“Game On” for 87.7 FM, Tribune Broadcasting

The Game


After several weeks and a lot of research, Tribune Broadcasting’s WGWG-LP decided to name their new station on 87.7 FM, “The Game”.

The new lineup consists of morning duo Tia Mowry and Hill Harper who’ll try not to get on each other’s nerves before 7:00 a.m. (of course, they would likely skip town after only six months.) For middays, its Wendy Raquel Robinson, with her brand of humor (don’t confuse her with Wendy Williams.) In afternoon drive, its WWE Wrestler Triple H – and he promises to piledrive a guest onto the studio floor on every show! Finally in evening shift, its The G-Unit Show featuring rapper The Game, with 50 Cent and Lloyd Banks spinning hip-hop tunes all night long!

Okay, by now you probably figured out this lineup is a bunch of bunk.

Seriously, WGN did launch a new FM station Monday at 1:02 p.m. – but not the one many were expecting. Tribune decided to launch an all-sports station branded as “The Game” on FM 87.7, perhaps the most unoriginal and overused name in media, next to “Genesis”. Already “The Game” is referred to as a BET sitcom, a nickname for a wrestler, and a rapper from Compton (as I was parodying above)- not to mention many other sports-talk stations around the country, such as Atlanta.

But it’s the content that matters more: The Game has some seasoned vets alongside with some young talent and soon-to-be-newcomers. General manager Jimmy DeCastro told Robert Feder Monday he was going after a younger, more educated audience, as opposed to his older-skewing rivals WSCR-AM (The Score) and WMVP-AM (ESPN 1000), the latter DeCastro helped launch in 1993 when the station was still owned by Evergreen Media. DeCastro told Feder: “We want this to be young and hip and fun”.

Since The Game is on 87.7, the fun could be over in September 2015 if Tribune can’t buy an FM signal to stick its sports format on, due to the elimination of the frequency as all low-power TV stations (87.7 FM is LPTV Channel 6) must convert to digital.

Now, here’s the REAL weekday lineup:

6-9 a.m. Jonathan Brandmeier (also on WGN.FM)
9-Noon: David Kaplan/David Haugh
Noon-1 p.m.: Inside The Game With David Kaplan
1 p.m.- 3 p.m. Alex Quigley/Howard Griffith
3 p.m.- 7 p.m. Harry Teinowitz/Spike Manton
7 p.m.-10 p.m.: Mark Carman

NBC Sports Radio provides overnight programming from 10 p.m.-5 a.m., and the 5-6 a.m. hour are Bits Of Brandmeier, which are best of segments.

Alex Quigley is a former WKQX (Emmis era) personality, while Big Ten Network’s Howard Griffith is a former NFL player who is a Mendel Catholic (now the site of Gwendolyn Brooks High School) graduate. David Haugh makes his debut as a radio talk host while still writing for the Chicago Tribune; he’s being paired with David Kaplan, who’ll no longer be hosting evenings on WGN-AM – he’ll be replaced by Pete McMurray, from 7-11 p.m. Meanwhile, WMVP alum Teinowitz is reunited with Spike Menton. And more personalities are expected to join the station in the next few months.

Weekend programming has yet to be nailed down, but here’s good news for sports fans – if there’s a conflict between two teams playing at the same time (such as a Cubs and a Blackhawks playoff game), WGN-AM will air one and WGWG will have the other.

The move to all-sports certainly took a few by surprise (including yours truly), figuring it would be WGN.FM’s Internet feed being simulcast on 87.7. Instead, WGN.FM’s internet feed remains separate, with Brandmeier’s show looped all day, at least for now.

Look at it this way: if “The Game” personalities don’t work out, they can hire what’s left of the cast of the BET sitcom of the same name. I have a feeling they’ll need to find work real soon.

WKQX moves back to 101.1

101WKQXTo make way for Tribune to take over the 87.7 frequency, WKQX ended the simulcast between it and 101.1 FM, moving exclusively to the latter, at 1:01 p.m. Monday. The move was low-key, as a promo played to officially usher in the Cumulus era at WKQX. Since the station can’t rebrand itself again as Q101 due to legal issues, they went with the disappointing 101WXQX branding, which is quite a mouthful to say. WKQX should have gone with the much cooler – and easier to say 101X, X101, or simply, “The X”.

The good news for listeners is the entire staff from the Q87.7 era remains intact, and is even making additions: Brian Phillips teams up with existing WKQX personality Lou Lombardo for morning drive. Phillips did two tours of duty with former Merlin Media’s alternative outlet WRXP-FM in New York City.