Chicago’s Seven Storefront Studios

Loyola University's showcase studio during construction.

Loyola University’s showcase studio during construction.

The banners promise that Loyola University’s new $400,000 streetfront television studio in The Clare at Water Tower (55 East Pearson Street) will open in autumn 2009, but I think we can safely say that isn’t going to happen.  Especially considering that Loyola only got its permit to build the studio on October 2nd.

Loyola’s will be the seventh streetfront studio in Chicago.  WGN radio was the modern pioneer with this in Chicago (though it’s been done in other cities since the 50’s).  720 was quickly followed by WMAQ, WLS-TV and eventually WBBM-TV.   I always thought WFLD had a great opportunity to open one when the Bennigans at Michigan Plaza closed, but that opportunity was missed.

Of course, WGN-TV (2501 West Bradley Place) and WTTW are half-way to the suburbs, so there’s no point in them even trying.

Sometimes these are called “storefront” studios instead of “streetfront.”  In that case, WLUP and WKQX are actually the leaders, since they have had a storefront presence in the Merchandise Mart (222 Mart Plaza) for years.

Storefront studios in Chicago:

WLUP's storefront at the Merchandise Mart

WLUP’s storefront at the Merchandise Mart

WKQX's storefront at the Merchandise Mart

WKQX’s storefront at the Merchandise Mart

Author: Editor

Editor founded the Chicago Architecture Blog in 2003, after a long career in journalism. He can be reached at

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