Everyone knew changes were inevitable when Cumulus hired Wade Linder as WLUP-FM’s (The Loop) new operations manager/program director. Over the weekend, those changes began.
On Friday, WLUP released Patrick Capone after nine years at the classic rock station. Capone broke the news on his Facebook page, thanking Chicago audiences for their support.
On the same day, WLUP fired Maxwell (a.k.a. Benjamin Bornstein) after just two years in morning drive. Also out was co-host and news anchor John Czahor, a holdover from station owner Merlin Media’s failed FM News format. Poor ratings were clearly to blame as Maxwell was never able to gain traction in Chicago as he did in other markets, where he was known as a “shock jock”.
Replacing Capone in the afternoons is Chicago radio veteran Tim Virgin, as reported Monday by Robert Feder. Virgin was at The Loop in the mid-1990’s and had two stints with the original Q101 (WKQX.) Virgin’s last position was at an alternative radio station (KEGY) in the San Diego market, where he moved to months after the original Q101 closed its doors.
In addition, WLUP has hired Lyndsey Marie Combs for middays, coming from a rock station (WNNX) in Atlanta, and former Q101 personality Pyke, who comes over from WIOT-FM in Toledo.
So far, no morning host for WLUP has been announced, with WLUP saying they are conducting a “nationwide search” (whatever that means.)
Cumulus and Linder hope the change boost declining ratings in hopes of attracting a younger audience – most who weren’t around when “The Loop” was launched in March 1977 as an AOR (album-oriented rock) station, and became home to some of Chicago’s most beloved radio personalities such as Jonathan Brandmeier, Steve Dahl & Garry Meier, and Kevin Matthews. Despite still ranking in the top ten among its key demo of males 25-54, The Loop’s glory days are long gone.