First owned by the Chess brothers, WVON became one of the few African-American-owned radio stations. Pervis Spann, the Blues man, was at the helm. His daughter, Melody Spann Cooper, eventually took the reins.
"It's not the fact that WVON has lasted this long and continues to, but the mission has always been community," Cliff Kelley, WVON personality, said.
A "who's who" of African American history has come through WVON. President Barack Obama even filled in for Cliff Kelley when he was state senator. On Friday, he called to offer congratulations.
"We really appreciate everything you've done. Obviously we miss Chicago and one of the things we miss is WVON," Obama said.
Herb Kent was one of the so-called "good guys" who calmed crowds during the West Side riots. He now teaches at Chicago State University.
"It was really a black power democratic thing. The station was so instrumental, bringing that voice the freedom to be heard. I was glad to part of that," Kent said.