WGN Radio shakes up schedule; Bill and Wendy exit

Nexstar makes footprint known

As first reported by Robert Feder Wednesday night, WGN-AM made significant changes to its schedule, seeing several realignments and the exit of one of Chicago’s longest-running radio duos.

The Nexstar-owned radio station parted ways with Bill Leff and Wendy Snyder even though Leff was on vacation, depraving their fans of at least one final goodbye. Their departure likely means the end of the line for the venerable duo, who started together at the former WLUP-FM in the fall of 1994 and had a two-year run at WKQX-FM from 1996 to 1998. Fifteen years later they were reunited at WGN.

In a memo to WGN staff, director of news and operations Mary Sandberg Boyle told staffers about the departure of Leff and Snyder and stating making these these of changes are difficult. Here’s the new WGN Radio schedule, effective December 2:

WGN-AM simulcast the first hour of sister station WGN-TV’s morning newscast, from 4-5 a.m.

Steve Cochran’s morning show shifts to 5-9 a.m. – provided he can show up on time, which he hasn’t done too often when he was on from 6-10 a.m.

John Williams shifts to late mornings from 9 a.m.-noon.

From noon to 1 p.m. is a business show sponsored by a local bank and hosted by Ji Suk Yi, a former Sun-Times columnist and contributor to ABC 7’s Windy City Live and was in the same role on Steve Cochran’s show.

Roe Conn co-host Anna Davlantes spins off onto her own show from 1 to 3 p.m., with Conn now hosting solo from 3-7 p.m.

Justin Kaufmann’s evening show adds an hour, from 7 p.m-11 p.m.

Nick Digilio remains in late-night/overnights, from 11 p.m.-4 a.m.

There’s no coincidence these changes were announced the day after Nexstar CEO Perry Sook visited the station and reassured staffers the station was safe. Nexstar purchased WGN-AM as part of their $4.2 billion acquisition of Tribune Media, which closed two months ago. WGN-AM is the only radio station in Nexstar’s portfolio, who owns 197 television stations across the United States including WGN-TV. Sean Compton – who has a radio background with Clear Channel, became executive vice president of WGN-AM upon closure of the sale.

While Bill and Wendy drew decent ratings in their daytime slot (finishing twelfth), it wasn’t enough to save their jobs as the once-dominant radio station in town with an iconic history continues its difficult transition into the new world of media, now proliferated with podcasting and Sirius/XM. Whether Nexstar is up to the task of running (or ruining) a station in the country’s third-largest market remains to be seen.

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32 responses to WGN Radio shakes up schedule; Bill and Wendy exit


  1. Fran

    Bill and Wendy were the only interesting time slot on WGN.

    I won’t listen any longer.

  2. Sue

    You took the best show off!!
    Cochran does not hold a candle to them…
    Jim is great but I can’t see her replacing Burtran who has so much knowledge on so many things.
    The only show I’ll even listen to is John Williams …
    I think you guys made a BIG MISTAKE😩

  3. nancy d. doctor

    Bring Bill and Wendy back.

  4. Lois rivers

    So long Bill and Wendy. This will be my last win radio experience too. The slot held by Patty V (who I wasn’t fond of) is now a never tune-in for me. So long wgn.

  5. Jo Ann

    Ji??? Take Betram’s place! Impossible. She needs a serious tone of voice to talk about business. Agree.. can Cochran show up on time? King John is now the voice of reason on WGN.
    Steve Grzanich… how could they remove your show? I listened it to every morning! Is this Dallas based company going to ax Orion next.? My opinion of ANY company releasing an employee via email versus being a Man is that they are gutless.
    I’d worry remaining WGN STAFF.. you’re not safe from this management. Shame on Mrs Boyle

  6. Anonymous

    Good bye wgn

  7. Anonymous

    Was a faithful listener. Also had been listening to Nick’s show every day driving to work 4-5 and midday with Bill and Wendy. Just lost another listener.

  8. Debbie

    Bill and Wendy are gone?? Heck, I still miss Kathy and Judy! John Williams and Roe Conn are the only reasons I’m still listening

  9. I was so grateful when John Williams came back to WGN. So I will live in hope that someone has common sense enough to bring back Bill and Wendy. WGN, what were you thinking?

  10. Cathy

    I have been a listener for 50+ years. I still cannot believe you fired Bill and Wendy !!!!! What a disappointing move!!!!! I have loved and enjoyed listening to them every day. I am also going to hold onto the hope that you can come to your senses and try to bring them back!!!!! You weren’t happy with their show ranking at 12 ? Let’s see where your numbers are going now

  11. Chris

    Enjoyed Bill, found Wendy annoying..
    Would like more Steve Bertrand with John Williams or Steve Bertrand and Bill would have been a good combo.

  12. Ruth Randall

    I along with other listeners really miss Bill and Wendy. They were the highlight of my day and hopefully will be picked up by another station. Will listen less to WGN now.

  13. Anonymous

    might as well have mitch abd the russia republicans on gn

  14. Mike

    Removing Garry Meier was a big mistake by the WGN management idiots. Now they keep grasping at straws.

  15. Jesse

    To whom is making these decisions. I heard AM radio is having a hard time but in my opinion and many others, breaking up the great vibe that the current or now former radio hosts is such a bad idea. It is bad enough to get rid of Bill and Wendy and split up Roe Conn and Anna Davlantes and even worse to remove Steve Cochran and replace with Bob Surratt?! The guy is ok but not to replace Steve Cochran. The energy level and personality difference is like day and night. I’m sorry but it’s like who ever is in charge is trying to sabotage the station with these awful changes. It was perfect and now its not. Again, my opinion. I fear for AM if it is in some trouble. WGN will not lose me as a listener, yet but I know I will be listening less starting with the morning show. I gave Bob Surratt many chances in the past.

    Thank you but no thanks.
    Concerned long time listener,
    Jesse

    • Dorothy Patton

      I agree completely!
      Too many changes. As for Bob Sirott i also gave him many chances. He was a favorite of mine at one time untill he teamed up with his boring wife. I hope she is not part of his show.
      And I wish wgn didn’t dump our Cubs either. At wgn The Cubs were part of my family history.

  16. Sleepyinil

    Wow. Not happy with these changes. Won’t be listening much anymore.

  17. Eric

    Sorry to here Steve is gone and Bill & Wendy are toast.

    Not a smart move WGN.

    The Bear

  18. Eric

    Sorry to hear Steve is gone and Bill & Wendy are toast.

    Not a smart move WGN.

    The Bear

  19. Sue

    I can’t believe what you have done with your schedule!!! I used to only listen to GN. Now I can’t believe you took away Steve Cochran, Bill and Wendy, moved Steve Bertrand, gave the lunch show to the new woman, and sorry, Bob Sirott doesn’t cut it. I will only listen to John W. If I find a station I like better overall, will totally switch.
    What were you thinking?!!

  20. Norb

    Ive been a listener of WGN since my parents had it on in the 60’s In recent years I did not listen to them as much and rather listen to sports. Glad for John Williams. But one time I always was in the habit of listening to win was Sunday mornings. Great 2 hours of insightful news discussion will Rich H. Now WGN thinks it has improved the slot with canned Frank Sinatra. Give me a break. Just a dumb move and another lost listener .

  21. Sally

    I am totally upset that Steve is gone. He was so real and genuine . Bob doesn’t cut for me. As for Bill & Wendy he was ok but she irritated me so not loss for me. You should have tried harder to work things out with Steve, he will be sorely missed.

  22. Sally

    I am totally upset that Steve is gone. He was so real and genuine . Bob doesn’t cut it for me. As for Bill & Wendy he was ok but she irritated me so not a loss for me. You should have tried harder to work things out with Steve, he will be sorely missed. Gone are the days when WGN was the go to station in the morning to get u up and moving. Something to look forward to much like visiting with friends. Now I will mostly listen to Lou Mr fix it and Dean Richard on Sunday

  23. Anonymous

    I have waited to see if the morning radio would get better it has not very disappointed.
    Enjoyed listening to Bill and Wendy. Done with wgn radio

  24. Luda

    Just now found out that Steve C. is no longer on WGN! I thought it was just a vacation time. Plus, you’ve dumped Bill and Wendy! Holy cow! Is this another crazy time WGN is having like they did just a while back when ratings fell way down? Don’t like the morning show, but will listen to John Williams.

  25. Rhonda

    You have a lot to worry about you lost another listener!!!p Good bye WGN.

  26. Anonymous

    Steve Cochran – I can do without…way too into himself as a one-liner stand-up wannabe. And more about his grandkid…please stop that. Ooops, look like we have..

    But Bill and Wendy – that’s a duo who screamed Chicago and connected as such

    Anna Devlantes? Well the anagram of her name is “a tanned navel” Says it all… She is a headshot at best

  27. Pat Gaeta

    What have you done to WGN radio?
    Lost the Cubs, Cochran’s commentaries, Bill & Wendy . . . I’m taking my radio and going home without you. Go Marquette!

  28. Dana

    It is February 5th, and I just found out out WGN daytime radio has been decimated. I listen every day and kept thinking they were all still on some extended holiday vacation. Ooh, how I have been suffering. Bye Steve, Bill and Wendy. Bye WGN.

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