6a – 10a Saturday, 7a – 10a Sunday
Jeff Davis is one of the heritage voices of WLS with a career at WLS spanning 41 years. "When I came to WLS in 1974, it was a dream come true. I listened to WLS as a kid," Jeff remembered. Jeff's journey from college radio at Virginia Commonwealth University transitioned to his first paid job in Mobile, Alabama. After a two year stint in Mobile, Jeff moved to a station in Washington, D.C., then WGH AM in the Tidewater area of Virginia. WGH patterned itself after WLS so it was good practice for a former farm boy with eyes on Chicago. Jeff was one of the youngest personalities WLS had ever hired. "I felt I had to run twice as fast to keep up with these amazing talents," Jeff added.
In 1974, Jeff heard a song by a Chicago band on a jukebox. He asked the WLS music director if he could play it after discovering they were a Chicago band. He was allowed to play it twice and on the strength of continued WLS airplay, the band was able to secure a new recording contract. The band: Styx. "When we played a record, it meant something . That's one of the things I've always loved about WLS," Jeff said, "it's one of the most respected radio stations in broadcast history."
Jeff should know. He's the WLS AM historian and has been responsible for preserving the station's history. Jeff was the radio personality who followed John Records Landecker. He also hosted numerous celebrity interviews on Musicpeople, a show that aired on Sunday nights. Among other shows, Jeff wrote and produced an entire history of WLS AM. Many of the people Jeff was able to meet and interview from the early era of WLS are no longer with us so having those memories as part of the historical record is important because, as Jeff says, "We owe a lot to them. They created a legacy that gave us careers." The number of specials and shows Jeff produced are legend. He was the national host of America's Music Voteline on the ABC Rock Network, the first show to use a similar system to the current network tv voting system. Jeff Davis was also the host of the "Duran Duran National Press Conference," live on the ABC Rock Network with Nick Rhodes and Simon LeBon.
In the 90's, Jeff was the afternoon personality on Star 98.7 in Los Angeles, still maintaining work with WLS AM as the station's voice. While in Los Angeles, he got to host the Grammy Awards announcement with Quincy Jones and Olivia Newton-John and, later, hosted the live radio version of the Grammy Awards at the Shrine Auditorium. "As soon as they came off the stage, they came to us," Jeff remembered. "That was fun on steroids." Jeff also hosted a national radio show distributed by Westwood One called, "On The Radio," and, for a short time, hosted Westwood One's "American Dance Traxx."
Jeff maintains his portal at jeffdavis.com, a sampling of his art at jeffdavisart.com and samples of his writing at jeffdaviswriter.com. He loves to cook and has a large kitchen. "I come from a southern family with amazing cooks," he said. "My mother and I created a cookbook to help raise money for her church."
Here's a tidbit of trivia: Jeff Davis designed the *999 signs you see every day along Chicago's expressways!
Aside from Radio, Jeff has appeared in six films and has done sound design for motion pictures. His first co-starring role was in a low budget film with Lee Majors called, "Hell To Pay" (2005). "It was loads of fun. I played a real hooligan named 'Mean Joe' and got shot by James Drury ("The Virginian"). Jeff was also the voice of the CBS Television show, "Armed and Famous," did the opening narration for a film on the SyFy Channel and appeared on Cartoon Network's (Adult Swim) "Squidbillies."
In addition to WLS FM, you'll hear Jeff's voice on radio and television stations across the U.S. and Canada.