Chuck Norman started his radio career in 1948 as a late-night disc jockey where he made money selling time on his own show. Three years later he moved to WIL.
Five or so years into that gig, he left the market for a year but returned and put WGNU (Granite City) on the air in 1961. In 1965, he added WGNU-FM, claiming it was the first radio station to broadcast country music in stereo. He sold the FM in 1978.
The AM format was switched to talk in 1977 and the station was later dubbed “Radio Free St. Louis” developing its audience by featuring non-mainstream hosts.
Through his entire life, Norman maintained ownership of the station, which, in his later years, gave him the distinction of being the only original sole-owner left in the St. Louis market.
In addition, he held an annual holiday party every year starting in 1976 to benefit the area’s needy families.