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WGN Reveals Full Details Of New Lineup

720 WGN Steve Cochran Bill Leff Wendy Snyder Bob Sirott Marianne Murciano Jonathan Brandmeier Jimmy de Castro

Update 8/29: WGN has officially announced its new lineup that will debut on Tuesday, September 3. In addition to the previously announced additions, Wendy Snyder will join the station as Bill Leff’s co-host. The pair worked together at then Hot Talk 97.9 WLUP and Alternative “Q101” WKQX in the 1990’s. Snyder had been doing traffic reports for Cumulus Talk 890 WLS.

WGN will also be teaming with Radiate Media for a new traffic service.

The press release with the full schedule details follows:

WGN Radio today announced changes to its weekday and weekend lineups effective September 2013.

Beginning Tuesday, September 3, Steve Cochran returns to WGN Radio full time as host of the morning show weekdays from 5a.m. to 9a.m. The mid-morning time slot becomes a radio reunion for Bill Leff & Wendy Snyder. The Bill & Wendy Show will air and stream from 9a.m. to 12p.m, followed by husband-and-wife duo Bob Sirott and Marianne Murciano from 12p.m. to 3p.m. Garry Meier will continue to host the afternoon drive show from 3-7p.m, with the David Kaplan Show airing from 7p.m. to 11p.m. Pete McMurray expands his role with the station as the 11p.m. to 2a.m. host and WGN veteran Nick Digilio moves to the 2a.m. to 5a.m. time slot.

The return of Kathy O’Malley and Judy Markey to the station on Saturdays from 10a.m. to 12p.m. highlights the weekend lineup changes, effective Saturday, September 14. Other changes include The Design Dude with Frank Fontana airing from 6a.m to 7a.m., followed by Mr. Fix-it with Lou Manfredini from 7a.m. to 10a.m. When not affected by sports preemptions, Bill Moller will follow Kathy and Judy from 12p.m. to 3p.m., and Sports Central will remain in the 3p.m. to 6:00p.m time slot.

The Sunday lineup will introduce a new show dedicated to the discussion of the Chicago political landscape. Chicago Tribune writer, Rick Pearson will host “Chicago Way: Politics with Pearson” on Sundays from 7a.m. to 9a.m. The Dean Richards Sunday Special will follow at 9a.m., extending an additional two hours until 1p.m. In addition to his Saturday show, Bill Moller will air from 1p.m. to 3p.m. Brian Noonan remains in the 6p.m. to 9p.m. time slot, followed by the return of Chicago treasure, Rick Kogan, from 9p.m. to 11p.m. Comedian and media personality, Patti Vasquez, will air from 11p.m. to 2a.m.

Playing a feature role in the future of WGN-AM’s new lineup will be 720 Snackables. These spotlight segments will live online and on-air as interviews, video shorts, and podcasts. They’ll feature the WGN family of experts including Dean Richards’ “A-List Interviews”, “Legally Speaking with Karen Conti”, “Bertrand on Books” with Steve Bertrand, “Flavor HD” with Hannah Stanley & Dane Neal, “Steve Dale’s Pet World”, Paul Green’s “Paul & The Politicians”, “Good Cents with Ilyce Glink”, and more.

New schedule effective September 2013:

WEEKDAYS
– 2-5a.m.: Nick Digilio
– 5-9a.m.: Steve Cochran
– 9a.m.-12p.m.: Bill & Wendy (Leff & Snyder)
– 12-3p.m.: Sirott and Murciano
– 3-7p.m.: Garry Meier
– 7-11p.m.: David Kaplan
– 11p.m.-2a.m.: Pete McMurray

SATURDAY
– 2-5a.m..: Matt Bubala
– 5-6a.m.: The Morning Show with Orion Samuelson & Max Armstrong
– 6-7a.m..: The Design Dude Frank Fontana
– 7-10a.m.: Mr. Fix-it Lou Manfredini
– 10a.m.-12p.m.: Kathy & Judy
– 12-3p.m: Bill Moller
– 3-6p.m.: Sports Central
– 6-8p.m.: Girls Night Out with Hannah Stanley
– 8p.m-Midnight – Nick Digilio

SUNDAY
– Midnight-5:00a.m. Various Hosts
– 5:00a.m.-5:30a.m.: Great Outdoors with Charlie Potter
– 5:30-6:00a.m.: Love Changes Life
– 6-6:30a.m.: The Lutheran Hour
– 6:30-7a.m.: Steve Dale’s Pet World
– 7-9a.m.: The Chicago Way: Politics with Pearson
– 9a.m.-1p.m.: The Dean Richards Sunday Special
– 1-3p.m.: Bill Moller
– 3-6p.m.:Sports Central
– 6-9p.m.: Brian Noonan
– 9p.m.-11p.m: After Hours with Rick Kogan
– 11p.m.-2a.m. Patti Vasquez

Update 8/20 12:15pm: WGN has confirmed the lineup changes with the Chicago Tribune. In addition to what Feder reported below, both Bill Leff in the 9am-12pm timeslot and Garry Meier in the 3-7pm slot will gain co-hosts to be named. Kathy O’Malley and Judy Markey, who hosted middays at the station from 1989 until 2009 will return to the station to host a Saturday show.

Brandmeier will host a show online at WGNFM.com while the station seeks a true FM outlet for him and the station to expand its brand.

Original Report 8/20 11:30am: Robert Feder reports that Tribune News/Talk 720 WGN Chicago is preparing to raise the curtain on the revamp of the station under new station President/GM Jimmy de Castro.

Feder reports that Steve Cochran, the former WGN morning host who returned to the station for fill-ins earlier this summer, will replace Jonathan Brandmeier in mornings on September 3. Around the same time the station will set its new midday lineup with Bob Sirott and wife Marianne Murciano with one program and overnighter Bill Leff moving to the daytime as well. Nick DiGilio and Pete McMurray will take the vacant late-night and overnight shifts in some form.

Despite leaving the morning slot, Brandmeier will not be leaving the station. For the time being he may join Mike McConnell in hosting a live webcast/podcast for the station, but Feder alludes to the company closing-in on an FM outlet which he will be part of. Could the Merlin Media properties be in play here?

The report also goes into details regarding deepening the talent roster for weekends and other big names the station may be pursuing.

Profile photo of Lance Venta
Lance Venta is the Owner and Publisher of RadioInsight.com and a consultant for RadioBB Networks specializing in integration of radio and the internet. Lance has two decades of experience tracking the audio industry and its use of digital platforms.

2 Comments

  1. Profile photo of johndavis


    I’d bet on Merlin being in play.

  2. Profile photo of Nathan Obral


    Tribune still needs to complete the spinoff of their newspaper division first into a separate entity. (That spinoff had to happen anyway so that Tribune’s purchase of LocalTV, LLC could be consummated.) THEN the court order that prevented Tribune from buying another radio station (but enabled them to keep 720) can be lifted.

    I actually could see Tribune buying both WIQI and WLUP then… with WIQI as the new “WGN-FM.” And you have to think that Jimmy de Castro would relish the opportunity to have The Loop back in his control.

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