WXRT morning star Lin Brehmer moving to middays

Lin Brehmer

Lin Brehmer, the likable and literate morning personality on WXRT 93.1-FM since 1991, will move to middays early in the new year, the Entercom adult album alternative station announced Wednesday.

Succeeding Brehmer in mornings will be Richard Milne, a 33-year veteran of the station who currently hosts middays from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. weekdays.

Richard Milne

In a related move, Entercom has dropped newscasts in morning drive at the heritage rocker, eliminating the position of longtime morning news anchor and co-host Mary Dixon, effective immediately. Her last day on WXRT was Tuesday.

“Like a veteran centerfielder who moves to first base, I look forward to batting second,” Brehmer said in a statement. “The exhilaration of being a morning companion to the families that support 93XRT offset the brutal schedule of someone who likes to go to concerts at night. I’m not 29 anymore. May the phrase, ‘Isn’t it past your bedtime?’ be applied to someone else for a while.”

Described here as “a rock and roller who writes with the soul of a poet,” Brehmer, 65, appealed to more thoughtful listeners with the signature essays he called “Lin’s Bin.” Sun-Times columnist Neil Steinberg once called them “a blend of personal and universal, an oasis of intelligence in a media landscape that too often seems as if it has hit the bedrock of stupid and is struggling to drill deeper.”

Greg Solk, operations manager of WXRT, said in a statement: “93XRT has long held the reputation for playing Chicago’s finest rock, but also has enjoyed hosting Chicago’s finest jocks. Lin Brehmer is a Chicago treasure. All of us at the station are indebted to Lin for his 28 years of wrestling with his alarm clock. His morning fans will now get to enjoy their best friend in the whole world sharing their workday as Lin accompanies their middle of the day rituals.

“We are also blessed to have someone of Richard’s character, charm, music knowledge and wit to take over for Lin. It’s Richard’s turn to get in early and rock Chicago.”

Said Milne: “Even after 33⅓ years on the air at 93XRT, it still makes me one of the ‘new guys’ here and it’s still a thrill to come into 93XRT every day and spin Chicago’s finest rock. It has also given me plenty of time to learn from the best airstaff around, especially the incomparable Lin Brehmer. It is an absolute honor to take over mornings from my favorite disc jockey of all time.”

Mary Dixon

Starting in 1991 Dixon had served three tours of duty on Brehmer’s morning show, the last one since 2005. Sources said Entercom offered Dixon an anchor job at all-news combo WBBM 780-AM/WCFS 105.9-FM, which she declined. “It was not a good fit for my family, and I had to say no,” Dixon told the Chicago Tribune.

Her husband, Mark Caro, is a former arts and entertainment writer for the Tribune.

Dixon’s unexplained departure and the absence of news from Brehmer’s show Wednesday ignited concern on social media.  Tribune sports columnist Phil Rosenthal tweeted that it was “a colossal mistake . . . wholly misjudging the ‪@93XRT‬ morning-drive audience.”

Earlier this year Radio Hall of Famer Terri Hemmert stepped down as midday personality after 45 years on WXRT. Her move to part-time status paved the way for Milne to shift to middays in July.

In the latest Nielsen Audio survey WXRT ranked 14th in mornings with a 2.9 percent share. The station ranked 11th in middays with a 3.6 share.