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WGN-TV Newscast Changes - More Hours, Anchors Change Shifts
Aug 19 2014 12:00

As part of its new fall schedule, WGN-TV is making numerous changes to its newscasts. The changes are happening in the mornings and afternoons, with an extra hour of news [ ... ]

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WCKG-AM Moves To New Studios In Oakbrook Terrace
Aug 19 2014 10:05

WCKG-AM 1530 has fully moved in to their brand new, state-of-the-art studios and executive offices as of this past week. The new WCKG-AM location is within the luxurious  [ ... ]

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Steve & Johnnie Return To WGN-AM For Labor Day Fill-In Role
Aug 19 2014 09:15

For the second time in under a year, beloved WGN Radio overnight radio duo of Steve King and Johnnie Putman will be making their return to the Chicago airwaves. This will [ ... ]

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Muchin & Bellow's 'The Dirty Truth' Becomes 'The Big Payoff' - Moves To WGN.FM
Aug 19 2014 08:00

Internet-only radio station WGN.FM has picked up a new weekly business show entitled "The Big Payoff." Hosted by Suzanne Muchin and Rachel Bellow, this live 60-minute pro [ ... ]

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ABC 7 Officially Announces New Daytime Schedule; WCL To Have Week Of Double Shows
Aug 18 2014 12:45

WLS-TV/ABC 7 officially announced its new fall daytime schedule today. Among the changes are the addition of "The Rachael Ray Show," the shifting of some shows back to th [ ... ]

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WGN-TV's Rich King Gets 'Back In The Game' With New Book
Aug 18 2014 11:15

WGN-TV sports anchor/reporter Rich King will soon be releasing a new book about his life, entitled "Back In The Game." The personal story looks at a recent chapter in Kin [ ... ]

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Executive Changes At Univision Chicago: Larry Sands Exiting; Doug Levy Promoted
Aug 18 2014 09:10

Major changes are taking place this month with media giant Univision Communications. These nationwide changes have numerous executives exiting and some being promoted. Th [ ... ]

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Jack Diamond Not Taking WLS-FM Morning Job; Signs With Tijuana/San Diego Radio Station
Aug 16 2014 10:30

For the last week of July, Cumulus-owned WLS-FM gave a "tryout" to a new morning show host, Jack Diamond. Speculation had it that Diamond was a lock to become the new ful [ ... ]

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WMAQ-TV Announces New 11:00am Newscast & Anchors
Aug 15 2014 18:00

WMAQ-TV/NBC 5 will be making some changes to its midday schedule next month, ending its 30-minute Noon newscast, but adding a new 60-minute 11:00am newscast. Announced to [ ... ]

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News & Notes: Terri Hemmert; Star 105.5; St Augustine/Johnson; Ryan Chiaverini/Dave Plier;...
Aug 15 2014 16:45

This weekend's News & Notes features a dozen news items from the Chicagoland media beat, including: Terri Hemmert hosts the Fest For Beatles Fans once again; Star 105.5 h [ ... ]

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WSCR-AM Parts Ways With Dan McNeil
Aug 15 2014 13:00

WSCR-AM/670 The Score and CBS Radio Chicago have officially parted ways with their longtime personality Dan McNeil. After nearly two months of contract negotiations, McNe [ ... ]

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WGN-TV To Broadcast 2014 Arlington Million Horse Race
Aug 14 2014 15:35

For the fourth year in a row, WGN-TV will be airing the Arlington Million live from Arlington Park Racetrack. This will take place on Saturday, August 16th, from 5:00pm-6 [ ... ]

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Chicago Weather:

Partly Cloudy

70°F

Chicago, IL

Partly Cloudy

Humidity: 84%

Wind: 7 mph

  • 20 Aug 2014

    Mostly Sunny 84°F 70°F

  • 21 Aug 2014

    Thunderstorms 86°F 76°F

WIQI-FM Flips Formats Once Again

One month ago, WIQI-FM abruptly canceled its FM News 101.1 news/talk format and flipped the station to a classic hits format, focusing primarily on music from the 1990s. There were some late 1980s and early 2000s music worked in, but what set the station apart from others in Chicago was the station's focus on the 90's hits.

Over the last week, i101 began confusing some listeners, by mixing in some current and recent Hot Adult Contemporary hits in to the playlist, including artists like LMFAO and Flo Rida. As of just before Midnight last night, the 80s and 90s music is gone and i101 has become just another Hot A/C station, playing mostly current & recent pop hits -- the same music that can be found on other Chicago radio stations, including WTMX-FM and WLIT-FM.

Fan reaction to today's switch has been brutal. The Facebook page for i101 has not received one single positive comment about the dumping of the 90s music. Here is a very small sampling of comments just from the last two hours:

"What happened here??? Are you suffering from an identity crisis? Where are the 90's songs? I like Adelle and Gotye, but it doesn't mean they fit your format. There are a few CHR stations I could tune to listen to contemporary hits. Please, go back to normal! I miss my favorite music that you used to play. Have been listening for 30 minutes and I can barely stand it anymore..."

"Everything that is on this morning is horrible..."

"Seriously, there are enough current pop rock stations in Chicago! Go back to what people liked - the 90's and EARLY 2000's..."

"I was so happy to discover a station that was playing 90's music....please stop playing the new crap! "

"I am so going back to Pandora until they fix this crap!"

"What's going on!? You guys had the best radio station ever and now you just have another B96! Those first few weeks were awesome! Go bad to old format please!! I don't want to take the station off my favorites already."

"What happened? I had to change stations this morning because you were playing all newer pop music....you really had a cool thing going with the old school hits :("

"Dear i101,
I thought we had something special. I really loved you and then I find out you betrayed me. I turned on my radio this a.m., and heard you, as I do every morning. But today you said some horrible, nasty things! Adele???? Kelly Clarkson????? Really? If I wanted to hear that, I would tune into 96.3, 103.5, 102.3, or 103.7. I really thought you were different. We just might be over, i101!!!"

"Don't think you'll be making 101 friends today, I'm not sayin I'm just sayin..."


WIQI-FM is owned by Merlin Media, LLC, which is run by CEO Randy Michaels. Even though the company's radio stations have Operations Managers, Program Directors, Music Directors, etc., all primary decisions regarding what is heard on the Merlin Media airwaves is made solely by Randy Michaels himself. Michaels is a notorious "tinkerer" when it comes to his radio stations. Formats are constantly tweaked, altered, or dramatically changed on a whim, with little advance thought given to the decisions. WIQI-FM's previous format, FM News 101.1, seemed to have made major changes about every three weeks, making it near impossible to achieve a steady audience, as every time the station gained traction, orders from the CEO to make shifts stopped that traction. It would appear as if the CEO's "tinkering" is still happening at WIQI-FM, even though it is no longer a news format.

The FM News 101.1 staff was forced to work under a cloud of confusion, not knowing what their roles were supposed to be from day to day, as the upper executives of the company could not make up their minds what they wanted to do with the station or wanted their employees to do. None of that has changed, even though 101.1 FM has gone from news to music.

At the end of last month, Merlin Media announced to staffers (not publicly) that they would be moving Pete McMurray and Jane Monzures to mornings at i101, giving them a new radio home after removing them from WLUP-FM to make room for longtime Randy Michaels/Clear Channel employee Maxwell. The Merlin Media Chicago sales staff were told to find advertisers for i101's new morning show, which would be starting within two weeks. Now, more than two weeks into August, i101 is still without a morning show. McMurray has been reduced to only providing occasional sports reports to his now-former WLUP-FM morning show, while Jane Monzures is still waiting to hear if/when she will be needed on the air next.

The confusion at the Merlin Media stations is far from over... Chicago radio insiders are now openly talking about Merlin Media's investors' extreme disappointment with the current CEO, as well as the company's lack of direction and success. Merlin Media's primary investors, Chicago-based investment firm GTCR, could be looking at ousting Michaels before the end of this year, installing an interim CEO of their choosing (a radio executive, whose name should be very familiar to Chicago radio fans), and possibly selling off the company's four radio stations in 2013. Plans on purchasing more radio stations in other markets, including stations in Florida and California, have all been scrapped.

The mood of the executives at Chicago's Merlin Media offices at the Merchandise Mart has been described by one insider as "desperate and angry."


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The Chicagoland Radio & Media website (abbreviated as CRM) is a celebration of all things relating to Chicago-area media matters. CRM is a news source, a location for fans to voice their opinions, and an online museum of Chicago media's past and present, with a hopeful eye to its future. For the visitors, readers, and fans of the website, CRM is a both a resource and a release, both educational and an escape, and both factual and fun.

If it has a connection to Chicago area radio, television, print, and/or other forms of media -- information on it can be found here at ChicagolandRadioAndMedia.com!