Greg Jarrett heads to WIQI-FM

Former WGN-AM radio personality Greg Jarrett has landed a morning time slot gig on troubled news station WIQI-FM (101.1, FM News) beginning on Monday. Jarrett will anchor morning newscasts alongside Monica DeSantis from 5:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.

News of this hire was first reported Friday afternoon by Chicagoland Radio & Media.

The hire of Jarrett – who was dropped unceremoniously by WGN Radio last December and replaced by Jonathan Brandmeier – is the latest change for WIQI, who is now looking to add more personalities and commentary to the mix to do a news/talk hybrid, or as they call it, “expanded news”.

Also starting Monday, Rob Hart and Mary Ellen Geist will do a early midday shift from 10  a.m. to noon, while approximately twelve hours later, John Czahor will do a show from 10 p.m. to midnight.

FM News has been trying out personalities over the last few weeks for commentary pieces, including former Loop star Kevin Matthews, WIND host Geoff Pinkus, former WGN Radio evening host Jim Laski, and Erich “Mancow” Mueller. WIQI is currently looking for an afternoon host; so far, Mancow looks to be the leading candidate.

In the latest Arbitron PPM survey, WIQI did grow its overall rating 33 percent. However, the station still remains stalled at the starting gate with an 0.4 rating as a controversial billboard campaign featuring jailed former Illinois governor Rod Blagoveich – its first promotional push since debuting last August – was critically panned and did nothing to boost the station’s profile or ratings. WIQI recently plastered a smiley face over Blagojevich’s face after his attorney threatened legal action against the station, making the dopey billboard campaign even dopier.

As of now, there are no changes being planned for Merlin Media’s other all-news station, WEMP-FM (101.9 FM) in New York City, which has gotten off to a similar slow start.