I101 Driving Through Chicago?

FM News 101.1 WIQI Chicago I101 I101Chicago I101FM I101Radio Rob Hart Greg Jarrett MancowAs Merlin Media’s “FM News 101.1” WIQI Chicago reaches its first birthday, it’s looking more and more likely that there won’t be a second in its current iteration.

In recent weeks the station has added what it calls “Expanded News Coverage” in middays and late-nights, which is just a way to position a talk show into the All-News imaging its trying to retain. Additionally, former Chicago mainstays Mancow and the team of Dan Jiggets and Mike North have auditioned for slots.

The “FM News” branding may be next on the way out. A trio of domains, I101Chicago.com, I101FM.com, and I101Radio.com were registered on Thursday to a Steve Gable. Gable, most recently served as Chief Technology Officer at Tribune Company and before that as VP/Technology at Clear Channel, both under Merlin Media’s Randy Michaels.

A rebranding of WIQI will likely position the station as a younger version of Tribune’s 720 WGN, a move that Michaels attempted to do with WGN itself during his reign at Tribune.

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  1. Nathan Obral (@myronfalwell) says

    Surprised they aren’t going with the “IQ 101” brand, to match their “IQ 106.9” in Philly. Possibly sounds too much like “Q101”?

    Either way, it needs a fresh start if the spoken word format is to survive. And Merlin may be hedging on the possibility that WLS might drop Rush for their in-house Mike Huckabee at some point. Coast to Coast AM is easily available for overnights on 101.1 right now.

  2. MattParker says

    The definition of insanity: Repeating the same action and expecting a different outcome. Radio raises this to a higher level: Keep hiring the guy and pay him even more to repeat what already hasn’t worked.

    1. Secondary Editorial Voice (tm) says

      Well, considering that they haven’t hired Kevin Methany to program WIQI yet… 😛 (and he’s said he wouldn’t be interested, rather teaming up with Steve Dahl in IMO is an interesting partnership)

      I’m only shocked that they didn’t do this “expanded news coverage” thing first at WEMP. It’s not like they haven’t had the same growing pains (and 101.9 has been given the same amount of time as WWWN/WIQI has to try to build a demo).

      If Merlin had given the creative freedom for the experienced programmers they had at the station’s launch instead of being micromanaged from the top down, I betcha none of this would be happening. WIQI and WEMP (especially) should have had better launches and a more cohesive stunting than what was given them. Considering what they were/are up against in those markets, they had a very small margin of error.

      They obviously learned their lessons with how WWIQ was launched (and even WKQX-LP), but that is a very costly lesson to make.

      WIQI may do decently as a talker. Randy failed in his attempt to freshen up WGN by attempting his old WLW “Big One” programming methods that worked in Cincy… but that was because WGN is SO entrenched in the market and has so much brand loyalty. He couldn’t win that battle.

  3. Super Scribbler says

    I know a new guy who too a job there, is he unemployed now?

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