WLS FM moves Dick Biondi to weekend mornings

Dick Biondi

Dick Biondi

Dick Biondi, the Radio Hall of Famer and Chicago broadcast treasure, will now be heard Saturday and Sunday mornings on WLS FM 94.7.

The move is a step up that could result in a larger audience for the incomparable 83-year-old rock ’n’ roll radio legend, who’d been relegated to late nights for years at the Cumulus Media classic hits station.

Starting this weekend, Biondi will host live from 6 to 10 a.m. Saturdays and from 7 to 10 a.m. Sundays. No word yet on his replacement from 11 p.m. to 2 a.m. Monday through Friday.

“Having Dick Biondi on both days in the morning to wake up with is pretty cool,” said Peter Bowen, vice president and Chicago market manager of Cumulus Media. “Dick is phenomenal. I love the guy. And this will be good for everybody.”

It’s the first major talent shift since the arrival in August of Brian Thomas as program director of WLS FM. Thomas doubles as corporate program director of country and classic hits stations for Cumulus Media, overseeing 22 markets nationwide.

“Our listeners have been asking when they actually have a chance to listen and now they get their wish,” Thomas said. “Having Dick Biondi live on Saturday and Sunday will really help the ratings on the weekend for WLS FM.”

Enshrined in both the Radio Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, “The Wild I-Tralian” has been a beloved superstar for more than six decades. A native of Endicott, New York, Biondi first joined WLS AM 890 in 1960. In 2010 the city of Chicago named the alley south of the old WLS studios near East Lake Street and Garland Court “Dick Biondi Way.”

In the latest Nielsen Audio survey, WLS FM tied for 10th place from 6 to 10 a.m. Saturdays with a 2.9 percent share. Among women between 25 and 54, the station was fifth from 6 to 10 a.m. Saturdays with a 4.4 share.