Replacing the designation the station has carried since 1987 (when “WNUA” signified its nascent New Age music format), iHeartMedia Chicago is expected to flip to WEBG FM 95.5 within the next day or two.
"WNUA FM 95.5 has played an integral role in the Chicagoland community for 28 years," Matt Scarano, president of iHeartMedia Chicago, said in a statement Monday. “The station's call letters may be changing to WEBG FM to reflect the recent launch of Big 95.5, Chicago's Hit Country, but I can assure you that the station's commitment to the community remains unchanged."
For most of the last 28 years on the air, WNUA was synonymous with smooth jazz in Chicago. In 2009 the station switched to Spanish-language pop music and more recently to a regional Mexican El Patrón format. Neither Spanish format achieved the ratings or revenue success of its predecessor.
Earlier call letters for the frequency included WDHF, WMET and WRXR.
Since the surprise move to country music January 5, station bosses have been assembling an air staff for Big 95.5, including the previously announced hiring of Mason Schreader and Zach “Remy” Hoesly as morning personalities and Steve Stewart as program director. All three are in from KSD, iHeartMedia’s country station in St. Louis.
Starting Tuesday, Stewart also will double as the station’s midday personality, hosting from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday. Afternoon and evening personalities are expected to be announced later this week.
“This is the job everyone waits for — launching a BIG station in a huge market,” Stewart said in the statement announcing his appointment Friday. “I can’t be more excited to lead this team in what is a historic station launch of the New Big 95.5!”