Published on Wednesday, 13 June 2012 15:21
WLUP-FM/97.9 The Loop and its owner, Merlin Media, have brought back its former afternoon personality Zakk Tyler, as of the end of last week. Tyler was previously part of the station from 2005-2007.
In essence, Tyler replaces longtime Loop personality Byrd, who was forced out from the station
on April 27th, after nine years there. (Byrd has since resurfaced
part time on WDRV-FM/The Drive.)
Like Byrd was, Zakk Tyler will be heard throughout the day and week and not just at a certain daypart, as Merlin Media requires their DJs to pre-record and voice track their parts, which are then played at random times using an automated system. Also like Byrd, Tyler will now be heard on FM News 101.1 delivering sports reports and other content.
Though his real name is Dominic J. Zaccagnini, Chicagoans got to know him by a radio name he had adopted over a decade before first coming here: Zakk Tyler. ("Zacc" or "Zakk" was a longtime nickname for him due to his last name.)
Zakk Tyler originally joined WLUP-FM on June 1, 2005 as its drive time DJ. The Loop was looking to go in a more fun & entertaining direction for afternoons, and less of a serious rock direction, so they sought out Tyler, bringing him to Chicago from California. This was just a few months after his show had been recognized as the "2004 Best Rock Show" at the Annual Radio & Records Awards. The Loop afternoon show of his featured many comedic segments, caller interaction, interns put into tough situations, and a sexy co-host in "Sweet Baby Jane" Monzures, who is now the traffic/news/sidekick to Pete McMurray on WLUP-FM's morning show. While he had developed a decent fanbase, his time here was also controversial, in that the Loop's harder rock fans did not want to hear morning radio-style "bits" in the afternoon and did not care for his voice. Unfortunately for Tyler, when it came time to renew his contract two years later, a new management team was in place. They wanted to go in a more serious rock direction for the afternoon show and did not renew his contract.
After leaving Chicago, he found work as the much-heralded morning drive star of Atlanta's WZGC-FM/Dave-FM. Zakk Tyler brought Jane Monzures from Chicago down to Atlanta with him as his co-host. However, the music-intensive station's audience never took to Tyler. He was not really knowledgeable about music and only seemed to be enjoying himself when talking about sports. His Atlanta show was canceled after only 10 months. While down there, he had been doing some website video work with the Atlanta Falcons, but that also came to end soon after.
From Atlanta, he found his way up to Indianapolis and stopped using his radio name of Zakk Tyler, and used his real name of Dominic "Zakk" Zaccagnini. In 2010, Zakk worked with WXIN-TV, the Tribune-owned Fox television station. He also created and ran IndySportsNation.com, a local sports website that became extremely popular in Indianapolis and for its Tribune Company ownership. Additionally, he was a regular contributor on WXIN-TV's "Indy Sports Nation OT." In the summer of 2010, he left all of his other jobs to join Fox Sports Radio as a weekend radio host and website blogger. For his weekend radio show, he was teamed up with former Indianapolis Colts Quarterback Jack Trudeau, for two shows a week. That later was turned into a full-time job, as Zakk & Trudeau were given the weekday morning time slot for the entire Fox Sports Radio network. After less than 1.5 years on the air, Fox Sports cancelled the "Zakk & Jack" morning show at the start of this year, leaving him back "on the beach" and looking for radio work.
Zakk Tyler has always been a huge sports fanatic. On his old WLUP-FM show, he had long sports segments each day, often with Chicago Bears players. During his time in Chicago, Tyler was also a frequent guest on CLTV's "Sports Page." It makes sense that Merlin Media is looking at him to add a sports touch to its other properties, both in Chicago and elsewhere. Tyler (using his real name) had already been doing some part-time work delivering sports reports for the last few months to Merlin Media's New York radio station, WEMP-FM/FM News 101.9.
Tyler/Zaccagnini, 44, started in radio in 1990. Prior to coming to Chicago, he had worked at stations in Pittsburgh, PA, Louisville, KY, Memphis, TN, Greenville, SC, and San Francisco, CA. His San Francisco show was also syndicated out to three other markets. He is a 1990 graduate of the Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
As of this month, Tyler has relocated back to Chicago from Indianapolis.
Zakk Tyler proving that he is indeed bigger than a basketball.