Published on Sunday, 12 January 2014 12:42
In 1897, Mark Twain wrote in the New York Journal "the report of my death was an exaggeration." Similarly, an online report last month of Tom Marker's exit from WXRT-FM after 33 years was not correct. Marker was with 93XRT last month, remains there still, and plans on being part of the station going into the future.
However, what has changed is Tom Marker's status has shifted from full-time to part-time. He will continue to host his signature program "Blues Breakers" each Monday night. Additionally, he will also work one or two other air shifts each week, as well as being a regular fill-in host at the station.
As previously mentioned
on this website, Tom Marker returns to the WXRT-FM airwaves this Monday night at 9:00pm. He will be hosting an all-new, live episode of "Blues Breakers" from 9:00pm-10:00pm. This special show will look at the 2013 Blues Year in Review.
There was some concern after the night of December 31st, when Marker, working his night shift prior to New Year's Eve programming starting, picked many songs to play that had a "finality" or "exit" theme to them. Songs Marker selected and played that evening included "Don't Dream It's Over" by Crowded House, "Outta My Way" by The Skeletons, "Let's Go" by The Cars, "On Your Way Down" by Little Feat, and "End of the Line" by The Traveling Wilburys.
At that time, there was some uncertainty about Marker's future at the station, but no firm decisions made. It took nearly two weeks to finalize plans but WXRT-FM management did not wish to lose Marker's talents and Marker wasn't quite ready to leave. A compromise solution -- one that pleased CBS Radio's corporate offices, WXRT-FM management, Tom Marker, and most importantly, the many 93XRT listeners and fans of Marker's -- was finally reached.
During the last two weeks, while many fans were led to believe that Marker had been fired, an incredible groundswell of support for Marker began online. This torrent of electronic emotion included a Change.org petition (which gained over 3,300 signatures in just a matter of days), Twitter posts, and Facebook complaints about the loss of Marker. Many Facebookers even found themselves banned from the 93XRT Facebook page after placing too many comments or comments that were just too angry regarding Marker's perceived exit. For a few days earlier this month, staffers could not remove the uglier comments from the Facebook page as fast as the comments were pouring in.
Marker himself has said a few times that he was humbled and amazed at the incredible outpouring of support he received in the past two weeks. The support came from within WXRT-FM, as well, as they worked diligently to find a way to keep the well-liked Marker with the station, despite corporate cutbacks.
Tom Marker has been working in radio since 1973, working in Chicagoland radio since 1975, and working at WXRT-FM since 1980.
After spending two years working in very small radio stations in Michigan and South Carolina, the Columbia College Chicago graduate returned back "home" to work at suburban WJKL-FM/The Fox in September 1975. There, Tom Marker was a DJ, and later Music Director and Program Director, working at The Fox through the summer of 1980. In 1978, he also spent a few months as a weekend DJ at WLUP-FM/The Loop.
In August 1980, Tom Marker joined WXRT-FM as a DJ. 33 1/3 years later (a reference sure to please Marker and other vinyl record fans), he remains at his favorite station.
Marker was one of the first hires by then-new Program Director Norm Winer, who like Marker, remains at the station in that role to this day.
In the early 1980s, Marker made a trip to the south for WXRT-FM, which included stops in Memphis, TN and New Orleans, LA. There, he developed a deep appreciation for Blues music. In 1984, WXRT-FM's weekly Blues showcase "Blues Breakers," which had begun in 1976, was in need of a new host. Marker grabbed the opportunity. He has been the producer and host of the program ever since.
For the last 16 years, he has also been the emcee on the main stage for the Chicago Blues Fest, as well as hosting WXRT-FM live remotes from before and during the annual summer festival.
In 1999, Tom Marker was honored by The Blues Foundation in Memphis, TN with a "Keeping The Blues Alive" Award.
93XRT's Tom Marker onstage at Buddy Guy's Legends