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WHPK: The First Chicago Hip Hop Radio Station

WHPK: The First Chicago Hip Hop Radio Station

June, 09, 2011 by: Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , 1 Comments

Since 1968, WHPK has been spinning original and underground hits while featuring many of Chicago’s most aspiring music artists. Broadcasting to the South Side of Chicago, including Hyde Park and Kenwood, two neighborhoods most recognized for its hip hop history, it still operates as a non-profit, community radio station at the University of Chicago. WHPK has been focusing on exploiting more underground music of the Jazz, International, Folk, Hip Hop, Rock, Classical, and Blues genres. For over 50 years, WHPK has gone through deejays, emcees, and various transformations, and yet has still made its mark in Chicago hip hop history.

The history of WHPK begins way back in 1922 when the University of Chicago collaborated with the Radio Office, a group of researchers and engineers dedicated to establishing the new medium of radio technology. In 1931, the Radio Office started its very first production:  ”The University of Chicago Round Table,” which featured University professors discussing important issues. Two years later, NBC bought “The Round Table” and broadcast it throughout the nation until 1955.

In 1946, the University of Chicago created its own radio station, WUCB, which was founded by students who had just returned from World War II and had gained experience with radio in the military. WUCB was a carrier current station, meaning that it used low frequency and broadcast over a small area. This type of station costs very little and is easy to start up. When WUCB first arose, it was located at the Burton-Judson Courts on 60th Street, but in 1959, it moved to Mitchell Tower on 57th street where it currently resides, only as WHPK.

WHPK 88.5 FM Chicago

In 1968, WUCB turned into the new FM station, WHPK. The “HPK” in WHPK stands for Hyde Park Kenwood. It became known for playing music that was not heard on other radio stations. DJ J.P. Chill started one of the first rap shows in the nation in 1986, and he continues to have considerably one of the best rap shows out there. J.P. Chill is now the hip hop/rap format chief for WHPK.  Some of Kanye West‘s firsts rhymes were recorded in the WHPK studio during his early career. Common and Rhymefest, two other notable Chicago hip hop artists, were frequently featured on WHPK as well, and Pugs Atomz is now a deejay for the station. He, along with deejays KMax and Thaione Davis, started CTA Radio in 2000, which has been a source for new, underground hip hop/rap music.

Listen to the rap deejays of WHPK on 88.5 FM every Wednesday through Sunday, and come back next week for another new Throwback Thursday!

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Share and Enjoy:
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One Response

06.09.11

Back in ’86, there was K-Love, (who I believe predates ’86), JP Chill, and Lady Fresh. DJ Quickhands and I used to Hit the station on Saturdays during Lady Fresh’s show and freestyle on air. Quick actually became the Saturday DJ I would provided some freestyle, crews were welcome to come up and get some air time and even battle. This was at a time when if you weren’t mainstream, the locals like ‘GCI and ‘Bmx would give you no run at all. We introduced the city to BDP, Salt n Pepa, Dougie Fresh and Slick Rick, Native Tongues, as well as NWA, Wu Tang, Mobb Deep, and local cats like Common and Twista.

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