Jonathon Brandmeier heads to WLS-AM


Chicago radio legend lands deal with Cumulus and Westwood One – new show to be syndicated to other stations

After turning down a deal with WJMK-FM, Jonathon Brandmeier signed one with WLS-AM owner Cumulus and Westwood One to air a weekday syndicated strip, airing from 9 to Noon, starting next month. With WLS-AM as its home base, Jonathan Brandmeier’s show is also going to be heard in Los Angeles, Dallas, Salt Lake City, and Albuquerque, with more markets being added later. Due to another program commitment, WLS can only run Brandmeier’s show from 9 to 11 a.m.

WJMK officals met with Brandmeier according to Robert Feder, but the Classic Hits station could not come to terms and decided instead to reup Dave Fogel for another two years.

For Westwood, Brandmeier replaces Dennis Miller, who is retiring from radio and moving on to other projects. His last show (which airs locally on WIND-AM) is March 27. Brandmeier’s show could began as early as March 30.

Brandmeier has been heard (and seen) outside of the Chicago market before: He had a short stint for a Phoenix radio station and had a short-lived syndicated TV show, Johnny B. On The Loose in 1991.

The longtime WLUP host last stint was at Tribune Media’s “The Game”/WGWG-LP as morning host, which was unsuccessful. Prior to that, Brandmeier was morning host at WGN-AM from 2011-13, but was dumped for Steve Cochran and shifted to WGN.FM, the station’s second Internet feed.

Brandmeier spent fourteen years at WLUP (The Loop), first as morning host (where he has his greatest success) and later in afternoons. But his second stint in morning drive at The Loop from 2005-09 was less successful.

To make room for Brandmeier, WLS canceled a 9-11 a.m. weekday morning show hosted by John Kass and Lauren Cohen. Kass of course, will continue in his role as a Chicago Tribune columnist and commentator.

This latest move WLS has made is intended to inject some life at the news/talk outlet, which had been on a ratings and revenue decline for several years. In recent surveys, WLS was putting up its lowest numbers since 1989, when it was on its last legs as a music station. Earlier this year, John Howell replaced the low-rated Bruce Wolf and Dan Proft in morning drive. Last November, a returning Steve Dahl replaced Roe Conn.

While this is good news for Brandmeier’s fans, consider this: according to a recent assessment of the Chicago market by Media Life magazine, radio ad spending is still “sluggish” and described as “soft” as buying remains down from a year ago. While its not clear why the real reason why spending is so slow, hiring has-beens such as Brandmeier, Dahl, and Roe Conn with their low ratings and older-skewing audiences won’t help.

And the has-been carousel continues with the likely hiring of Erich “Mancow” Mueller as new morning personality at WLUP, which he tried out for this past week (don’t believe the dumb fuck who runs that “other” blue site – you know, the plagiarist who doesn’t like media bloggers – who said the “contest” would be extended another month.) Only Chicago – the home of corruption – can pull off such a scam. Makes similar lackluster media markets Sacramento, Cleveland, and Memphis look good by comparison.

It’s apparent that Chicago radio has become nothing but a retirement home for broken-down radio personalities who refuse to leave the spotlight.