Big John Howell Joins WLS; Roe Conn To WGN

Roe Conn 720 WGN Chicago Big John Howell Bruce Wolf 890 WLSA pair of Chicago talkers are headed to new dial positions.

Cumulus’ 890 WLS has hired Big John Howell as its new morning host replacing Bruce Wolf and Dan Proft. Howell joins WLS after exiting Salem’s “560 The Answer” WIND at the end of 2014 where he spent eight years. Prior to joining WIND, Howell spent many years at CBS Country “US 99.5” WUSN in both mornings and afternoons.

While Howell joins WLS, their former afternoon host Roe Conn is heading to Tribune’s 720 WGN. Conn, who was let go in October following the hiring of Steve Dahl will take over the 3-7pm slot according to Robert Feder. Feder states that the addition of Conn will see current afternoon hosts Bill Leff and Wendy Snyder move to late mornings and John Williams to weekends.

Cumulus announces that “Big” John Howell will host weekday mornings on WLS-AM (AM890), debuting Monday, January 19, from 5:00 a.m until 9:00 a.m. Howell has entertained Chicago radio audiences for the last 26 years, and was morning show host for WIND-AM560 for the past eight years. Prior to that, he hosted Afternoons and Mornings for WUSN 99.5, and was morning show host for WCKG 105.9. 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 at Grand Rapids stations WZND, WLAV, WJFM and WGRD.

John Dickey, Executive Vice President, Content and Programming for Cumulus said: “John’s the perfect choice to anchor mornings on WLS-AM. He’s a naturally gifted communicator that possesses an intellectual curiosity that will take his listeners on a daily journey that will leave them more informed and certainly more entertained.”

Peter Bolger, Program Director/Operations Manager for WLS-AM said: “John Howell brings it. He’s informed, entertaining and inclusive. And has tons of passion for “The Big 89.” We’re so pleased to have him join “Chicago’s Talk Leader”.”

Howell said: “I’m looking forward to joining WLS-AM. It has been a long time professional, as well as personal, goal. Growing up in West Michigan and listening to WLS influenced my initial decision to give the radio business a try. Now, all these years later, and on the heels of many WLS broadcast legends, including Larry Lujack and Don Wade, it is truly an honor and a privilege. I’m also looking forward to sharing the WLS airwaves with Steve Dahl, who taught all of us to ignore management and hate disco.”

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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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