Dan McNeil erupts at The Drive

Dan McNeil

Dan McNeil

Following a high-decibel eruption with his bosses, Chicago radio personality Dan McNeil was missing Friday from the morning show he co-hosts with Pete McMurray on Hubbard Radio classic hits WDRV FM 97.1.

Although McNeil has a long history of altercations with colleagues at other stations throughout his colorful career, up to now there hadn’t been any reports of bad behavior since he joined The Drive last year.

What set him off Thursday, sources said, was an order from his bosses not to talk about Greg Solk on his show. Solk, the radio impresario who created The Drive and hired McNeil and McMurray, was forced out earlier in the week as senior vice president of programming and operations of Hubbard Radio.

“Dan came out screaming in the hallway when he heard that he was being asked not to mention Greg Solk on the air,” said a witness to the scene. Others described it as a “loud verbal outburst” aimed at program director Rob Cressman.

Management downplayed the episode and insisted that McNeil had not been suspended. They attributed his absence from Friday’s show to unspecified “personal matters.” McNeil did not respond to a request for comment.

“There was a healthy, productive discussion about how we’re going to move forward,” said John Gallagher, vice president and market manager of Hubbard Radio Chicago. “Everybody is onboard and planning on being involved.”

It was not known when McNeil would be back on the air. McMurray also was off Friday, but for him it was a previously scheduled vacation day. Producer Scott Miller filled in on the show alongside news anchor Kathy Voltmer.

McNeil and McMurray, both longtime Chicago radio personalities, debuted as morning team on The Drive in March 2015.

After an initially strong start in the ratings, they’ve been underperforming the rest of the station significantly. In the latest Nielsen Audio survey, The Drive ranked eighth overall with a 3.4 percent share of all listeners, while mornings tied for 15th with a 2.5 share. In the target demo of men between 25 and 54, The Drive ranked second overall with 5.0 share while mornings were ninth with a 3.6 share.