Robert Murphy, a prominent Chicago radio personality for more than 30 years, is signing off as afternoon host at Cumulus Media classic hits WLS FM 94.7.
December 30 will be Murphy’s last day on the show, which airs from 3 to 7 p.m. weekdays. His replacement has not been announced.
“I’ll mark my stay at 94.7 WLS as one of my better radio experiences — and I’ve had many experiences,” Murphy said Tuesday. “I was proud to be a part of the heritage call letters, and really honored to be working with legends such as Dick Biondi and John Landecker, along with all the other great talent associated with the station. It’s been a real slice.”
Murphy, 65, said he was notified in November that his contract would not be renewed, but wasn’t given a reason for the decision. “A lot went right, not sure what went wrong,” he said of his three-year run. “I did have some difficulty adjusting to what management wanted, and at times I was not really aware what indeed they did want. So I just tried to do good radio and hope for the best.”
Peter Bowen, vice president and Chicago market manager of Cumulus Media, declined to comment.
Murphy, a native of Birmingham, Alabama, has been in the top tier of Chicago radio performers since 1983 when he first joined WKQX FM 101.1. As morning star of the adult-contemporary station for 10 years, his image in a straitjacket became the centerpiece of a long-running and memorable advertising campaign.
With a few breaks along the way, he worked for a variety of stations since then.
When Murphy joined WLS FM in November 2013 it was the first time he’d held a shift outside of morning drive. “I’ll have to completely reverse my inner clock because I’ve been formatted to wake up at 4 a.m. rather than 4 p.m.,” he said at the time. “I might rather enjoy this.”
It actually marked his second tour of duty at WLS FM. In 1994, he helped launch a “young talk” format as morning host. Capital Cities/ABC, which then owned the station, pulled the plug after one year and returned to a full-time simulcast with news/talk WLS AM 890.
Murphy’s immediate plans? “Like most sudden retirees, I look forward to resting up a bit, and doing some traveling now that I’m not tethered to my job,” he said. “I am not actively seeking another gig, but stranger things have happened.”
In the latest Nielsen Audio survey, WLS FM tied for 12th in afternoons with a 2.6 percent share and cumulative weekly audience of 531,600.