Morning radio upheaval: B96 drops Gabe and Nina morning show; Eric Ferguson off WTMX (for now)

Low ratings cited as factor; Eric Ferguson off the air until end of month

Get ready for changes at two local radio stations in morning drive, and one of them involves Chicago’s highest-paid radio personality. 

For starters, there are big changes in store for Audacy’s WBBM-FM/B96 in the morning. 

The incumbent show on the contemporary-hit radio station is expected to be replaced in the not-too-distant-future, as a job listing was posted on their website: 

“Have you dreamed about working at the legendary B96 Chicago? This could be your big break. Audacy Chicago has a very rare morning show opening at WBBM-FM B96. We are looking for you and your team to create Chicago’s newest and innovative morning show to wake up Chicago.” 

A job posting this public is quite rare in the industry as most companies keep any decisions like this private in order not to tip off the competition. But what makes this even more unusual is one-half of the morning team – is still on the air at the station. 

The listing obviously means the end of The Gabe and Nina Show, or more accurately, The Gabe Show as co-host Nina Hajian abruptly departed back in August for unknown reasons, leaving Gabe Ramirez to anchor solo. While Ramirez is still listed on the station’s website, all references to Hajian were scrubbed clean. The duo was originally part of Drex’s morning show in 2018, but both assumed the hosting mantle after B96 dropped the former WKSC-FM jock after ten months. Ramirez was also a part of Jamar McNeil’s morning show until he left in March 2018 after a decade (the first four years, McNeil shared billing with Julian Nieh.)

In the most recent PPM rankings, Gabe and Nina ranked at the bottom of the ratings, coming in 22nd place. In the previous report, they finished in 25th place. 

The move comes as Chicago morning radio could be in for a shakeup as the future of Eric Ferguson’s tenure is in serious doubt. The WTMX morning star has been off the air since allegations of sexual misconduct has surfaced from his former female co-workers and more surfaced today from former co-host Melissa McGurren. On Tuesday, WTMX owner Hubbard said he would be off until the end of this month, as Robert Feder is reporting. It’s likely he’ll be off longer than that. 

As for B96, the station has had a difficult time replicating the success of the successful Eddie & JoBo morning show, which lasted twenty years through two separate stints. As the pandemic changed commuting habits (with more people working at home and not the office and thus, not commuting), it’s going to tougher than ever to launch a successful morning radio show, and it’s a situation WTMX will soon find themselves in as their morning star is likely toast. 

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