Robert Rutherford “Colonel” McCormick was the Editor and Publisher of the Chicago Tribune. By the early 1920s, he was fascinated with radio and arranged a demonstration for his mother. Under his leadership, the Chicago Tribune not only became involved in the early development of radio broadcasting to the general population but took a leadership position.
McCormick’s comments were regularly heard over WGN’s airwaves, including during Theater of the Air broadcasts beginning in 1940. He guided WGN in its “adventure into television” in the 1940s. Col. McCormick was also involved in other innovations, including a 1946 experiment with sending a “fax” via a broadcast signal.
About WGN, he said: “We decided that at all cost WGN must be a Chicago station, not the Chicago outlet of a New York network. We determined that a great radio station must be created in Chicago, the gateway city between East and West, through which pass the nation’s artists. It may be to accomplish our ideals, we shall have to make Chicago the radio center of America. In any event, by means of its electrical facilities, its studio equipment, its central location for obtaining artists, and, above all, by its independence, WGN will be the outstanding station of America.”