Lane change for WGN’s afternoon drive traffic

Todd Manley and Roe Conn

Todd Manley and Roe Conn

Veteran Chicago radio personality Roe Conn won’t be the only new voice afternoon listeners will hear on WGN AM 720 starting this week.

Joining Conn and news anchor Judy Pielach from 3 to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday on the Tribune Media news/talk station will be traffic reporter Esmeralda Leon.

Esmeralda Leon

Esmeralda Leon

Leon, who starts on the show Tuesday, will replace Leslie Keiling as the voice of afternoon traffic. Both worked for Radiate Media, which provides traffic services to WGN.

A Joliet native who studied communications at DePaul University, Leon began her career as an intern and program assistant for Jonathon Brandmeier’s former morning show at WLUP FM 97.9. She joined Radiate Media as a traffic editor and reporter in 2013.

Keiling, known to fans of Steve Dahl and Garry Meier in the 1980s as “Lane Closure,” delivered traffic on almost every radio station in town over the past three decades and has been heard exclusively on WGN since 2004. On Sunday she tweeted: “Looks like I’m going to have some free time. Will miss my WGN family.”

Todd Manley, vice president of content and programming at WGN, thanked Keiling for her “always tenacious talents” and her service to the station.

Leslie Keiling

Leslie Keiling

“Leslie Keiling has been a fixture in WGN Traffic Central for well over a decade and will long be remembered for going above and beyond to prep her day with intelligent conversation and an amazing respect for those who preceded her in the WGN p.m. drive traffic chair,” Manley wrote in a memo to staffers. “It is hard not to be in awe of how she deftly bounced traffic, laughter, and debate among our town’s most gifted and challenging personalities.”

Manley’s memo also acknowledged the departure of part-time host Bill Moller, whose Saturday afternoon show was dropped to accommodate John Williams, who moves from middays during the week to weekends only.

“To say Bill is a survivor would be an understatement having watched and listened to him navigate many changes in recent years,” Manley wrote. “Most importantly, I don’t know that I’ve met anyone who has his enthusiasm and optimism. It is our hope that Bill will continue to be among the talent pool contributing to WGNplus. As class acts go . . . Bill tops the list.”

WGN’s latest personnel changes, including the shift of Bill Leff and Wendy Snyder from afternoons to middays (9 a.m. to noon weekdays), coincide with the hiring of Conn, who previously spent 25 years at Cumulus Media news/talk WLS AM 890.