Clear Channel-owned WLIT-FM didn’t need the late “Dandy” Don Meredith to turn off “The Lite”: they practically took the bulb out of the socket and smashed it to the ground.
After 24 years as The Lite, WLIT rebranded itself as My 93.9 FM, in line with a few other Clear Channel-owned AC formatted stations around the country. WLIT’s new slogan is “More Variety From The ’80’s til Now”, and its new website domain name is 939myfm.com.
Ryan Seacrest, who is morning personality at Clear Channel’s KIIS in Los Angeles, and whose show is syndicated nationally on a delayed basis (including sis station WKSC in Chicago), introduced the new format to WLIT listeners at 9 a.m. Monday.
The entire airstaff (or what little of it) was released, including morning jocks Jeff Corder and Karen Williams, whose final show was Friday. Also out is Robin Rock (who will remain with Clear Channel in some capacity) and Delilah’s syndicated evening show. WLIT however, does plan to hire on-air personalities. [Editor’s Note: Delilah’s syndicated show actually ended its Chicago run in March 2012. -T.H. ]
WLIT also plans to retain its highly popular – and highly rated – Christmas format in November and December.
The format adjustment puts WLIT in direct competition with Hubbard WILV-FM (Rewind 100.3), who has a similar format. WLIT also competes with WTMX and Merlin’s WIQI-FM. In the latest Arbitron survey, WLIT tied for eighth among women 25-54.
For now, WLIT is still reporting as an Adult Contemporary station; though the format has evolved from artists such as Barry Manilow, Barbara Streisand, and Air Supply back in the day to somewhat harder-edged acts such as Pink, Rihanna, Bruno Mars, Kelly Clarkson and Taylor Swift.
A sampling of artists in the 2:30 p.m.-3:30 p.m. time frame on Monday included songs from Lady Gaga, Men At Work, Fun., Carrie Underwood, Katy Perry, Tom Petty, Bruno Mars, Heart, One Republic, and Rihanna.
Copied straight from the press release, here’s Clear Channel VP of Programming Tommy Austin: “We received feedback from thousands of listeners who want a station that is as diverse as Chicago, with commercial free commutes so their drives are full of music. 93.9 MY FM will play the best songs from the 80’s until now with all different styles and textures, reflecting what our listeners want to hear. MY 93.9 will also continue the Holiday music tradition later in the year.”
Given how segregated the Chicago DMA is, I wonder how many of those “listeners” WLIT actually talked to – not sure if this change is because they wanted a playlist “just as diverse as Chicago”. And are listeners clamoring for more ’80’s music at this point? So far at least, we’re not hearing the same six ’80’s artists ten times a day (are you listening, WLUP?)
And the “My” branding has its shortcomings: it reminds some listeners of two entities with similar monikers: MySpace and My Network TV, given both have faded from the pop culture scene, though the latter was never there to begin with. On the other hand, KBIG in Los Angeles has used the My branding (as My 104.3) for five years and regularly ranks in the top five, often in first.
And speaking of KBIG… taking over the evening shift is former Saved By The Bell star and current Extra co-host Mario Lopez beginning July 1. Lopez holds down a similar evening shift at My 104.3.
But Mario Lopez? While a former sitcom star in radio is nothing new (Jay Thomas and Danny Bonaduce both created new careers from it), you wonder what other has-been 1980’s or 1990’s sitcom stars My 93.9 is considering…
Coming up next: My 93.9 FM hires Screech and Urkel for morning drive.
— T Dog Media (@tdogmedia) June 18, 2013
Oh boy. I certainly can’t wait for The Alfonso Ribeiro Midday Experience.