101.1 Chicago

People Moves 4/18: Draeger To Image WKQX

Nick Draeger is departing his position as Creative Imaging Director at Entercom Alternative “Alt 94.7” KKDO and CHR “106.5 The End” KUDL Sacramento to take the same position at Cumulus Alternative 101.1 WKQX Chicago. Draeger previously imaged 93.5 KDAY Los Angeles and Learfield Sports. I was waiting to post a press release, but since I’ve tip-toed around it, I’ll announce it: I was offered and accepted… Posted by Nick Draeger on Tuesday, April 17, 2018 Cumulus Media announces that it has appointed audio imaging professional Nick Draeger as Creative Imaging Director for Chicago Rock radio station 101 WKQX-FM. Draeger joins Cumulus from Entercom-Sacramento, where he imaged Entercom’s various Rock formats, including KKDO/ALT 94.7. His career also includes im...[Read More]

Mary Berner’s Merlin Magic Trick

Cumulus Media CEO Mary Berner called all of Randy Michaels’ bluffs and still came away with most of what they wanted. Cumulus began operating 97.9 WLUP-FM and 101.1 WKQX via LMA in January 2014 that included a put and call agreement where either side had the right to trigger the deal to be converted into a purchase within ninety days of the fourth anniversary of the LMA. That came when Merlin exercised its end of the agreement for Cumulus to pay he greater of $70 million minus the aggregate amount of LMA fees or $50 million for the two stations last October. Had it not been for Cumulus’ bankruptcy filing in November that would have been the end of the story. Whether or not Cumulus liked the deal they would have been contractually obligated to close the deal. Under the cover of ...[Read More]

Cumulus To Acquire 101.1 WKQX Chicago & WLUP IP

Cumulus Media has announced it has agreed to acquire Alternative 101.1 WKQX Chicago and the intellectual property of WLUP from Merlin Media for $18 million. Cumulus walked away from its $50 million acquisition of 97.9 WLUP and WKQX in January as part of its bankruptcy restructuring. Merlin then sold WLUP to Educational Media Foundation for $21 million who flipped the station to Christian AC “K-Love” WCKL. Cumulus had been operating both station under LMA since January 2014. WKQX will permanently join a Cumulus Chicago cluster that includes Talk 890 WLS and Classic Hits 94.7 WLS-FM. Merlin parked the WLUP call letters on Randy Michaels’ 97.9 in Au Sable NY but they will be returning to Cumulus to be placed an a station to be determined. Cumulus Media Inc. (PINK:CMLSQ) (the...[Read More]

Cumulus And Merlin Media Revise WKQX/WLUP LMA

Cumulus Media and Merlin Media have agreed to a revised LMA term for Classic Rock “97.9 The Loop” WLUP and Alternative 101.1 WKQX Chicago. Cumulus will continue operating both stations until April 30, 2018 with the ability for two mutually agreed three month extensions with Cumulus reimbursing Merlin Media up to $15,000 per station per month for reasonable costs and expenses in connection with the operation of the stations beginning on February 1, 2018. Upon completion of the LMA, Cumulus at its sole discretion will choose which employees will be transferred back to Merlin and which will stay with the company. The settlement also terminates Cumulus’ $50 million purchase of the two stations. The deal is setup to allow Merlin Media time to plan to take back operations of the stations o...[Read More]

Randy Michaels Explains What Will Happen With WKQX/WLUP

In an interview with the Chicago Tribune, Merlin Media CEO Randy Michaels has given details for what will happen should the US Bankruptcy Court allow Cumulus Media to walk away from its lease and purchase of Classic Rock “97.9 The Loop” WLUP and Alternative 101.1 WKQX Chicago. Michaels says that in the short-term he would continue to operate the stations as they are, stating “We are fully prepared to step in and operate the stations essentially as is. There are no changes being planned right now, other than behind the scenes.” There is an agreement in place to allow Merlin to operate the stations from Cumulus new Chicago studios at the NBC Tower. He would also bring on the current airstaff from the two stations. He also says that Cumulus “not made a reasonable count...[Read More]

Cumulus Seeks To Cancel WLUP/WKQX LMA & Purchase; And Chicago PBP Deals

As part of its ongoing bankruptcy proceedings Cumulus Media has asked the United States Bankruptcy Court for permission to walk away from fourteen contracts at its February 1 hearing. The contracts include a handful of tower and building leases, advertising agreemnts, owed money to the NFL’s Buffalo Bills and former Westwood One President Bill Battison, and Westwood One agreements to carry programming nationally from CNBC and the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks. The three contracts with the biggest impact will be felt in Chicago. At the start of 2014, Cumulus began operating Merlin Media’s Classic Rock “97.9 The Loop” WLUP and Alternative 101.1 WKQX Chicago via LMA. Cumulus paid Merlin on average $600,000 per month to lease the two stations and claims to have suffered ...[Read More]

WKQX Revises On-Air Lineup

Cumulus Alternative 101.1 WKQX Chicago has made a couple changes to its on-air lineup to start 2018. Morning co-host Lou Lombardo moves to nights replacing the exiting Marconi Bologna. Robert Feder reports that Lombardo will also take on Bologna’s Digital Content Captain duties for the station. Brian Phillips will remain in mornings solo. Cumulus Chicago VP/Market Manager Marv Nyren told Feder that the move was “to make us more efficient and effective to maximize our skill sets at each position.”

Merlin Media & Unsecured Creditors File Objections To Cumulus Restructuring

Merlin Media and the “Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors” have filed objections to Cumulus Media’s planned bankruptcy restructuring. The Unsecured Creditors, who combined hold nearly $610 million of Cumulus debt, state that the deal with the holders of nearly 69% of the $1.729 billion in term loans contained numerous terms that inappropriately benefit the term loan lenders at the expense of the unsecured creditors and would significantly overcompensate the Term Loan Lenders to the detriment of unsecured creditors. Merlin Media had exercised its put option to convert its LMA of Classic Rock “97.9 The Loop” WLUP and Alternative 101.1 WKQX Chicago to Cumulus for $50 million in late October. Merlin claims that Cumulus sought to negotiate the price to a lowe...[Read More]

Cumulus Converts Chicago LMAs To Purchase

Cumulus Media is converting its LMA of Classic Rock “97.9 The Loop” WLUP and Alternative “101 WKQX” 101.1 WKQX Chicago from Merlin Media into an outright purchase. Cumulus will pay the greater of $70 million minus the aggregate amount of LMA fees or $50 million for the two stations as it exercised the put and call agreement within ninety days of the fourth anniversary of the LMA. Cumulus began operating WKQX and WLUP on January 3, 2014. The two stations join News/Talk 890 WLS and Classic Hits 94.7 WLS-FM in Cumulus’ Chicago clustr. The deal marks the end of Randy Michaels’ Merlin Media, which was formed in 2011 with the purchase of these two stations and 101.9 WRXP New York from Emmis and quickly flipped WKQX and WRXP to its ill-fated “FM News̶...[Read More]

Troy Hanson Upped To Cumulus Chicago VP/Operations

Cumulus Media has promoted Troy Hanson from Program Director of Alternative 101.1 WKQX Chicago to Vice President of Operations for its Chicago cluster. Hanson will also retain his role as VP/Programming of Rock formats for the company while adding oversight of Classic Hits 94.7 WLS-FM, Rock “97.9 The Loop” WLUP, and News/Talk 890 WLS. Concurrently the company has signed WLS-FM Program Director Brian Thomas to a multi-year contract extension to remain with the station and his other roles as VP/Programming for Classic Hits and Corporate Program Director for Country. Cumulus Media announces that it has promoted Troy Hanson, Program Director for Chicago Alternative station 101 WKQX-FM and Vice President, Programming, Rock formats, to the newly created position of Vice President, Op...[Read More]

101WKQX Adds Three New Personalities

Cumulus Alternative “101 WKQX” Chicago has announced the addition of three new staffers. Christine ‘Nicci’ Nunez joins the station as producer of Brian Phillips and Lou Lombardo’s morning show. She joins WKQX from Cox Hot Talk “102.5 The Bone” WHPT Tampa where she produced Drew Garabo’s afternoon show. Former “Alt 94.9” KHTB Salt Lake City and 92.1 KFMA Tucson morning co-host Mishell Livio joins the station for weekends. Greg Beharrell, who recently joined Rock 95.5 KLOS Los Angeles, will add a Saturday night specialty show at WKQX in the coming weeks. Cumulus Media announces that it has appointed three dynamic and talented programming professionals to positions at Chicago Alternative Rock radio station 101WKQX-FM. Christine “Nicc...[Read More]

Troy Hanson Named WKQX Program Director

Cumulus Corporate Program Director of Rock Formats Troy Hanson is adding additional duties as the day-to-day Program Director for Alternative 101.1 WKQX Chicago. Hanson joined Cumulus in 2013 as the Corporate Program Director of Rock Formats and PD of Classic Rock “Rock 100.5” WNNX Atlanta. He handed the reigns of WNNX over to Greg Ausham last August. Before joining Cumulus, Hanson was Operations Manager of Cromwell’s Nashville stations. He has also programmed in Duluth, Saginaw, Milwaukee, Des Moines, Detroit and Miami. He will be replacing PJ Kling, who Cumulus states is leaving for a position outside of the radio industry. Kling had overseen WKQX since its relaunch by Merlin Media as “Q87.7” in 2012. Cumulus Media announces that it has named Troy Hanson as ...[Read More]