The end: WLUP goes out with a bang

Classic rocker WLUP-FM (The Loop) signed off Friday evening at approximately 11:59 p.m. and went out with a blast.

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:

And there were more out-of-town toasts: This one, from former Chicago area resident and now L.A.-based IndieWire columnist Michael Schneider:

And even Dr. Demento – whose show aired on WLUP until 2010, paid tribute to the station on his long-running show:

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.