Rebranded ‘Eric in the Morning’ to share billing with ‘Melissa & Whip’

Eric Ferguson

After 21 years as “The Eric & Kathy Show,” Chicago radio’s top-rated morning program will officially be known as “Eric in the Morning with Melissa & Whip,” sources said Tuesday.

Host Eric Ferguson is expected to unveil the new name during Wednesday morning’s show on WTMX FM 101.9, the Hubbard Radio hot adult-contemporary station.

The rebranding was prompted by the departure of Kathy Hart after 21 years as Ferguson’s co-host on The Mix. Hart had been off the air since late April, but the station formally severed ties with her last week.

Melissa McGurren, Brian “Whip” Paruch and Eric Ferguson

The new title reflects Ferguson’s status as solo host while recognizing the roles of longtime contributors Melissa McGurren and Brian “Whip” Paruch as key members of the cast. No new personnel are expected to be added to the show.

McGurren and Paruch were said to be included in the new name at Ferguson’s insistence. “Eric said it was important to him that they were part of it too,” according to one insider at the station.

Hart’s exit also has drawn the attention of the competition. WKSC FM 103.5, the iHeartMedia Top 40 station known as Kiss FM (and home of Ferguson's rivals Christopher “Fred” Frederick and Angi Taylor), this week unveiled billboards on Chicago area expressways that read: “Kathy Hart, Thank You For 21 Incredible Years.”

Kiss FM