Veteran radio personality Jonathon Brandmeier, who’s been off the air and on the loose since late last year, may have just lost his last, best chance to return to Chicago radio.
Brandmeier, according to insiders, turned down a golden opportunity to host mornings on WJMK FM 104.3, the CBS Radio classic hits station known as K-Hits. Sources familiar with the offer described it as a “content partnership deal” that would have included revenue-sharing tied to Brandmeier’s digital platform.
Now it’s unclear where or when Johnny B. will be heard from again.
Listeners were left in the lurch last December when Brandmeier’s morning show was dropped by Tribune Media, which had consigned him to an Internet outlet at WGN.fm and a defunct low-power sports/talk station at 87.7 FM. Since then, his only communication was a January 4 Facebook message saying: “We’re headed to a new studio in Somewhereville. When we know more, you’ll know more. . . . Nothing is over until we decide it is!”
After weeks of private meetings between Brandmeier and K-Hits program director Todd Cavanah resulted in no agreement, sources said, the station this week renewed its current morning host, Dave Fogel, for two more years.
“Any good program director stays in touch with talent that’s available,” Cavanah said, declining further comment. Brandmeier did not respond to a request for comment.
Fogel, a familiar voice on Chicago radio since 1996, worked at classic rock WLUP FM 97.9, hot adult-contemporary WTMX FM 101.9 and classic hits WLS FM 94.7 before he replaced Ed Volkman and Joe "Jobo" Colborn at K-Hits in January 2013.
In the latest Nielsen Audio survey, Fogel’s morning show ranked 18th with a 2.2 percent share and cumulative weekly audience of 350,000. Among listeners between 25 and 54, the show tied for 19th with a 2.3 share and 190,400 weekly cume.