Wednesday, August 23, 2006


Yvonne Daniels was known as “The First Lady of Chicago Radio,” Her silky smooth professional speaking voice garnered ratings wherever she worked. Her knowledge of jazz made her a listener favorite throughout America’s Midwest. Here's my favorite part: Most people outside of Chicago and across the country did not know Yvonne Daniels was Black.

She began on a local AM station in jacksonville, IL but for the life of me I cant figure out if its WLDS or WJIL... Yvonne appeared on the national radar when she moved to Chicago. She joined WYNR-AM to DJ a jazz show that competed with popular disc jockey Sid McCoy on WCFL-AM. WCFL couldn't take the pressure and at McCoy’s own urging WCFL-AM eventually hired Daniels. Within two years the duo was heard in 38 states. She stuck with that station until they went Top 40.

In 1964 Daniels picked up a spot at WSDM-AM one of the nation’s first all-female radio station. Her program Daniels’ Den consistently beat out the rest of Chicago radio in it's time slot. In 1973, she moved on to WLS-AM, a big 50,000-watt powerhouse, where she became the station’s first female disc jockey. WLS beat out WCFL for number one in Chicago that year and every year for years after. You can hear clips of her at WLS here:

During the 1980s, Daniels worked Chicago morning shows on WVON-AM, WGCI-AM and eventually on “Smooth Jazz WNUA.” Her career ran for more than three solid decades. Daniels is rightly credited with paving the way for future generations of both female radio personalities and specficly black women. She was a role-model and a blueprint. She died of cancer June 21, 1991. The city of Chicago named a downtown street in her honor.