Robservations on the media beat:
There’s life after The Loop for Tim Virgin. The sale this week of WLUP FM 97.9 brought an end to the personalities on the classic rock station, which will flip to a contemporary Christian music format under new owners, starting Saturday. So after four years as afternoon host at The Loop, Virgin has moved to alternative rock sister station WKQX FM 101.1. He’ll host afternoons there, too, bumping Walter Flakus to evenings. It’s the third time around for Virgin, who worked at the old Q101 in the late ’90s and again from 2009 to 2011. The Loop’s evening host James VanOsdol remains with Cumulus Media as digital chief and host of “Demo 312” Sunday nights on 101 WKQX.
But there’s a catch: Virgin’s run on 101 WKQX could be short-lived if financially troubled Cumulus Media fails to buy the station from Merlin Media. That’s how Cumulus lost The Loop to Educational Media Foundation, which came up with the $21.5 winning bid. Also in the air are plans by Cumulus to continue The Loop’s classic rock format (without personalities) as a live stream on WLUP.com and on the HD2 channel of 101 WKQX. “I can confirm that is our plan but, I also need to finalize the purchase of WKQX and the HD2 with that purchase,” said Marv Nyren, vice president and market manager of Cumulus Chicago.
One thing that’s certain: Loopfest is dead. Nyren also confirmed that the station’s sponsorship of the August 3 concert at Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre with Lynyrd Skynyrd, .38 Special and the Marshall Tucker Band has been canceled. Tickets have been on sale since February 2 — and the event is still being promoted on The Loop’s website.
Look for the WLUP call letters to leave Chicago after 41 years when Educational Media Foundation takes over with its K-Love contemporary Christian music format. Radio Insight reports the incoming owner has filed an application with the FCC to swap the Chicago call letters with WCKL, the company’s station in Starke, Florida. Notes Tom Taylor Now: The new call letters WCKL “synch nicely with ‘Chicago’s K-Love.’ ”
Chicago Tribune baseball columnist Paul Sullivan, sportswriter and media personality Peter Gammons and the late baseball broadcaster Lou Boudreau have been named winners of the 2018 Ring Lardner Awards for Excellence in Sports Journalism. Named for the world famous sportswriter, humorist and satirist, the awards will be presented April 12 at Union League Club of Chicago, 65 West Jackson Boulevard. The event benefits Union League’s Boys and Girls Clubs. (Here is the link for tickets.)
Women of color represent just 7.95 percent of U.S. print newsroom staff, 12.6 percent of local TV news staff, and 6.2 percent of local radio staff, according to a report released this week by the Women’s Media Center. Fifty years after the Kerner Commission, the report concludes that women of color “continue to be underrepresented in U.S. newsrooms and face multiple challenges in achieving equality in hiring and promotions.” Quoted in the study is Sun-Times assistant metro editor Rummana Hussain, who said: “Whether intentional or not, it seems like there is a cap on people of color in newsrooms.”
Wednesday’s best comment: Frank Traub: I would never associate cow-man with The Loop. The Loop in its glory days was Steve and Garry, Johnny B. and Buzz, Kevin Matthews, and somewhat Danny Bonaduce. For him to say he is now going to hang with the legends of Chicago is wrong. He was and still is an ass.