America: ‘Actions, More Than Words’

Radio+Television Business Report

June 15, 2020

 

Kim Foxx shares the importance of voting at 4th annual L.E.G.A.C.Y. Awards Gala

Rolling Out

March 1, 2020

 

UChicago symposium focuses on business diversity in professional services

UChicago News

December 9, 2019

 

Chaka Khan lights up Chicago Urban League dinner

Chicago Tribune

November 8, 2019

 

Chicago Urban League flying high thanks to annual gala

Chicago Defender

November 8, 2019

 

CEO and owner of Chicago’s WVON radio station Melody Spann Cooper pens new book

Rolling Out

November 2, 2019

Come work with us

If you love media or are interested in using your skills to make a difference in Chicago, we might have the perfect opportunity for you to join our team. Come work in an energetic environment where you can develop professionally, make an impact, and have fun at the same time! Learn about our current opportunities below.

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