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WDRV Makes Dan McNeil & Pete MacMurray Hiring Official

97.1 The Drive WDRV Pete MacMurray Dan McNeil WSCR WGN Steve DownesHubbard has made the hiring of Dan McNeil and Pete MacMurray for mornings at Classic Rock “97.1 The Drive” WDRV Chicago/96.9 WWDV Zion official. The program will debut in early March with Scott Miller also joining from WGN to serve as producer.

WDRV FM “The Drive” announced today that Chicago broadcast veterans Pete McMurray and Dan McNeil will take over Morning Drive at the classic rocker. The Morning Drive slot became available after 14-year morning man Steve Downes announced his retirement two weeks ago.

Dan McNeil has been arguably the biggest sports radio host in Chicago for the past 25 years, hosting at both Chicago sports stations WSCR and ESPN 1000. When McNeil was asked to comment on his move to mornings on one of Chicago’s premiere FM outlets, McNeil said “I’ve coveted a show like this for a long, long time. That it’s coming to a reality on The Drive—the crown jewel of Chicago radio, is incredible. I’m enormously grateful because my real life again is exceeding the dreams I had for it. It’s like an NFL player, late in his career, signing with the Patriots looking for those last few shots at a championship ring.”

When pushed on the fact that he’s only known as a “sports guy” McNeil replied “There’s more to me than point spreads and pucks and my listeners know that. In high school, I loved classic rock and wrote music for the paper. I was William Miller in ‘Almost Famous,’ front and center at the Amphitheatre or Hammond Civic Center for Rush or Cheap Trick—mini notepad in one pocket and a half pint in the other. I’ve been to more Alice Cooper shows than college basketball games. I think any doubters will come on board after digesting my classic rock resume.”

Pete McMurray comes to The Drive after nearly two years at WGN Chicago, where he most recently held the 7pm-11pm show. McMurray came to Chicago in 1998 and has worked at the former WCKG, WLUP and WKQX. Pete is also very visible on T.V. in Chicago, working on Chicago Bears “pregame shows on Fox as well as T.V. 24/7 on NBC. “I loved every single moment working with Jimmy, Todd, Cochran and the entire WGN family,” McMurray states. “However, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to work for one of the top rock stations in the country-the legendary WDRV and Hubbard Broadcasting, one of the most respected broadcast companies in America. Not to mention alongside Danny Mac, someone I have admired from afar my entire career. It’s going to be a ton of fun and a great, great drive!”

John Gallagher, Hubbard Chicago, VP/Market Manager comments: “We are all very excited to bring two well-known Chicago personalities together with one iconic rock brand. The Drive has maintained a dominant classic rock position in the market for many years. The departure of Steve Downes offered us the opportunity to reevaluate our mission and once again bring something unique to mornings.”

Greg Solk, Sr. VP/Programming for Hubbard adds “14 years ago, The Drive launched with a more music presentation that filled a void in the crowded Chicago market. The evolution of The Drive continues today with Pete McMurray and Dan McNeil in the all-important morning drive slot. We built this station and achieved market dominance on a foundation of music. And now we’ll be presenting a unique show that features great rock with two local guys who will combine their love of music with their passion for all things Chicago. Pete and Dan will deliver a relevant show that will resonate with Chicago morning commuters, enhancing FM radio’s connection to listeners who demand great local content in an increasingly crowded media landscape.”

Slated to debut in early March, the show will be under the direction of WDRV Program Director Curtiss Johnson and produced by Scott Miller, McMurray’s producer at WGN.

Original Report 2/10: Following the announced exit of Steve Downes last week, Hubbard Classic Rock “97.1 The Drive” WDRV Chicago/96.9 WWDV Zion has moved quickly to fill the open slot.

RobertFeder.com reports that Dan McNeil and Pete MacMurray will join WDRV to take over mornings at “The Drive“. Both hosts have had very long tenures in the Chicago market.

Dan McNeil was co-hosting middays at CBS Sports “670 The Score” WSCR from 2010 until his exit last summer. He had a previous run at the station from its 1992 launch until he jumped to crosstown “ESPN 1000” WMVP in 2000. His soon-to-be co-host Pete MacMurray joins from Tribune’s 720 WGN where he has been hosting evenings. MacMurray has also spent multiple tours at 97.9 WLUP, 101.1 WKQX, and the defunct 105.9 WCKG over the years.

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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.

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