Brian Haddad, the former Chicago radio personality known as “Sludge,” is coming back to host mornings on Cumulus Media alternative rock WKQX 101.1-FM.
Starting Monday “The KQX Morning Crew” will feature Haddad, co-host Ali Mattacola and executive producer Justin Nettlebeck from 6 to 10 a.m. weekdays.
It’s been a year since 101 WKQX broke up the morning team of Brian Phillips and Lou Lombardo in a cost-cutting move while Cumulus Media struggled to emerge from bankruptcy. Phillips, who’s been hosting mornings solo, will stay on in a part-time, weekend and swing-shift role, according to Troy Hanson, vice president of operations and program director.
“Brian has taken on a larger role in voice-tracking to some of our other alternative outlets around the country, including Kansas City [and] Salt Lake City, while continuing to produce the stellar program known as ‘Alt-Backspace’ not only [for] WKQX, but for the Cumulus alternative platform as a whole,” Hanson said.
To mount a full-fledged morning show again, Cumulus Media retained Los Angeles-based programming consultant Randy Lane as talent coach. Before launching his own company in 1996, Lane served as program director of Q101 (during the heyday of morning star Robert Murphy), among other stations.
Haddad also is a veteran of Q101 as well as Chicago's former Rock 103.5 WRCX and The Zone WZZN. Since 2012 he has been working at WIP, the Entercom sports/talk station in Philadelphia, as creative director and on-air host.
"I have accepted a tremendous opportunity in another city," Haddad told Twitter followers Friday. "I am beyond grateful and fired up."
Mattacola most recently co-hosted mornings at KXXR, the Cumulus Media active rock station in Minneapolis.
Nettlebeck, who'll double as executive producer and on-air contributor to "The KQX Morning Crew," was producer of the syndicated "Free Beer & Hot Wings Morning Show" at WGRD in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
A fourth full-time contributor is expected to be named in January.
In the latest Nielsen Audio survey, mornings on 101 WKQX ranked 18th. Overall the station tied for 16th with a 2.9 percent audience share.
Monday’s comment of the day: Cathy Novakovich: What a remarkable Christmas gift to all of us loyal listeners and admirers of the one and only Lisa Dent, her persona, her character, and her ability to connect with each and every listener are all remarkable! I am truly excited to listen to the radio again and not have to jump from station to station to find someone I can tolerate listening to for more than five minutes. LOL, but it’s true. Congratulations, Lisa, thank you for being back in my life every day and offering a few hours of enjoyment, friendship, great music to all of us. Happiest of holidays to you, your dancing farmer and Liam.