Weigel Broadcasting, Chicago-based parent company of The U, Me-TV and other iconic television channels, is about to extend its brand into local radio for the first time.
Sources said the company has reached an agreement with Venture Technologies Group to lease WGWG LP 87.7, now home of Tribune Media’s ill-fated sports/talk format known as The Game 87.7 FM. Contracts have not yet been signed, but insiders said it’s a done deal.
Venture Technologies Group owns the license for WGWG LP 87.7, a low-power television station that has been operating as a FM radio station under a variety of formats since 2008.
Under the agreement, Weigel Broadcasting is expected to take over 87.7 FM on February 1 and program a music format on the station from its television facilities and offices at 26 North Halsted Street. A radio studio is said to be under construction at the site.
With the demise of The Game, effective at 11 p.m. Wednesday, Tribune Media will begin simulcasting news/talk WGN AM 720 for one month, according to the Chicago Tribune. The deal with Weigel Broadcasting effectively lets Tribune Media off the hook for its lease with Venture Technologies Group, which ran through September 2015.
Although this will mark Weigel Broadcasting’s first foray into radio, several of the company’s top executives are seasoned radio veterans: Neal Sabin, vice chairman of Weigel Broadcasting, began as an intern at WLS AM 890, was a producer, production director and head of programming at WIND AM 560, and was general manager of a north suburban station at 1330 AM. Cheryl Esken, director of strategic sales and marketing at Weigel Broadcasting, spent nine years as regional vice president of sales for Clear Channel Communications’ seven Chicago stations, now under the iHeartMedia brand.