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.