Hubbard Broadcasting’s Hot AC station 101.9 The Mix (WTMX-FM) has found a replacement for Eric Ferguson and they didn’t have to look far.
Beginning January 24, afternoon co-host Chris Petlak is being promoted to mornings to co-host with Nikki Chuminatto, Violeta Podrumedic, Brian “Whip” Paduch, and John “Swany” Swanson. The program continues in its 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. time slot.
“It’s beyond exciting to start this new chapter and build The Morning Mix alongside Swany, Nikki, Whip and Violeta”, said Petlak in a press release. “I am proud that I have been part of the Hubbard Chicago family for so long and grateful that Jeff England, Greg Strassell and Jimmy Steal have entrusted me with this opportunity. Now, it’s time to ask Alexa to set a very early alarm.” (he’d better have a reliable internet connection.)
Petlak had been co-host with Lisa Allen in afternoons, where they ranked sixth in the last ratings period (skewed of course, by another station’s Christmas music format.)
A Chicago-area native, Petlak interned at WTMX and risen through the ranks from intern to promotions assistant to contributing material for the Eric & Kathy show. After three years in Los Angeles working at Ryan Seacrest Enterprises as social media manager (a position he also held at Hubbard Chicago) and dabbling in a few other projects, Petlak returned to WTMX in 2019 as evening post and joined Allen as afternoon co-host eighteen months ago. Petlak also created and starred in a short-lived streaming series called The Jamz, set at a fictional Chicago radio station and starred in a short film, This Is Cindy.
The promotion comes after a tumultuous period at 101.9 The Mix with the fallout of the Ferguson saga after it was revealed he was involved in several sexual harassment incidents with staff, including Melissa McGurren and Cynthia DeNicolo among others as both are currently suing Ferguson. The show’s once-dominant ratings plunged and Ferguson stepped down as host of the morning show last October.
As for the afternoon shift, Allen is hosting solo until a replacement is named.