WLS FM gets new program director

Brian Thomas

Brian Thomas

Cumulus Media is dispatching a seasoned corporate program executive from New York to become the new program director of WLS FM 94.7.

Brian Thomas starts August 1 as program director of the classic hits station here, according to an internal announcement Monday by Peter Bowen, vice president and Chicago market manager of Cumulus Media.

Thomas joined Cumulus Media in April 2014 and served as program director of WNSH, the company’s country station in New York, in addition to his duties as corporate program director. At WLS FM, he succeeds Jan Jeffries, who shifted earlier this month to WRQX, the company’s Top 40 station in Washington, D.C.

The move reunites Thomas and Bowen, who worked together on their previous jobs at CBS Radio, where Thomas was national vice president of classic hits programming and Bowen was director of sales in Los Angeles. “His experience and relationships with this format make him an incredible addition to our team,” Bowen said of Thomas in a memo to staff.

The first order of business for Thomas will be to hire a new evening personality to replace John Records Landecker, who announced Monday he was quitting after three and a half years at WLS FM, effective this Friday.

No change is expected in the station’s classic hits format.

In the latest Nielsen Audio survey, WLS FM ranked 14th overall with a 2.8 share and cumulative weekly audience of 1,228,000. Among listeners between 25 and 54, WLS FM tied for 18th with a 2.1 share and 554,900 cume.

Here is the text of Bowen’s memo to the staff Monday:

I’m pleased to announce that effective August 1st, Brian Thomas will be relocating to Cumulus Chicago at WLS-FM as our program director. Brian comes to Chicago from Cumulus New York, where he served as Corporate PD for several formats, including classic hits. Prior to that, I had the honor of working with Brian on several projects while he served as Program Director of WCBS-FM in New York. His experience and relationships with this format make him an incredible addition to our team.
These are some exciting times at Cumulus Chicago, as we have added two of the most talented programmers in the business in the last 30 days — not to mention the continued success of WKQX, the resurgence of The Loop, and play-by-play with the White Sox and Bulls. Troy and Brian will work alongside Wade and Peter Bolger to make sure we have best possible programs, events and ratings to monetize in the marketplace.
To our success!