Steve Cochran quits WIND

Steve Cochran

Steve Cochran

Chicago radio veteran Steve Cochran has signed off from WIND AM 560 after nearly two years as afternoon personality.

Cochran, whose last day on WIND was Thursday, notified bosses of the Salem Communications news/talk station that he would not accept a renewal of his contract. Since October 2011, he has been hosting from 5 to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. His bio no longer appears on the station’s website.

His departure was confirmed by WIND in an email sent to advertisers Friday: “Effective today, Steve Cochran will no longer be hosting our afternoon drive show AM 560. This decision is a mutual one between Steve and the radio station. Steve has decided to pursue other opportunities, and we are parting ways amicably. We greatly appreciate the hard work that Steve has invested in the radio station and into his show. We wish him well in his future endeavors.”

Joe Walsh, the former congressman who has been hosting from 7 to 9 p.m. weekdays on WIND since March, is expected to take over Cochran’s 5 to 7 p.m. shift on the station. Until then, Dan Deibert is filling in during afternoons.

Now that he’s a free agent, Cochran declined to comment on his next move. Few would be surprised if he turned up at WGN AM 720, where he spent 10 years before he was forced out in 2010. The Tribune Broadcasting news/talk station is undergoing a major overhaul of its talent lineup.

WGN has been without a program director since Bill White was ousted June 3. But Jimmy deCastro, who took over as president and general manager of the station in May, last week jettisoned “The Noon Show” host Carol Roth and late-night host Turi Ryder — both of whom were hired by White only six months ago — and unveiled an expanded sports talk show hosted by David Kaplan from 7 p.m. to midnight weekdays. He also switched the shifts of news anchors Steve Bertrand to afternoons and Andrea Darlis to mornings. Overnight news anchor Paula Cooper is out.

Except for a one-year stint in Detroit in the late ’90s, Cochran has been a Chicago radio fixture since 1993. His longest run was the decade he spent in a variety of shifts at WGN, where his rise to morning drive seemed inevitable until he fell out of favor with previous management — and vice versa.

In addition to his WIND show, Cochran doubles as 10 a.m. to noon weekday host on KTRS AM 550 in St. Louis.

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