Cumulus Media is finally getting down to business in its search for a new morning personality at WLUP FM 97.9.
Starting Monday, the classic rock station will begin a series of four weeklong "tryouts," testing various potential hosts and inviting listeners to register their feedback. The morning slot has been open since last September when The Loop revamped its lineup and parted company with Benjamin Bornstein, who was known on the air as Maxwell.
Cumulus Media bosses are hoping to generate buzz by keeping the names of the hosts under wraps, but the first up is expected to be Abe Kanan, the pioneering Chicago podcaster whose show enjoyed a three-year run on Howard Stern's Sirius/XM Radio channel. Kanan’s on-air ensemble includes his brother Sam, Ryan Manno and Dan “Bass” Levy.
On Thursday Kanan tweeted: “Got something Cooooo going on next week with Ryan, Sam, and Bass! Check back Sunday night. I'll be able to announce it! #Cooooo.”
Kanan began his career as a 19-year-old morning show intern for Mancow Muller, then at alternative rock WKQX FM 101.1. Coincidentally, Muller is also on the list of radio personalities who are expected to participate in The Loop’s “Morning Radio Casting Call.”
Muller has been off the air since last October, when his morning show on Fox-owned WPWR-Channel 50 ended its two-year run. “I’ve worked nonstop since 1985,” he said at the time. “I’m taking a break.”
It’s not known who else will turn up as part of the monthlong stunt, but Loop managers are believed to have met in recent weeks with a wide range of local and out-of-town talent, including Dan McNeil, former midday host at CBS Radio sports/talk WSCR AM 670, and Richard Roeper, Sun-Times movie critic and former afternoon co-host at Cumulus Media news/talk WLS AM 890.
(Thursday night update: Also set to audition for the morning job is Liz Wilde, the veteran radio personality who hosted evenings on The Loop in 1995. She’ll broadcast from studios in South Florida the week of February 16. “I am coming home darling . . . lol,” she wrote.)
Cumulus Media has been operating The Loop and WKQX since January 2014, when it signed a local marketing agreement with Merlin Media for both stations with an option to buy.
In the latest Nielsen Audio survey, The Loop ranked 21st in mornings with a 1.5 percent share and cumulative weekly audience of 297,600.
Here’s what the Loop posted on its website Thursday:
YOU put the U in WLUP
Hey Loopers! Hear personalities try out for the morning shift on The Loop. Starting Monday February 2nd, tune in, turn up and sound off. Listen from 6:00 am to 9:00 am then plan to give feedback here at WLUP.com. Just think, you might be the first to hear the next big thing … or the first to say, "ahh, next!"
Each week you'll hear a new personality trying-out. Listen each weekday morning in February and tell us what you really think. The Loop has been around this long, because Loopers have been telling us what to do since 1977.
It's a morning radio casting call!
Here's what we're asking: listen to 97-9 The Loop every morning through the whole month of February. Each week you'll hear a new personality vying for the gig. At the end of the week, take a few minutes on WLUP.com to share your opinion. What's that saying, "if you don't vote you can't bitch?" Loopers may not care what others think, but we care what you think. Thanks for participating in this great radio experiment.