Educational Media Foundation Acquires 97.9 WLUP Chicago
Update 3/10: WLUP-FM signed-off its Classic Rock format at exactly midnight as Educational Media Foundation’s “K-Love” Christian AC network took over mid-song. Outside of promos from former middayer Lindsey Marie and afteroon host Tim Virgin hyping the format’s move to 101.1 WKQX-HD2 and to purchase Loop logo shirts online, the station ran jockless in its final hours following Steve Dahl’s tribute show simulcast in the afternoon on WLUP-FM and 890 WLS.
The final hour of music on The Loop consisted of many songs including the final one making light of the programming replacing it. The final hour of WLUP-FM consisted of:
- Led Zeppelin – Stairway To Heaven
- Europe – The Final Countdown
- Lynyrd Skynyrd – Free Bird
- REM – It’s The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)
- Metallica – For Whom The Bell Tolls
- Rush – Limelight
- Mötley Crüe – Shout At The Devil
- Iron Maiden – The Number Of The Beast
- AC/DC – Highway To Hell
Update 3/7:The Loop brand will not completely die when EMF takes over the station on Saturday. The automated Classic Rock format with the Loop branding will move to 101.1 WKQX-HD2 in order to keep the Intellectual Property alive. We can also exclusively report that the WLUP-FM call letters will be leaving Chicago as Educational Media Foundation has filed to swap them with their 88.3 WCKL-FM Starke FL with WCKL-FM heading to Chicago and WLUP-FM retiring to Florida.
Loop afternoon host Tim Virgin will remain on-air as he will start hosting afternoons today at Alternative 101.1 WKQX. APD/MD Walter ‘Stabwalt’ Flakus moves to nights as Lou Lombardo exits. Lombardo moved from morning co-host to nights and Digital Content Captain at the start of this year.
WLUP night host James Van Osdol remains with Cumulus hosting weekend specialty show Demo 312 on WKQX and working in digital for it and 890 WLS/94.7 WLS-FM.
Update 3:30pm: The demise of The Loop will be a lot sooner than thought.
Robert Feder reports that Cumulus will “end the classic rock station’s current programming today” with the Chicago Tribune adding that EMF’s Christian AC “K-Love” network programming will debut on Saturday, March 10. WLUP-FM has been running jockless since this morning.
Cumulus Chicago Market Manager Marv Nyren told staffers in a memo shared by Feder that the company remains in discussions with Merlin to acquire Alternative 101.1 WKQX.
Original Report 3/6 12:00am: After the collapse of its sale of Classic Rock “97.9 The Loop” WLUP-FM and Alternative 101.1 WKQX Chicago to Cumulus, Merlin Media has found a buyer for one of the stations.
Educational Media Foundation has agreed to purchase WLUP for $21.5 million and will convert the station to non-commercial status upon closing of the sale. EMF’s “K-Love” Christian AC network is currently heard in the Chicago market on 94.3 WJKL Glendale Heights. Christian CHR “Air 1” is not currently heard in the Chicago market, but if past indications mean anything that will go on 94.3 with K-Love going to the stronger 97.9 signal.
The deal was filed with the FCC on Monday.
INSTANT INSIGHT: The deal will mark the end of “The Loop” brand after over 40 years. From Rock to Hot Talk to Modern AC to Classic Rock, and being stuck in baseball and historical lore thanks to Steve Dahl’s Disco Demolition Night, the station will go down as one of the most important radio stations in history. And now just another historical footnote.