Cumulus shifts radio stations to NBC Tower

NBC_Tower_070723It’s an end of an era at the Merchandise Mart.

Cumulus Media, the owner of WLS-AM/FM and operator of WLUP-FM and WKQX-FM announced Wednesday they are consolidating their operations in their new home at the NBC Tower next year, as first reported by Robert Feder.

Both WLS stations are at 190 N. State St, where they have been for 25 years. WKQX has been based in the Merchandise Mart since 1948 when it was known as WMAQ-FM, co-owned by NBC with its AM counterpart and WNBQ-TV (which changed to the WMAQ calls in 1964.) WKQX went through call letter and format changes in its 67-year history at the Mart, including two stints as an all-news station and two stints as a Hot AC outlet. WKQX is currently in its second stint as an alternative rock outlet.

When NBC divested its radio division, WKQX (sold to Emmis) remained at the Mart while WMAQ-AM (sold to Group W, which later merged with CBS) moved to the NBC Tower with the NBC-owned TV station in 1989, after 60+ years at the Mart. CBS Radio closed WMAQ in 2000 and moved WSCR-AM to the 670 frequency. WSCR now resides in the Prudential Building.

Come March 1, both WLUP and WKQX will temporarily relocate to 190 N. State until the NBC Tower offices are ready.

In other local Cumulus news, WLS-FM announced it is moving Dick Biondi from his late-night 11 p.m.-2 a.m. shift, (move was criticized by many fans) to weekend mornings from 6-10 a.m. Saturdays and 7-10 a.m. on Sundays. Biondi, 83, first started his Chicago radio career at WLS-AM in 1960.