Zenith Radio Station

Does MPHS have photographs: Yes

Address: Central Road and Rand Road

Is building standing: No

What is at site: Mount Prospect Plaza

When was business founded: 1924

Is business still operating: No. Closed 1970s

Who owned business: Zenith Corporation

Interesting stories, facts, history:

Mount Prospect used to be home to a pair of radio towers and an early broadcasting station. The Zenith towers operated from 1924 through the 1970s. Zenith built the towers in Mount Prospect to broadcast into Chicago and to all the farmers and small towns northwest of the city. Much of early broadcast radio was done live and this station was no different. Bands would come out to the station from Chicago and around the country to play in the broadcasting station. Some very famous musicians from the big band era played in Mount Prospect. For years these towers were the tallest things in Mount Prospect and could be seen for miles. There was a small broadcasting station in between the towers that was also the home of the Zenith employee that ran the station. Gilbert Gustafson was the first station manager for WJAZ who lived in the station with his family from around 1925 through 1935. In the 1920s, radio was in its infancy. Because this area was still mostly farms and there were only a few radio stations broadcasting, there was little interference and on a clear day you could pick up radio stations from hundreds of miles away. Unfortunately, because the radio signals were much weaker, on a day with wind, rain or clouds you could only pick up the most local stations.

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