Erich Mancow Muller wraps up his weeklong tryout as morning personality at WLUP FM 97.9 Friday knowing just one thing for certain: He won’t be back on Monday.
Other than that, the longtime Chicago radio personality swears he has no idea whether the job will be offered to him permanently — or whether he and his agent can come to terms with bosses of the Cumulus Media classic rock station if they do.
As the fourth “contestant” in what’s billed as The Loop’s Morning Show Search, Muller has been widely regarded as the favorite from the outset. The others were Abe Kanan, Shadoe Stevens and Liz Wilde.
“First of all, they have to tell me they want me,” Muller said Thursday. “People have been asking if this contest a sham. I don’t know. Cumulus is a huge company and I’m just a guy doing a week of radio for fun at this point. What has to happen [to make a deal] is all the logistical stuff that nobody likes. Can it be put together? I don’t know.”
If you were a fan of “Mancow’s Morning Madhouse” 20 years ago, then you probably liked what you heard this week. Surrounded by his old cohorts, Muller, 48, reprised many of his familiar bits and trademark pranks. True to form, he declared himself a great success.
“I am shocked that I can still do entertainment-based rock radio,” he said. “It’s been basically a decade. I don’t think people realize how long it’s been. So everybody came together without ego. The world has beaten up my crew pretty good. There was no ego like there was in the past. And it was just an absolute ball. It was as good as radio can get. The show that I thought could conquer the world 10 years ago felt and sounded better than ever to me.”
The Loop’s morning slot has been open since last September when the station revamped its lineup and parted company with Benjamin Bornstein, known on the air as Maxwell.
Once among Chicago’s biggest radio stars, Muller was a publicity magnet at the former WRCX, then at WKQX FM 101.1 and later at WLS AM 890. He’s been off the air since last October, when his morning show on Fox-owned WPWR-Channel 50 ended a two-year run.
Muller insists his only goal is getting through the week. “There is no deal,” he said, adding facetiously: “I had forgotten how delightful the alarm going off at 2:30 in the morning is.”