Published on Thursday, 23 August 2012 19:59
As of Monday, veteran Chicagoland Rock & Roll DJ Tom Lounges has exited Radio One Communications' WXRD-FM/X-Rock 103.9 as the station's afternoon drive DJ, as well as the station's Music Director and Promotions/Special Events Director. He had been with the station for ten years and was its most well-known personality.
Tom Lounges has been a radio DJ and a music journalist since 1979. After reading legendary WLS-AM/WCFL-AM DJ Larry Lujack's autobiography, "Superjock" in the 1970s, he knew he wanted to be in radio and working around music. He began as a DJ and engineer at south suburban WLNR-FM. Since then, he has worked at many radio stations in northeastern Illinois and northwestern Indiana, most recently joining WXRD-FM in 2002. During his time at X-Rock 103.9, he has won a few of the Indiana Broadcasters Association's highest honor, the Spectrum Awards. (This is Indiana's version of the Illinois Broadcasters Association's Silver Dome Award.)
Lounges is known for hosting the the long-running radio program "Night Rock." That show featured rare classic rock tracks, deep album cuts, and songs from Chicago rock bands, which were not being played anywhere else. "Night Rock" had been on X-Rock 103.9 for about nine years as a Sunday night, multi-hour show. Near the end of last year, the Sunday show was stopped, so Lounges turned the last hour of his weekday shift into a one-hour "Night Rock" show, airing from 6:00pm-7:00pm. In May, station management decided to end "Night Rock" entirely from the classic rock station. "Night Rock" originally started as a late-night hard rock program in the 1970s, which disappeared in the early 1980s, before it was resurrected almost a decade ago on WXRD-FM by Lounges. The cancellation of "Night Rock" was foreshadowing for his own exit from the station.
A skilled writer, Tom Lounges is also well-known for his years as a music journalist. He is still a music features writer and columnist
for the Times of Northwest Indiana, a job he has held since 1982. He was the founder/publisher/editor and primary writer of Midwest BEAT Magazine, which was a local music publication that started in the early 1980s and ran until 2007. He has also written for The Illinois Entertainer, The Prairie Sun, The Entertainment Finder, The Chicago Rocker, Hot Potato Magazine, Alternative Magazine, the Post-Tribune, and the Herald Newspaper Group.
He was the writer for the liner notes for over a dozen 50s-70s rock artists' albums released by Back-Trac/CBS Special Products. His writing was also featured in the 1991 music history book, "They Called It Rock: Goldmine's Oral History of Rock 'N Roll
In addition to his long radio and print careers, Tom Lounges has worked in numerous other entertainment & media fields, including hosting three cable and PBS television programs, being a mobile DJ, night club manager, booking agent, band manager, and event promoter. Over the years, Lounges has also been a lecturer and instructor on both journalism and music history at schools and colleges in the Chicago and northwest Indiana areas.
The one constant through all of his many jobs (which included working at a few area record stores before getting into radio) has been a life-long love of music, especially that of Midwest-based rock artists. Lounges has long been one of the biggest supporters of local band and local live music venues. He was the first DJ in America to play a song on the radio by famed Chicago band Survivor, when he played their first indie single "Rebel Girl" from a demo tape he received from the band. With his "Night Rock" show, he continued to support local acts, both new and classic, by playing their songs on the radio throughout the years.
To let his friends and fans know what was going on with his not being on the air on WXRD-FM this week, Tom Lounges posted up a classy explanation
on his personal Facebook page. Here are some excepts from the long piece:
"Effective this past Monday, I have parted ways with Radio One Communications and the airwaves of X-ROCK 103.9. The upper management simply opted to make some changes in the on air scheduling, as they have the right to do. I have simply chosen to move on to other adventures elsewhere, rather than accept the position offered to me. No drama.
I leave Radio One with good memories and on a positive note. It was simply a matter of not being a good fit any more, simply a time to move on. I respect my friends and colleagues who remain there and the great job they do serving the region and you, the listeners.
I have very much enjoyed my ten years at Radio One and have many wonderful memories from my time there in the rock 'n' roll trenches, on the air, and at the fairs and various remotes and events.
I thank YOU, the listeners, for your continued support of my projects over the years and for allowing me to be a part of your afternoon each day. I hope I have served to entertain you with the songs, the stories and the historical tidbits. I will very much miss that daily union we shared.
However, I now have new paths to explore thanks to friends in the entertainment business and broadcasting. I am also exploring some non-entertainment options. I have the support of good friends, a great woman in my corner, and you... the rockers of the region with whom I have shared a kinship for the last 35 years. I'll be just fine and land on my feet as I always have."
For now, Tom Lounges is looking for opportunities in radio and in some of his other areas of expertise. He has also been considering turning his fan-favorite "Night Rock" show into an Internet radio show or podcast in the future.
At WXRD-FM, with Lounges gone, midday host Scott Rosenberg takes over in afternoons, while middays will go jockless for now.