Robservations: Steve Dahl to ‘lock up’ The Loop today

Steve Dahl (1979) (Photo: Paul Natkin)

Robservations on the media beat:

Steve Dahl

It’s probably fitting for Steve Dahl to be the last live voice we’ll hear on The Loop. The Chicago broadcast legend and Radio Hall of Famer, who rose to stardom four decades ago on WLUP FM 97.9, will preside over an official send-off for the classic rock station today. It comes on the eve of its takeover by Educational Media Foundation and switch to contemporary Christian music just before midnight Saturday. To mark the passing, Dahl’s afternoon show on news/talk WLS AM 890 will be simulcast on The Loop. Both stations broadcast from Cumulus Media studios. Among Dahl’s special guests will be fellow Loop luminaries Sky Daniels and Kevin Matthews. “I’ve been trying to wrap my head around WLUP switching from ‘Where Chicago Rocks’ to ‘Where Chicago Prays,’” Dahl said. “The Loop bounced radio waves around this city and into listeners’ brains for 40 years. Luckily, the curtain never comes down in the theater of the mind, so in that sense it will live on. I am honored/concerned I’ve been given the keys to lock the place up. Have you seen my keys?” Continue reading

Robservations: 101 WKQX picks up The Loop’s Tim Virgin

Tim Virgin

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. Continue reading

Mancow, suddenly unplugged: ‘The Loop meant something’

Erich Mancow Muller leaving WLUP studios Tuesday

In the 24 years he’s been in Chicago, Erich Mancow Muller was never one to shy away from cameras or microphones. Until Tuesday.

As he left WLUP FM 97.9 for the last time, the normally garrulous broadcaster walked past TV news crews waiting outside his studio. Later in the day he turned down multiple requests for interviews on radio shows and in other media. The sale of The Loop and the sudden demise of his morning show was still too raw and too upsetting even for a notorious publicity hound like Muller. Continue reading

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. Continue reading

Rock radio shocker: Christian broadcaster buying The Loop

The Loop 97.9

WLUP FM 97.9, the fabled classic rock station that’s home to morning host Erich Mancow Muller and four decades of radio history, is being acquired by a nonprofit Christian broadcasting company, according to an FCC filing Monday.

Educational Media Foundation has agreed to buy The Loop from Merlin Media for $21.5 million and plans to convert it to a noncommercial contemporary Christian music station under its syndicated K-Love brand. Pending government approval, the deal will mark the end of a legacy that began when owner Phil Chess of Chess Records flipped the call letters from WSDM to WLUP in 1977. Continue reading

Dold revamps Tribune newsroom to be ‘more nimble, more entrepreneurial’

Chicago Tribune

The Chicago Tribune unveiled plans today for a sweeping reorganization of its newsroom, aimed at becoming what publisher and editor-in-chief Bruce Dold called “more nimble, more entrepreneurial, more responsive to our readers’ current interests and permanent passions.”

Dold outlined the changes, including the addition of a second managing editor and expansion of the newspaper’s “audience insight team,” in an email to the staff. Continue reading

Robservations: Jenny Milkowski to host afternoons on WSHE

Jenny Milkowski (Photo: Maggie Ponce/Revealed Studios)

Robservations on the media beat:

Jay Styles

Jenny Milkowski, former traffic reporter on “Good Day Chicago,” has been named afternoon personality on WSHE FM 100.3, starting March 29. Along with co-host Jay Styles, she’ll succeed Cara Carriveau, whose last day on the Hubbard Radio adult contemporary station was Friday. Milkowski, a Chicago area native and 2006 broadcast journalism graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, spent the last three years at Fox-owned WFLD-Channel 32 and gained a wide social media following before Michelle Alegria replaced her as morning traffic reporter. “I am beyond ecstatic to continue connecting with listeners in Chicago,” Milkowski said Monday. “To be able to work in the city where I was born and raised is a dream come true.” Styles most recently was Chicago producer for Brooke Fox and Jubal Flagg’s morning show. Also at WSHE, evening host Robb Rose succeeds Styles as “Brooke & Jubal” producer, and weekend host Brian Middleton moves to evenings. Continue reading

ABC 7 drops Ji Suk Yi from ‘Windy City Live’

Ji Suk Yi (Photo: ABC 7)

Calling it “a freaking honor” to have worked on “Windy City Live” since its inception, Ji Suk Yi surprised viewers Friday by signing off as a regular contributor to the WLS-Channel 7 talk and entertainment show.

Yi’s position was eliminated in a cost-saving move at the ABC-owned station, according to insiders. She will not be replaced. Val Warner and Ryan Chiaverini continue as co-hosts of the show, which airs at 1 p.m. weekdays on ABC 7. Continue reading

Robservations: Cara Carriveau exits WSHE

Cara Carriveau (Photo: Todd Rosenberg Photography)

Robservations on the media beat:

Cara Carriveau, who’s been a shining star on Chicago radio since the late 1980s, has resigned as afternoon personality on WSHE FM 100.3. Her last day on the Hubbard Radio adult contemporary station will be today. “I am so appreciative of all of the wonderful opportunities Hubbard Radio Chicago has given me,” Carriveau said in a statement. “To have hosted afternoons on WSHE after hosting middays on WTMX . . . makes me extremely proud of the past decade in my career. I will deeply miss the amazing people I have worked with for so many years.” Program director Cat Thomas said he will name a replacement soon. In the latest Nielsen Audio survey, WSHE ranked 18th in afternoons with a 2.6 percent audience share. Continue reading

Critic’s exit tops most-read posts in February

Hedy Weiss (Photo: Rich Hein/Sun-Times)

The final curtain for theater critic Hedy Weiss at the Sun-Times, the scoop on the startup of the neighborhood news website Block Club Chicago, and the dismissal of Mark Konkol after just 17 days as editor of the Chicago Reader led the top 10 most-read stories here in February.

To read the full posts, click on the headlines: Continue reading