WLS Radio and Sears Roebuck

What is the connection between the famed Chicago radio station – WLS – and Sears Roebuck?

In 1924, WLS began life as a promotional tool for Sears. In fact, WLS stands for “World’s Largest Store.”

On April 9, 1924, Sears own radio station signed on with 500 watts, with offices on the 11th floor of the Sears 14-story “skyscraper” at Homan and Arthington Street in downtown Chicago.

In 1925, the front pages of the Sears Roebuck catalog promised that, “WLS was conceived in your interests, is operated in your behalf and is dedicated to your service.”

It was a short-lived experiment for Sears. Four years after its creation, WLS was sold to the Prairie Farmer Magazine. The studios were moved to the Prairie Farmer Building  (also in downtown Chicago).  In 1960, WLS was sold to the American Broadcasting Company (ABC).

Click here to learn more about the history of WLS.

Hey, is that a Sears House? Click here to learn more about identifying kit homes.


In 1925, Sears published its first employee newsletter, known simply as "WLS" (World's Largest Store). Inside the newsletter was a detailed account of The Kelly Family buying and building their own kit home.


To read more about the Kelly’s kit home, click here.

To buy Rose’s newest book, click here.

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  1. Debbie

    It does have an interesting history, doesn’t it! WLS is still on the air in Chicago. It used to be Top 40. WLS certainly has changed alot over the years.

  2. Sears Homes

    Debbie, a million years ago, there was a DJ named “Jeff Davis,” and I thought he had the most beautiful voice in the whole world. I was a 13-year-old groupie (sp?) and one day he left WGH (here in Norfolk) to go to WLS. I always wondered what became of him! (This would have been about 1972.)

  3. Sears Homes

    Oh my gosh, Debbie that IS him!! It says he came to WLS in 1974, so I was just a couple years off! My oh my, he looks so old now! 🙂

  4. Debbie

    LOL! I used to listen to him. Those were the good old days.