Former Nine FM, Bus home sold

Bible thumpers strike again as 99.9 FM sold

The former home of both WBUS and Nine FM was sold Tuesday to a non-profit educational foundation specializing in religious programming – the second deal made by such an entity in the Chicago market this year.

Newsweb announced Tuesday it sold WCPQ-FM (99.9) in south suburban Park Forest to Bible Broadcasting, Inc. for $5 million. Similar to the Educational Media Foundation – the outfit who acquired WLUP-FM earlier this month, Bible Broadcasting relies on listener donations and not traditional advertising as a source of revenue.

Able to reach into Chicago’s south side and south suburbs, the 99.9 frequency was perhaps best known for “Nine FM” (WRZA-FM), the Jack-FM-like “We Play Anything” outlet from 2004 to 2008 in a format known as Variety Hits, later simulcast on Arlington Heights’ WKIE (92.7 FM, now WCPY) and DuPage County’s WDEK (92.5 FM). Yours truly documented the problems of Nine FM in the early years of the blog.

The station was also known as WBUS-FM or “The Bus” with a CHR/Top 40 format from 1987 to 1996. Based in Kankakee, it held the rights (separate from Chicago) to syndicated Casey’s Top 40 and American Top 40 countdown programs. Between 1996 and 2004, it programmed a Spanish-language format known as La Raza, changed the call letters to WRZA, and shifted the city of license (in this case, a village) to Park Forest.

After shuttering Nine FM in 2008, the trio carried a simulcast of co-owned WCPT’s (820 AM) liberal talk format and became WCPQ.

Since 2014, WCPQ and WCPY has been carrying Polish-targeted programming known as “Polski FM” during the day and Dance Factory at night – the latter a holdover from the Nine FM days. Newsweb is retaining WCPY with the dual formats intact.

No date has been set for the changeover at WCPQ.

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