Published on Friday, 16 December 2011 13:23
Breaking slightly from its usual playlist of 70s & 80s rock, WLUP-FM 97.9 is kicking off a 1990s music weekend called "The Sons Of Classic Rock" today at 5:00pm. There will be plenty of of music that leans more toward its former sister-station of Q101's playlist, including 90s alternative rock.
Further drawing a direct connection to Q101 is the fact that at 9:00pm Saturday night, the station will air a multi-hour salute to Q101, hosted by former Q101 DJ James VanOsdol. As is the case for the majority of WLUP-FM's current programming outside of mornings, the DJ's portions have been pre-recorded and the special will be voice-tracked. VanOsdol, who retired from radio
a few weeks before the station flipped formats to focus on his full-time job and his writing, says he is not coming out of retirement to be a DJ on The Loop. On his blog this week
, he wrote: "I swear I'm done with radio, and have no plans to return in a part- or full-time capacity again. I am, however, open to the idea of popping on the air every now and then, just for fun."
While some fans will be happy to hear alt-rock back on the Chicago radio airwaves for a brief period, the irony is not lost on many that WLUP-FM's owner, Merlin Media, is the same company canceled Q101's format in July
. They also allowed WLUP-FM's HD2 alt-rock station to be taken off the air this month, replaced with a syndicated all-comedy channel. Even former Q101 DJ Electra tweeted this afternoon
: "It feels weird that the company who took Q101 off the air is paying 'tribute' to the station."
On top of all that, the station's former owner, Emmis Communications sold the rights to Q101
, including the rights to use its name, to a local Chicago company who seek to keep the station, its music, its history, and its community alive and well online at Q101.com
, after Emmis wished to destroy it. Neither Merlin Media nor Emmis Communications requested permission from the ownership of Q101.com to air a "Q101" special this weekend.
UPDATE: Even though permission was never asked for or obtained, the people behind Q101.com released a statement this afternoon on their website and emailed it out to their large fanbase, encouraging them to tune in to the programming, especially VanOsdol's salute to Q101. Saying: "This is something 97.9 is doing on their own, without our input or permission. BUT, it's a testament to YOU and your commitment to Q101." They also pointed out "Never before has a Chicago heritage rock station like 97.9 aired programming ABOUT another radio station."
Station insiders say that this is not any kind of indication that The Loop is moving away from Classic Rock and moving toward an Alternative format. This is just a weekend promotion and nothing more. If the weekend promotion turns out to be successful, it could return again on a future weekend in a few months, but the odds of it ever becoming a full-time format on WLUP-FM are incredibly slim.