The Loop ends rock era today

WLUP studio

Confirming the sale of WLUP FM 97.9 to Educational Media Foundation, Cumulus Media has announced it will end the classic rock station’s current programming today and will cease operating The Loop later this week.

As reported earlier, Educational Media Foundation is buying the station from Merlin Media for $21.5 million and converting it to a noncommercial contemporary Christian music station under its syndicated K-Love brand. The new format will debut Saturday, marking the end of a 41-year run for the iconic radio rocker.

Cumulus has been operating The Loop and Merlin-owned alternative rock WKQX FM 101.1 under a local marketing agreement since 2014. While struggling to emerge from bankruptcy, Cumulus had sought to buy The Loop and 101 WKQX under more favorable terms than originally negotiated.

Marv Nyren

Marv Nyren, vice president and market manager of Cumulus Chicago, said the company still seeks to acquire 101 WKQX.

“While we had hoped to be the highest bidder for the station, we are taking the sale of the Loop as an opportunity to ensure we have the right people in the right jobs and are keeping as many employees as possible,” Nyren wrote in a memo to staff. “In finalizing this sale, we can now focus on the future stability of the Chicago cluster and necessary growth to remain competitive.

“We continue to be in active discussions with Merlin regarding an acquisition of WKQX-FM.  The sale of the Loop has no impact on our desire to bring WKQX-FM formally into the Cumulus family at the right price.”

Cumulus owns news/talk WLS AM 890 and classic hits WLS FM 94.7.

Here is the text of Nyren’s memo to staff:

By now, you may have heard that WLUP-FM has been sold to EMF, Educational Media Foundation, by Merlin Media.  This means that we will end WLUP’s current programming today, and later this week , we will cease to be operating WLUP-FM.
 
What does this mean to Cumulus-Chicago and those of us not affected by the sale?  While we had hoped to be the highest bidder for the station, we are taking the sale of the Loop as an opportunity to ensure we have the right people in the right jobs and are keeping as many employees as possible.  In finalizing this sale, we can now focus on the future stability of the Chicago cluster and necessary growth to remain competitive.  We continue to be in active discussions with Merlin regarding an acquisition of WKQX-FM.  The sale of the Loop has no impact on our desire to bring WKQX-FM formally into the Cumulus family at the right price.
 
We wish each and every one of those affected by the sale nothing but the best as we all move forward.  I will do my best to continue to provide you all with as much information as possible as we finalize the transfer of WLUP-FM to EMF, and I am available should you have any questions during this period.
 
As with any difficult decisions we encounter in life, we now have the choice how we handle this opportunity.   I look forward to continuing to grow these legendary stations with your help.  Thank you in advance for your support, understanding and dedication to our future successes.
 
Respectfully,
Marv