Published on Friday, 27 April 2012 14:40
According to inside sources, earlier today, WLUP-FM/97.9 The Loop released its longest tenured rock DJ, Byrd. He had been with the radio station since 2003.
In his nine years with the station, Byrd has worked every shift there, starting as its late night DJ. He has been the morning show host twice, worked middays, and more recently, worked afternoon drive, as the station's #1 rated personality. In the last few months, the station's new management & ownership decided to no longer have daypart shifts and has had the DJs pre-record parts to be inserted between songs throughout the entire day and night.
Byrd has also been pre-recording sports news updates, which were played in the later half of the day on sister-station WIQI-FM/FM News 101.1. With Byrd's exit from WLUP-FM, he will no longer be doing sports updates on WIQI-FM.
John "Byrd" Kempf has been a fan of Chicago radio since he was a child. Growing up in Fort Frances, Ontario, he would be able to pick up the Chicago radio waves, especially at night. At 15, he started working at an AM radio station in Fort Frances, just over the border from International Falls, MN. That propelled him on to a career in radio that has gone on for almost 35 years since then. Byrd has worked at radio stations in Canada in Winnipeg and Toronto, as well as across the United States in Las Vegas, St. Louis, Philadelphia, and the Baltimore/Washington, D.C. area. A huge fan & aficionado of harder rock and roll, Byrd has been fortunate enough to have worked at rock stations for all but two of his many years in radio.
The "Byrd" nickname was given to him as young boy growing up in Canada, before he even started in radio. He had considered becoming a biologist, before being taken over by the radio bug.
Byrd was often seen at Loop events over the last decade, emceeing shows, introducing artists on stage for the station, and meeting with fans. He was known for his deep voice, rock & roll knowledge, long blond hair, and his usual attire of blue jeans & cowboy boots. More than that, Byrd was known as Chicago's best rock & roll jock on The Loop.
In a 2007 interview
with Rick Kaempfer for Chicago Radio Spotlight, Bryd said about working here: "I am where I have always hoped and aspired to be... in Chicago and at the Loop, no less! I don't want to be anywhere else, so I would like to stay as long as the fine citizens of Chicago will have me."
So far, there has been no comment from management for the reason behind Byrd's exit.