Joining WLS, Steve Dahl declares: ‘Radio's not dead yet’

Steve Dahl

Steve Dahl

Despite his oft-stated misgivings about the current state of radio, Steve Dahl insists he’s eager to get back on the air to become “part of the daily conversation in Chicago.”

Confirming a report here Tuesday, Dahl said he has signed to host afternoons on Cumulus Media news/talk WLS AM 890, starting November 3. Airing between syndicated talkers Rush Limbaugh and Michael Savage, he’ll be on from 2 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The Chicago broadcast legend and Radio Hall of Famer will replace the afternoon duo of Roe Conn and Richard Roeper, whose contracts expire at the end of the year. Conn and Roeper were removed from the station’s website Wednesday and were not expected back on the air.

WLS logoDahl’s three-year deal, which was negotiated by agent Steve Mandell, also makes Cumulus Media a partner in Dahl’s subscription podcast venture. Under the agreement, he will continue to host a separate, 90-minute daily podcast for paid subscribers to the Steve Dahl Network.

“I love doing the podcast and it takes me to new places both creatively and emotionally every day,” Dahl said. “What it can’t provide, and what I miss the most about being on the radio is being part of the daily conversation in Chicago. The people at Cumulus have shown me that radio's not dead yet and that podcasts are an integral part of broadcasting’s future. It’s the best of both worlds and a great partnership.”

Dahl, 59, who’s been podcasting from his basement studio at home, said he’ll host his new afternoon show from WLS studios at 190 North State Street. Joining him on the air each day will be musician Dag Juhlin and producer Brendan Greeley, both familiar figures to Dahlcast listeners. News anchor Jennifer Keiper and traffic reporter Christina Filiaggi are expected to continue (although traffic reports no longer will air every 10 minutes in afternoons).

“We are both invigorating a medium I have loved since I was a boy and boldly charting a course for the future,” Dahl said of Cumulus. “I know that both the subscribers and the radio listeners will see it — hear it — that way too. I will give them the best I have to offer in both disciplines every single day. I will not squander this boundless opportunity.”

In a statement announcing Dahl’s hiring, WLS operations manager Peter Bolger said: “Chicago and WLS are known for great radio personalities. That’s why I’m proud and excited to have Steve Dahl back on The Big 89.”

Roe Conn

Roe Conn

It appears to be the end of an amicable and rewarding partnership for Conn and Roeper, who likely will go their separate ways. Conn, 50, a 25-year veteran of WLS, had been teamed since 2010 with Roeper, 54, the Sun-Times columnist and movie critic. Conn continues as a regular contributor to “Windy City Live” on ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7. Roeper continues with the Sun-Times and the Reelz Channel.

“We’re still sorting through all of the contractual stuff,” Conn said of his WLS exit. “The outpouring on social media has really been great to see. I’m not sure where this all ends up, but I feel really honored so many loyal listeners gave me the opportunity to make an impact on a radio station I grew up listening to and admired so much.”