It used to be point of pride for Hubbard Radio that all of its Chicago stations carried nothing but live, local programming around the clock. But not anymore.
Starting November 14, a syndicated morning show from Seattle hosted by the team of Brooke Fox and Jubal Flagg — billed as “Brooke & Jubal” — will air from 6 to 9 a.m. Monday through Friday on adult contemporary WSHE FM 100.3, one of Hubbard’s three stations here in the third largest market.
Hubbard launched Brooke & Jubal at its Top 40 station in Seattle in 2011 and expanded the show to Portland in 2015. Earlier this year the company signed a syndication distribution deal with Premiere Radio Networks.
Here, according to the station’s Facebook page, are examples of the “hilarious entertainment“ listeners will hear:
- What you doin’ at the courthouse?
- 2nd date update
- Phone taps
- Shock collar trivia
- Loser line
- Missed connections
- Laser stories
Cat Thomas, program director of WSHE, called the duo “entertaining, funny, smart, and addicting.” At the same time, he acknowledged they'll be up against Eric Ferguson and Kathy Hart, the top-rated, local morning team on Hubbard’s hot adult-contemporary WTMX FM 101.9.
Why trade local for syndicated? “I think Hubbard has owned stations in Chicago for around five years, so the thing that’s most significant is that we believe we’ve identified talent that can be very successful in Chicago,” Thomas told me.
“In our opinion, it’s the hottest show in radio now. We feel that in Eric and Kathy we have the greatest local show in the history of Chicago radio, now we are bringing the hottest national morning show to Chicago. Brooke and Jubal are fun and entertaining, and fit the Hubbard Radio belief that each radio station should have engaging talent and content.”
Odd man out is Brian Peck, a nearly 25-year veteran of Chicago radio who has hosted mornings on WSHE and its predecessor since 2008. His job loss caps a difficult and challenging year for Peck, who underwent spinal fusion decompression surgery last November followed by serious complications and months of painful recovery.
“Yes, I’m disappointed, but I’m looking forward to something new,” he said of his release from Hubbard. “I respect their decision and I have no hard feelings. I’m not going to be angry about it. Who’s got time for that?”
Peck said he expects to stay on until November 11, although Thomas said he could not comment on when Peck’s last on-air day would be.
Morning news anchor Susan Wiencek is expected to shift to full-time public affairs duties. Jay Styles, former music director and afternoon host at KAMX in Austin, Texas, has been hired as board operator for Brooke & Jubal in Chicago.
In the latest Nielsen Audio survey, mornings on WSHE tied for 24th place with a 1.8 percent share and cumulative weekly audience of 420,500.
Brian Sherman and Steve Tingle debuted Monday on The Drive, where their show airs from 5:30 to 9 a.m. weekdays. The duo, formerly heard on alternative rock WKQX FM 101.1 under Emmis Communications ownership, are being reunited after five years apart.
Sherman & Tingle succeed Pete McMurray and Dan McNeil. Mornings on The Drive most recently tied for fifth place with 3.9 share and 409,300 weekly cume.