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99.9 WBUS - The Bus / Kankakee, IL

WBUS (99.9 The Bus) – Kankakee, IL – 7/27/96

“Discover America’s Hit Music…the Bus, WBUS.”

Offering a unique name and an even more interesting playlist, WBUS was an interesting Mainstream CHR station that originated in Kankakee, IL but could be heard in parts of Chicago (about an hour to the North.) Researching the history of this station, it was considered very Rhythmic given its rural roots. It was also apparently a huge success financially — yet, only about a month after this aircheck was recorded, the station changed its format following a sale to a Spanish-language broadcaster.

A couple years later, the Bus returned to 100.7 FM with the WBVS calls and had approximately a five-year run on that frequency.

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11 Comments

  1. Michael Hart is the jock here. His real name is Doug Johnson, he later ended up at WJMK-Chicago doing oldies on weekends. Also Doug’s wife was Margo Johnson, who did middays at WLIT-Chicago.

    Later in the aircheck, is RIgg Chicoye who was filling in for PD Mick Milner. Rigg normally did the evening shift.

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  2. Thanks to whoever posted this! I was a freshman in high school and it brings back a lot of memories. This station although in the far south suburbs had one of the most powerful signals in all of northern IL. The Milner family took a good offer for it (even though it was making money as stated) and the rest is history.

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  3. I’m not sure where this aircheck came from because there are “drops” that wouldn’t have been on a regular aircheck tape. Either way, I’m humored to hear this oldie floating around the cyberspace.

    The Milner family moved from S. Florida to Kankakee, Illinois to open “The Bus” and now I’ve moved from Illinois to S. Florida (out of radio). Thanks for the blast from the past.

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    • Thanks for the info! I obtained this aircheck from a friend about 15 years ago. It’s the only one I have of the original “Bus”; I have one or two of the WBVS 100.7 version that appeared later.

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  4. BACK IN THE 70’S I USED TO LISTEN TO THIS RADIO STATION. DOES ANYONE REMEMBER ADS FOR HINEY BEER? WITH A CATCH PHRASE KEEP YOUR HANDS OFF MY HINEY BEER.

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  5. Previous to the WBUS and Milner’s ownership, the station’s call letters were WBYG, “The Big One”, featuring album oriented rock music. I recall that the station often featured rock singles months before they became mainstream hits…The Knack’s “My Sharona” comes to mind.

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  6. Does anyone remember back in the 80s when 99.9 was called FM America? I remember them playing a lot of music you wouldn’t hear on any other stations and I listened to it all the time back then. A lot of canadian music was played it seemed but I can’t find any info anywhere on the internet about it. Rare artists like Van Stephenson and Idle Eyes were often played. Always wondered what the story was behind it.

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  7. Gene Milner Broadcasting had great success with the AOR Format at WSHE/Miami-Ft Lauderdale.

    They purchased WBYG in Kankakee which was also AOR. The concept of PD Tommy Judge (Milner) was FM America. Once Tommy died, it was decided to switch to CHR, which the Milner’s also had success stories with in Flint, Des Moines and Ft. Lauderdale.

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    • Thanks for the info Don!

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  8. Wow, this bring back memories. I was a listener from southern Newton Co, IN
    The Bus was a fantastic radio station. It was a shame when sold and “shut down”. Great DJs like Rigg and Michael Hart had great voices/personalities and were enjoyable to listen to. A nice variety of music covering many tastes which I took for granted then.
    Why is it so hard to get great radio stations these days?
    Thanks for posting the air check and all the additional comments above.

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    • I would agree 100% with this. We were from downstate Illinois (Decatur), and would routinely listen to this station when motoring up I-57 to see family in Chicago. The variety of music was great! It’s a shame that this is the only archived audio. I would love to know if there is more floating around in cyberspace!

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