US 99.5 rebrands as ‘Chicago’s Hottest Country’

"Chicago's Hottest Country"

"Chicago's Hottest Country"

The first phase of rebranding CBS Radio country WUSN FM 99.5 rolled out Monday with the new slogan “Chicago’s Hottest Country.”

“It’s important that we reflect today’s country listener in everything we do,” program director Jeff Kapugi said in a statement. “The artists, music and concerts are hot and now so is ‘US 99 Chicago’s Hottest Country.’ ”

Soon to follow will be announcements of new on-air talent in mornings and evenings. Last week US 99 parted company with morning hosts Lisa Dent and Ramblin’ Ray Stevens and nighttime host Joel “Jax” Lisinski.

Stevens joined Cumulus Media news/talk WLS AM 890 as morning co-host, reuniting Monday with Big John Howell, his former partner at US 99.

Todd Cavanah, vice president of programming for CBS Radio Chicago, said the new branding is the first step in plans for “some exciting new changes coming to US 99.”

Now, Kapugi added, “everything must pass the filter of what’s hot,” including the station’s on-air imaging, talent and how it’s marketed on the streets.

The refreshment comes as US 99 faces stiff competition from iHeartMedia’s WEBG FM 95.5, which launched a competing country format in January 2015. In the latest Nielsen Audio survey, US 99.5 ranked 12th with a 3.0 percent share and cumulative weekly audience of 1, 227,200, while Big 95.5 tied for 18th with 2.4 share and 966,400 weekly cume.