Published on Monday, 27 February 2012 08:09
WJMK-FM. known to most people as 104.3 K-Hits, has made some changes to its lineup. Starting today, Gary Spears moves from middays to afternoon drive and Tommy Edwards moves into middays, while Bo Reynolds has exited the station.
The changes started on Friday when afternoon personality Bo Reynolds was released. Reynolds had been the afternoon drive personality since K-Hits started last March, working the 3:00pm-7:00pm shift (originally running to 8:00pm). Insiders say station management simply wanted to make some positive changes at the station and shake things up. The decision to remove Reynolds was not due to anything Reynolds did or didn't do, though.
This was Reynolds second time as a Chicago DJ. He previously was a Top 10 rated DJ for WBBM-FM back in 1987 through 1990. At that time, he had not yet picked up the radio name of Bo Reynolds and was instead going by the name of Pat Reynolds. (Pat is his real first name.) After leaving Chicago hit/Rock radio and moving into Country radio, a program director decided to rename Pat as "Bo" and the name has stuck ever since.
Reynolds has worked at radio stations all across America, including Phoenix, Tampa, Los Angeles, and a few stations in Denver. Chicago had always been Reynolds' dream market to work in. Growing up as a teen in Michigan's upper peninsula, he would listen to the strong signals of Chicago AM radio and idolize Chicago jocks like Larry Lujack and John Records Landecker. It was those jocks that put Reynolds on the path of his 30+ year radio career.
Reynolds may now be gone from WJMK-FM, but this probably is not the last we will hear of him. Starting later this year, Bo Reynolds is expected to begin hosting a syndicated Classic Hits show, the details of which are not yet revealed.
Moving into the vacated afternoon drive shift is midday star Gary Spears. Spears has been delivering strong ratings in the middle of the day for the station since he began on WJMK-FM back on March 21, 2011. (Although part of the initial line-up, Spears had to begin a week and a half late due to other commitments.) Considered by some to be K-Hits' "secret weapon," Spears masterfully has been able to deliver engaging content to listeners, even in the new PPM environment, which has DJs speaking far less and faster.
Like everybody else working on the air on WJMK-FM, Spears was part of Chicago radio previously. Spears was part of WBBM-FM twice before, first from 1982-1984 and again from 1990-1994, as well as stints at other Chicago stations such as WKQX-FM and being one of the original DJs on WKSC-FM in 2000. He has worked all over America and may be best known nationally for his work at Washington DC's WRQX-FM and his over 12 year time period spent at Los Angeles' KYSR-FM, KBIG-FM and KIIS-FM. Additionally, Gary Spears went by the radio name Michael Ray earlier in his career (well before Chicago's WBBM-FM), which was closer to his true name. The comedic improvisationally-trained voice star has also picked up the nickname "Big Poppa" while working and living in California.
With Spears now moving from middays to afternoons, Chicago radio superstar Tommy Edwards will be stepping in to handle DJ duties in the middle of the day. For right now, Edwards is being given the "interim" tag, as CBS officially begins its search for a new midday host. However, Edwards is currently on the short list of names to take over the spot on a permanent basis.
No stranger to working middays in his long radio career, Edwards also worked middays at WLS-AM for many years, as well as at New York's WOR-FM. Edwards' storied run in radio started in the 1960's at KTOP-AM, a 250 watt radio station in Topeka, Kansas. Edwards first came to Chicago in 1972 to be the Production Director & Assistant Program Director for WLS-AM. In 1973, with WLS-AM beginning to lose to rival WCFL-AM, he was promoted up to Program Director. Under Edwards' direction, WLS was re-branded "Musicradio - WLS," Fred Winston was moved from afternoons to mornings and new DJs were hired, including future superstars Yvonne Daniels, Bob Sirott and Steve King. Edwards helped bring WLS back to the #1 spot. After that, he stepped aside as Program Director to return to the fun of being a DJ, and began working midday and afternoon shifts on the air. Soon after, he would famously team up with Lujack for the "Animal Stories" bits. To most fans of Chicago radio, Tommy Edwards will forever be "Lil' Tommy" (and sometimes, "Lil' snot-nosed Tommy"), one half of the "Animal Stories" team with "good ol' Uncle Lar'" Larry Lujack, which was featured on WLS in the 70's and 80's.
Although he spent a few years in other markets, Chicago always brought him back. Edwards worked at WJMK-FM for a couple of years in the late 80's and was a Program Director for the ill-fated Real Oldies 1690/WRLL-AM a few years ago. Since then, he has hosted mornings on WILV-FM, and later, worked as a weekend & fill-in personality there at Rewind 100.3. In 2010, Edwards also did some fill-in work for WLS-FM. In addition to his terrestrial radio work, Edwards has been working with Chicago-based Internet radio network AccuRadio, as programmer and manager for their ChicagoRadioOnline.com site and adding his voice tracks to the website's "Chicago's Best Oldies" and "Chicago's Love Songs" channels.
Chicago sports fans fondly know Tommy Edwards as the public address announcer for "YOOOUUUURRRrrrrrrRRRR Chicago Bulls!
" Edwards was the Bulls' stadium voice from 1976-1990. He returned at the start of the 2006 season and is now in his 20th season as the Bull's PA announcer. He wisely used his radio & music knowledge to bring a new excitement to the stadium. Edwards was the first to begin the starting line-ups with "Aaaand noooowwww...
" Using his vast music knowledge, he also was the first to play Gary Glitter's "Rock & Roll, Part 2" to get the fans pumped up and to use Alan Parsons Project's instrumental "Sirius" when introducing the players. Both songs are now copied at stadiums all across the country.
Edwards began at K-Hits late last March
, working weekends and as the primary fill-in host during the week.
The removal of Reynolds, the upping of Spears to afternoons, and the addition of Edwards to afternoons (at least in the interim) are the first major changes since the Classic Hits station made its debut
almost one year ago, on March 10, 2011. The shifts for morning stars Eddie & Jobo and evening personality George McFly remain unchanged.