As you know by now, WLUP was sold on Tuesday to the Educational Media Foundation, who are buying up stations across the country to air their Christian Contemporary music format known as K-Love with a switch set for Saturday. On Friday, former Looper Steve Dahl’s WLS-AM afternoon show was simulcast on WLUP as he paid tribute to the rocker with special guests and a trip down memory lane.
Among the guests who appeared on Friday’s show include Loop alumni Jonathan Brandmeier, Buzz Killman, Kevin Matthews, Danny Bonaduce, Sky Daniels, and Bruce Wolf (you can listen to the final hour of Dahl’s show here.)
The Loop was also toasted by other radio stations around Chicago, including WGN-AM and former competitor The Drive (WDRV), who did a “10 at 10” tribute and one from WILL-FM in Kenosha:
When the final 11 p.m. hour came, this is what was played, according to Radio Insight. Notice a trend here:
- Led Zeppelin – Stairway To Heaven
- Europe – The Final Countdown
- Lynyrd Skynyrd – Free Bird
- REM – It’s The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)
- Metallica – For Whom The Bell Tolls
- Rush – Limelight
- Mötley Crüe – Shout At The Devil
- Iron Maiden – The Number Of The Beast
- AC/DC – Highway To Hell
The last song Dahl suggested in a Robert Feder column a few days ago, and indeed, it was a brilliant choice.
After a few seconds of dead air, WLUP switched to K-Love, dropping in right in the middle of Whom Shall I Fear by Chris Tomlin (you can hear the format change here.)
On Twitter, many toasted the station:
@SteveDahlShow, a fine farewell to WLUP. Even though I never worked there—and often competed against it—it was always a button on my radio.
— Charlie Meyerson (@Meyerson) March 9, 2018
I used to listen to #wlup while I went to sleep. In 1977 while I was in 7th grade. Tonight I’m doing it one more time.
— James Blackburn (@skippy5979) March 10, 2018
I find it inspiring the feelings of love/loss over the WLUP from people who are not even local; amazing the reach of this station and its legacy, even in 2018
— tzvi koam 1⃣4⃣3⃣ (@HSAddict697) March 10, 2018
And their were more out-of-town toasts: This one, from former Chicago area resident and now L.A.-based IndieWire columnist Michael Schneider:
RIP, @979TheLoop — end of an era for Chicago radio!
— Michael Schneider (@franklinavenue) March 9, 2018
@979TheLoop Listening to the last hour of WLUP from Virginia.
— Giuseppe Orsolini (@guido0817) March 10, 2018
And even Dr. Demento – whose show aired on WLUP until 2010, paid tribute to the station on his long-running show:
Today's new show salutes hotels, motels, condominiums and other places we live in! I'll also play a song by an artist saluted in a recent Trump tweet, and say farewell to WLUP (The Loop), our Chicago home for close to 30 years. Listen now or anytime at https://t.co/JnTRr6Zz4j
— drdemento (@drdemento) March 10, 2018
The events of the last few days reminds us how much radio played an important role in our lives. In an era before social media and the Internet, there were generations of people who connected with these stations and the personalities who were on them. They spoke to their audience without looking down on them, and that’s what made people like Steve Dahl and others legends. Even though what made The Loop an iconic radio brand in Chicago has been absent from the station the last twenty years, the outpouring of reaction from fans and non-fans alike about The Loop tells us how much radio still connects with listeners – even with a wealth of alternatives. Terrestrial radio doesn’t have the same human touch it once had, but it can still move people.
Rest in rockin’ peace, The Loop.