‘Ramblin Ray’ Stevens Jumps To WLS Mornings; Rest Of WUSN Morning Team Let Go

890 WLS Rambin Ray Stevens Big John Howell US 99.5 WUSN Lisa Dent‘Ramblin Ray’ Stevens is exiting CBS Country “US 99.5” WUSN Chicago after 26 years to join Cumulus News/Talk 890 WLS starting Monday, August 8.

Stevens will join his former WUSN partner ‘Big John’ Howell on the WLS morning show. The duo were paired together from 2002 through 2006 at the Country station. He has been in the morning slot with various co-hosts since 1994 and with Lisa Dent since Howell’s departure in 2006.

With Stevens jumping to WLS, WUSN has let go of the rest of its morning team as Lisa Dent and producer Katherine Kelly exit. Dent joined WUSN as midday host in 2002 prior to joining Steven in mornings in 2006. Kelly returned to the station earlier this year after a previous run as morning show producer in the early 2000s.

US99.5 wishes Ramblin’ Ray Stevens and Lisa Dent all the best. There are exciting plans in the works that will keep Chicago waking up every day with the most popular Country music station in the market. US99.5 looks forward to sharing its plans with all of Chicagoland in the coming weeks.

Howell joined WLS in January 2015 from Salem’s 560 WIND.

The new program will be billed “Big John and Ray”.

Cumulus Media announces that award-winning and well-known Chicago radio personality “Ramblin’” Ray Stevens will join WLS AM 890 weekday mornings from 5:00AM until 9:00AM CST, beginning Monday, August 8, 2016. The move reunites Stevens with current WLS AM 890 morning personality “Big” John Howell, as the two worked together for several years at US99.5 Chicago.

Peter Bowen, WLS AM 890 General Manager and Vice President/Market Manager for Cumulus Media-Chicago, said: “Big John and Ray are deeply rooted in Chicago and are well known to the community. We are excited for our listeners, as Big John and Ray are a winning combination.”

Stevens said: “I’m thrilled to be re-joining my former partner and good friend Big John Howell for mornings on Chicago’s News/Talk leader, WLS AM 890. I want to thank Peter Bowen, Peter Bolger and Mike McVay for this tremendous opportunity to speak with Chicagoans each weekday about the news and topics important to us all.”

Stevens has been a Chicago media fixture for over two decades. In addition to winning ACM, CMA and CRB Personality of the Year awards and having been nominated for radio’s coveted Marconi Award, Stevens is heavily involved in leadership and fundraising roles for The Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation, The Illinois State Crime Commission, The Ronald McDonald House Charities, P.A.W.’s Chicago and many more. Stevens is a champion for United States Military Servicemen and Veterans, dedicating his time and energy to America’s enlisted men and women and their families. In 2001, Stevens was awarded the United States Marine’s Semper Fi Award for his work with military veterans, the highest Marine honor bestowed upon a civilian.

Howell has entertained Chicago radio audiences for almost three decades, including the last two as morning host for WLS-AM 890. Prior to that, he hosted mornings for WIND, as well as afternoons and then morning at US99.5 where he and Ray Stevens had a long and successful run. Howell made his name with national audiences as host of a call-in request show, “Country Gold”, syndicated by Westwood One from 1999-2006. A graduate of the Berklee College of Music, Howell has traveled nationally as a musician and arranger. He started his radio career in 1984 in Grand Rapids, MI.

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  1. Eric Jon Magnuson says

    I’ve noticed this a few times before, but it looks like someone in corporate communications/PR at Cumulus doesn’t know how to abbreviate time zones correctly; it should be either “CDT” (since we’re currently in daylight-saving time) or, perhaps preferably, just plain “CT”.

  2. Mark says

    And how can the station third in 12+ in news-talk after WGN and WBEZ (fourth if you count WBBM) be “Chicago’s News-Talk Leader?”

  3. Joseph_Gallant says

    Does this mean WUSN-99.5 is going to pick-up a syndicated morning show?

    1. Nathan Obral says

      A syndicated morning show is not going to happen for WUSN, and it wouldn’t fly against Big 95.5 (which didn’t pick up Bobby Bones, and that should say a lot).

      What’s going to happen is a reconstituted morning show for WUSN that will aim for younger demos.

  4. Nathan Obral says

    It still doesn’t change the fact that WLS’s lineup (a horribly inconsistent mix of boilerplate conservative talk and washed-up WLUP retreads) is an unmitigated ratings disaster.

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