Sunday, January 23, 2011

WLUP makes format adjustment


Emmis-owned WLUP-FM (The Loop, 97.9) announced Saturday it was making a format adjustment to its playlist, dropping all current and most recent rock titles and playing classic rock from the 1970’s and 1980’s exclusively.

The adjustment puts the station in direct competition with Bonneville-owned WDRV/WWDV-FM (The Drive, 97.1), which it and two other stations were sold this week to Minneapolis-based Hubbard Broadcasting. Also, the adjustment was made to avoid playing the same titles as sister station WKQX-FM, or Q101, which has played alternative/modern rock music since 1992.

The station is also looking to put the nail in the coffin to CBS-owned WJMK-FM (Jack FM, 104.3), which plays some classic rock from the 1970’s through the 1990’s. WJMK has continued to underperform and is rumored to flip formats this year.

On January 19th between 7 and 10 pm, WLUP played current and more recent songs from Metallica, Nickelback, Pearl Jam, and Nirvana mixed in with classic rock artists Boston, Jimi Hendrix, Van Halen and Led Zeppelin, according to the song logs at

As of today, those alternative/grunge artists were eliminated and songs from The Cars, CCR, Pat Benetar, The J. Geils Band, Grand Funk Railroad, and The Doobie Brothers (yes, The Doobie Brothers) were added, also according to the song logs at Yes.

WLUP let listeners of the changes Saturday morning via Twitter and Facebook, where listener reaction has been mixed.  And the station has also changed its tagline from “Chicago’s Rock Station” to “Chicago’s Classic Rock Station”.

Whether this will help WLUP in the ratings remains to be seen. The station finished nineteenth in the most recent overall PPM survey while finishing only seventeenth among adults 25-54, according to an article in Chicagoland Radio & Media. In comparison, WDRV has ranked in the top five in the key demo.

The move comes as Emmis plans to sell both underperforming radio stations it owns.

Ironically, both WLUP and WDRV were once sister stations. Bonneville purchased WLUP in 1997 after former owner Evergreen Media was forced to divest the station after the company was bought out by Chancellor Media (which became AM/FM Radio, Inc. and was bought by Clear Channel Communications.) In 2000, Bonneville purchased former classical station WNIB and flipped it to classic rock and changed the call letters to WDRV in 2001. In a strategic move, Bonneville unloaded WLUP to Emmis in 2004, who paired it up with WKQX, which it has owned since 1988.


Anonymous said...

The format change is bad enough but they do it when they are completely without a DJ until 3pm when Byrd came on. I thought they may have gotten rid of their DJs as well but at least it wasn't that bad. There was something just not right about hearing Byrd playing Bryan Adams and The Clash. Guess the management really likes "Rock the Casbah" since it played twice in 24 hours. Bands like Fleetwood Mac, Loverboy and many more that they have been playing since yesterday just don't belong on the Loop. They sound like a bad parody of the Drive. You mentioned the Doobie Brothers - got to hear them 5 times yesterday and so far 2 times today. It's too bad. Great opportunity for WRXQ to capture some of the Loop's listeners who can't stand this change.

T Dog said...

Those bands (except maybe Fleetwood Mac) were actually featured on The Loop back in the day, but if they are trying to compete with The Drive, they're doing an awfully poor job of it. If The Drive is "The Soundtrack Of Our Lives", then The Loop is "The Soundtrack of Our Grueling Ordeal At The Supermarket." Really, you can hear this music over Muzak at any Walgreens or CVS.

ChiTown Momma said...

In regard to "Jack," perhaps a better oldies station? WLS FM's Oldies station Three songs in a row then 15 minutes of commercials a radio station not. Plus, the oldies they play equate to sounds of the 70s easy listening w/an Elvis tune peppered in there. More music, less commercials & not the same music from the three compilation albums WLS seems to have. We need a bonifide "American Grafitti-esque" station not only for the "boomers" but those of us who love to hear the Beach Boys, Bill Haley & other early rock & rollers.

I hope the Loops new format won't resemble Jack or the Drive. If so, looks like I'm sticking to WXRT

I hope this new format for WLUP isn't crap & doesn't play the same exact music all the time as the Drive & Jack FM.

Anonymous said...

More like
Chicago's Classic Pop Station
The loop is now the last preset I check.