V103 promotes Joe Soto to afternoons

Joe Soto

Joe Soto

Joe Soto, a 36-year veteran of Chicago radio, has been promoted to permanent host of the top-rated afternoon show on iHeartMedia urban adult-contemporary WVAZ FM 102.7.

Soto, who previously hosted evenings on V103, has been filling in from 2 to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday since the death last month of syndicated superstar Doug Banks.

The move, effective immediately, marks a return to local programming in afternoons on V103. The station continues to air Steve Harvey’s syndicated show in mornings.

“The opportunity to host afternoon drive on V103 is an honor and a privilege,” Soto said in a statement Tuesday. “It is truly one of our nation’s great radio stations.”

Doug Banks

Doug Banks

A Chicago native and graduate of Farragut High School and Northern Illinois University, Soto has been a fixture at V103 and iHeartMedia urban contemporary WGCI FM 107.5 for decades. Soto acknowledged Banks as his “teacher, mentor and friend,” adding: “There will never be another Doug Banks. The V103 listeners are like family members. They are the most important part of what I do every day. I’m just a kid from K-Town on Chicago’s great West Side living the dream.”

Derrick Brown, director of urban programming at iHeartMedia Chicago, said in a statement: “I’m proud to have Joe Soto take the reins of afternoon drive on V103. I’ve known Joe for over 25 years and worked with him on several occasions, most directly at V103 for almost a decade.” Calling Soto “a proud son of Chicago, a hilariously talented theatre-of-the-mind entertainer, and die-hard Cubs fan,” he added: “I’m most impressed with his non-stop commitment to uplifting our community from our gun turn-in programs to youth baseball camp.”

Hundreds gathered Saturday at the Harold Washington Cultural Center in Bronzeville to pay tribute to Banks, who died April 11 of complications from diabetes at 57.

In the latest Nielsen Audio survey V103 ranked No. 1 in afternoons with a 5.7 percent share and cumulative weekly audience of 681,400.