Ladies and gentlemen, get ready for “The McMorning Show.”
Veteran Chicago radio personalities Dan McNeil and Pete McMurray are about to team up as morning co-hosts on Hubbard Radio classic hits WDRV FM 97.1, sources said.
If all goes as planned, the duo will succeed Steve Downes, who announced Friday he was retiring after 14 years at The Drive. Downes agreed to continue hosting the show, which airs from 5 to 10 a.m. weekdays, until his replacement is named.
McNeil, who has spent his entire 30-year Chicago radio career in the sports/talk genre, last week turned down an offer to reclaim his former job as midday personality on CBS Radio sports/talk WSCR AM 670. “It's true the Score and I didn't reach an agreement and I remain a free agent,” he told fans on Facebook. “To those of you who are disappointed, I assure you I'm not finished world shakin' yet. You will get ample notice where you can find me.”
More surprising than McNeil’s move to The Drive is that of McMurray, whose star has been on the rise at Tribune Media news/talk WGN AM 720. The Peoria native has been busy in Chicago ever since he joined the former WCKG in 1998. Following two stints on WCKG, two on WLUP FM 97.9, and two on WKQX FM 101.1, McMurray landed at WGN as late-night host in September 2013 and was promoted to evenings five months later.
McMurray told WGN bosses Tuesday that he was leaving to accept an offer from The Drive.
Greg Solk, senior vice president of programming for Hubbard Radio, declined to comment Tuesday.
But the pairing of the mercurial, opinionated McNeil with the steady and affable McMurray bears the trademark of Solk, a shrewd programmer who has worked with both personalities in the past. While capitalizing on the popularity of the two characters, the move appears aimed at strengthening The Drive’s appeal to its target audience of men between 25 and 54.
In the latest Nielsen Audio survey, mornings on The Drive tied for eight place overall with a 2.9 percent share and cumulative weekly audience of 341,400. Among men 25-54, mornings tied for ninth place with a 3.4 share and weekly cume of 133,900.