Published on Wednesday, 07 September 2011 21:42
Changes are afoot at suburban WJJG-AM. As of this week, Chicago radio veteran Matt DuBiel has taken over as General Manager, replacing Joe Gentile in that role. However, Joe Gentile remains with the station as its principal owner and DuBiel's boss.
Joe Gentile bought the little Elmhurst radio station on AM 1530 back in 1994. It had been on the air since 1974 as WKDC-AM, but after purchasing it, the call letters were changed to WJJG (for Joseph J. Gentile). The station was originally purchased because Gentile, a successful car dealership owner, thought it would be a good way to help sell more cars. He was quickly bitten by the radio bug, though, and turned the station into "Chicago's Hometown Station."
Joe Gentile, in addition to being the owner, broadcast morning shows and ran the station for years. He was famously nicknamed "The Baron of Barrington" by Chicago radio sports talk legend Chet Coppock back in 1982, who was then broadcasting from a live remote at a Grand Opening of one of Gentile's auto dealerships. The nickname, something just tossed out off the top of Coppock's head at that moment on the air, stuck.
In 2003, "The Baron" sold his Chrysler-Plymouth dealership to retire from the auto biz and concentrate mainly on his radio station. Now, in 2011, he is again stepping back from his job to help push his radio station farther. Owners Joe & Carol Gentile have brought aboard Matt DuBiel as the station's new General Manger to help make WJJG-AM an even bigger suburban radio success story.
In a statement being released tomorrow, Joe Gentile said of DuBiel: "It's all about people. Matt is a family man and he's become a friend of the family. He brings tremendous value and we're excited to have him on board."
Matt DuBiel has worked all over Chicago radio, from downtown to the far suburbs. He starting out as an intern for Steve Dahl. From there he has worked at WKQX-FM, WLLI-FM, Program Director & Brand Manager of the Nine-FM tricast, Program Director/Operations Director/Drive Time DJ at WERV-FM, General Manger of a nationally syndicated radio network, and elsewhere.
In 2004, DuBiel, along with Chicago radio's Mike Noonan, formed Broadcast Barter Radio Networks (BBRN), a boutique radio programming and sales firm. In 2009, BBRN sold its home-grown daily vignette "8 Track Playback," hosted by Donny Osmond, to McVay Syndication. BBRN has created and currently syndicates the 24/7 hard-driving Country format Blue Collar Radio. Earlier this year, BBRN made national headlines when it purchased Q101
and all related intellectual property and social media assets from Emmis Communications. When Emmis sold WKQX-FM
to Merlin Media, LLC, it was just going to completely dispose of Q101 and all its rich history. BBRN came in and saved the Q101 name, the Q101 logos and images, 19 years of recordings, 19 years of promotional materials, the online Q101 Club and perhaps biggest of all, the website Q101.com. It continues to stream alternative music on its website and continues to grow as a Chicago-centric online community for alternative rock fans. (Note: Matt DuBiel's new position with WJJG-AM will not take away from BBRN's operation and advancement of Q101.com
In 2005, Chicago Magazine featured Matt DuBiel in as one of its "pioneers of podcasting." Fast Company Magazine called him "one of social media's NEW stars" and one of top 1% of influential people on the Internet. Edison Media Research's Infinite Dial named Matt Dubiel to their inaugural list
of the 30 most promising broadcasters under 30 in 2007.
As for WJJG-AM, Dubiel is excited about bringing his programming, marketing and sales experience to the locally-owned station. Says DuBiel in tomorrow's statement: "I am thrilled to be a part of a locally owned and operated radio station like WJJG! The listeners, advertisers, brokers, studios AND owners are all here in the area! This is what radio is all about."
As far as changes go, DuBiel tells CRM to expect some in the coming weeks. A pair of very large, nationally known syndicated shows, including a Chicago-based one, may be on the horizon, as well as some local shows that will have a broader appeal. Announcements concerning changes and additions will be coming later this month. Also on his "to do" list is to give WJJG-AM's small, older website a major upgrade with mass appeal and advertising potential.
Due to FCC regulations, the station's signal is only 760 watts by day and turned off at sundown. During the daylight hours, it can be heard easily throughout most of Cook, Lake, DuPage, and Kane Counties. It airs primarily local niche programming to a small, but loyal audience. At least... a small audience for now.