Elroy Smith drops Chicago radio plans

Elroy Smith

Elroy Smith

Elroy Smith, the former Chicago radio programmer who led two urban stations to the top of the ratings, won’t be making a comeback here after all.

Eight months after he announced plans to pay Calvary Radio Network a record $4.6 million for a 10-watt translator atop Willis Tower, the deal has been scrapped. “I wanted you to know that Calvary Radio Network and I have mutually agreed to terminate the pending sale of translator W264BF Chicago,” Smith wrote in an email Saturday.

Smith never commented on his plans for the frequency, but sources said he had been expected to use it for an inspirational gospel music format, which also would have aired on one of Hubbard Radio’s dormant HD 2 channels.

Instead Smith said he has accepted a new position as operations manager of four stations owned by Summit Media Corp. in Greenville, South Carolina. He starts there April 1.

“This is a great day for me,” Smith said in a statement. "The decision to join Summit Media is exciting and marks a new chapter in my radio career. I look forward in overseeing all four brands including market leader 107.3 JAMZ and Top 40/rhythmic giant HOT 98.1. . . . I cannot wait to join such a wonderful team of committed broadcasters.”

He did not elaborate on why the Chicago deal fell through.

Smith was a giant figure in Chicago radio from 1992 to 2007 as operations manager and program director of urban contemporary WGCI FM 107.5 and urban adult-contemporary WVAZ FM 102.7, both owned by Clear Channel Radio (now iHeartMedia). He also programmed inspirational gospel WGRB AM 1390.