WGN Radio announces new weekday line-up and revamp of WGN.FM

John Williams returns to station as mid-morning host, Garry Meier to online station

johnwilliams-60-alt

John Williams

WGN Radio today announced changes to its weekday lineup, including the return of WGN Radio veteran, John Williams, and Garry Meier’s move to the “Freeform Media” online site, wgn.fm.

Effective May 27, 2014, WGN Radio will extend the Steve Cochran show from 5-10am with a focus on news in the 5am hour. 10am-12pm will mark the homecoming of John Williams to the station while Bob Sirott and Marianne Murciano continue their shift from 12-3pm. The Bill and Wendy Show will move to afternoon drive from 3-7pm, followed by the Pete McMurray Show from 7-11pm. Patti Vasquez joins the station as a full-time host in overnights from 11pm-2am, with Nick Digilio continuing to host from 2-5am.

Williams was a staple in middays during most of his prior 15-year run at WGN, which began in 1997. Honored numerous times for his work on the air, he was also renowned for his volunteer endeavors including service on the Salvation Army board of directors. Beginning in 2010, John spent two years broadcasting from the WGN Radio studios from 1-3p for WCCO-AM in Minneapolis before he left Chicago to host full-time in the Twin Cities in 2012. John will continue his afternoon anchor position 3-7pm from WCCO-AM in Minneapolis.

“John crafts radio shows that are laced with such unique wit and wisdom that you don’t want to miss a minute,” said Todd Manley, VP of Content at WGN Radio. “John was born to be on both of these great stations. We give many thanks to our friends at WCCO for so graciously sharing him.”

On Tuesday, Garry Meier will join the wgn.fm lineup which includes Jonathon Brandmeier (Game 87.7FM simulcast), “The Housing Guru” David Hochberg and “Business Rockstars” host Ken Rutkowski. Meier will keep an afternoon drive slot from 3-7pm. Additions to the lineup will be announced in the coming weeks. The site was introduced in September 2013 with Jonathon Brandmeier and served as the programming incubator for The Game 87.7FM which launched in February.

President and General Manager Jimmy de Castro is excited to see the bookends of Meier and Brandmeier on wgn.fm. “Garry is perfect for wgn.fm because he understands both the potential of spoken word and that the future of radio is programming to tech-savvy, mobile audiences. His approach to entertain interactively through digital media propels us into the future.” De Castro continued, “This is a great start to the revamp of our entire online and mobile products including our apps, websites and on-demand content distribution.”

165 comments

  • John Driscoll

    I wont listen to WGN again. I just hope you don't lose Brandmier or Garry on the FM, but your history of foolish moves before make me suspicious. When did Jim DeCastro become such an idiot? Steve Cochran and Kathy and Judy, and John Williams. Their demographic is all dead. Is that what your trying for? Bring back Wally Phillips then.

  • Dean

    Can’t believe you moved GM – to radio hell. seriously he and Pete McMurray were the only reasons to listen to wgn I am 51 and was starting to like wgn radio now I have listen to ROE AND ROPPER ON THE DRIVE HOME – bill and Wendy are lame. I switch to Pete when I get home – another wgn listener list – great job – maybe you will secure that 80 – 100 demographics now

  • Gary v

    Uugh , sirott and murciano
    Are clearly the weak link .
    I can see wgn logic but
    A boring married couple that just argues for hours ?
    Just make john Williams show longer

  • Gentianvio

    Skilling is going to be on Bill & Wendy's new time slot instead of Garry's stream show? Wow.

  • Diane

    Well… I guess no more WGN for me at 3:00. Without Garry and Elton Jim to make me laugh, there's no point in listening. And I won't.

  • Kaye

    Wow, your back to making a huge mistake. Garry is great, he just has to compete with all your sports interrupting his show. I will so miss him! guess I'll have to try wls again.

  • MIke

    Bad move. I have changed from listing to WGN radio in the mornings cause I can't stand that corn ball humor from Steve Cochran, follow up by more corn ball humor from Bill Left. Garry is about the only thing that has me laughing on the G.
    If you're targeting that 70 to 90 year old age bracket, you did it! Way to go!

  • MIke

    Bad move. I have changed from listing to WGN radio in the mornings cause I can't stand that corn ball humor from Steve Cochran, follow up by more corn ball humor from Bill Left. Garry is about the only thing that has me laughing on the G.

  • Rita

    Losing Garry in the afternoon you lost me .Get rid of Bob Sirrot. Putting on Cochran longer hurts my ears.
    Do we need a stand up comedian in the morning? How stupid can this station get. Can't take John Williams and his partial views on everything political.

  • Denise

    This is awful I love Bill and Wendy and Garry now I have to choose!!!!! I will probably choose neither. What is wrong with you folks you have 2 stellar teams and you put them against each other. NOT A SMART MOVE!!!!!!!! I agree get rid of Bob and Marianne she's stuck up and he is boring!

  • Brian

    John Williams should stay in Minnesota on public radio, I could not listen to his broadcast at all. He should turn his man card if he hasn't already. I bet he has a poster of Senator Al Frankin in his bedroom next to the bighead Obama and Oprah montage. Gary Meier is away better broadcaster on his worst day compared to Mr. Williams. The only reason to listen to 720 is the Hawks, if not preempted by the scrubs.

  • Former WGN listener

    You just can't keep a good thing when you have it. You guys really suck – I didn't like John Williams when he was on before and now with him back and the line-up change you've totally screwed things up. Off to the FM dial as I am totally done with WGN radio except for sports!

  • quit WGN

    Dear Mr. de Castro

    Thank you for the changes announced today. I will now be able to listen to WGN until noon and then shut it off for the rest of the day. I love to hear maryann and bob air their marital spats on air – it's just so entertaining.(lol). And the twlo prople you have slotted from 3 to 7 are so in lovew with themselves.
    What happened to talk radio where the hosts engaged their audiences?

  • Emily

    As someone from the 30’s age bracket, I am extremely disappointed in this move by WGN. Gary was the ONLY reason I had ever started listening to WGN. I was so happy when John Williams finally left as I was tired of hearing his biased political views every day! Gary kept it funny and light and that’s what people want to hear on the drive home! Terrible terrible terrible move! No more WGN for me :(

    • Kathy Brown

      I’m in my 50’s and I love Garry too! The interaction between everyone on his show is rare. They all have fun and make us laugh. They’re also very natural, unlike Bob and Marianne, the worst pair to ever hit the airwaves! Bad decision by the brass!

  • Gail Katzman

    It's apparent Garry offended WGN owners. Why couldn't this be rectified without being "fired"?

  • Makes no sense

    Gee..Hope Management looks at these posts..majority don't like Garry being moved..does this make sense..just the other day they announced they had won the ratings in this time slot???

  • Mary

    Well, I echo many of the comments above about moving Garry Meier to an online location – not something I can get in my car or on my many radios in the house – too bad for WGN – I have CDs at the ready to fill the void, but my afternoons were fun-filled and my drive home so enjoyable listening to Garry and company. Bill and Wendy, to me, are like white noise – bland voices, especially Wendy who seems to have a flat-line voice – rarely shows any emotion, up or down…This is another example of change not always being for the good…I will miss Garry and company, and I will not be listening to WGN during the afternoon drive time.

  • Ruth

    I echo the same sentiments of so many folks — I am very disappointed that Garry Meier is going to the FM channel. I suppose what's done is done. Oh well, there's always WIND and WLS radio.

    • Ron

      I have listened to Gary since he took the afternoon drive home spot. Looks like I will be taking WGN off my car radio. Bill and Wendy…….no thanks. Back to FM.

    • Radio lover

      Good points. I STOPPED listening to WLS in the afternoon after Garry left. I could NOT tolerate Roe Conn. I'll be listening to music or Relevant Radio coz I don't think 'IND comes in well.

  • PHILL

    g How soon will you tell us GENERAL MOTORS gave us all our money back AGAIN I need a laugh!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Larry

    Moving Gary is a bad move. Your best personality you have you move him to fm radio. Makes no sense.People in management better start watching over their shoulders as yhe next change may involve them. If you think FM is the way to go , why not move Cochran there as he thinks he is the reason your ratings have gone up. Why bring a personality back who is going to do the show from another state! Good Luck your going to need it.

  • diane

    Diane What the heck is wrong with you people? Bob and Marianne are very nice people but BORING! John Williams is a whole lot of nothing in my opinion and then you bring back those two ninnies Kathy and Judy. Now you are moving the only good thing about your radio programing, Gerry.

  • Kevin

    I agree with many of the comments. The change needs to be made at the noon – 3 slot. Nice people, boring show.

  • Laura

    After a long hard day at work, I looked forward to Lostening to Garry. I cannot get FM stations at my job and I sure as heck aren't going to sit at my computer to listen. To the powers that be at WGN: Put down the crack pipe! Garry is the best thing that has happened to your station, correction, OUR station and you're crapping it up! You did this once before and it bombed. You know what they say…..the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over but expecting different results. I will no longer be listening if I don't have Garry to listen to. IDIOTS!

  • Screwed again?

    STUPID!!! STUPID!!! HUGE mistake moving Garry!!! Garry was the reason that WGN has been back on track. Bill Leff is OK but Wendy is intolerable. So I won't be listening in the afternoons now. You have screwed up the nightly line up so much that we rarely listen then either, and now adding Patty Vasquez makes the evening hours even more of a bore. Have to wait til 2 am for Nick in order to turn the radio back on, as I am getting ready for work then. And we will not even go into the horrid weekend hours – you have really trashed that schedule, except for Mr. Fix-It. But I guess now with Garry gone, that leaves very little reason to listen to WGN at all, except for the Blackhawks!! You lost an entire family of Garry Meier fans and listeners on WGN. This sucks!!

  • Are you idiots?

    I hope that all you "suits" are reading all these comments so you can see that people do not even know where you are moving Garry to!!! Very few have figured out that this WGN-FM online streaming is not FM radio and not 87.7 – only available via the internet. But so what? We can no longer get Garry in our cars on the drive home like we are used to doing and as we still want to do. You have not even made it clear to people where Johnny B is languishing, so they cannot find him either. Even your own Johnny B commercials make a joke about the fact that no one can find him to listen – how stupid are you people?? The dumba$$ that made this decision should be fired. Plain and simple.

  • Bill

    Well WGN, I really hope you take note at these comments. Going back in time to try and relive the old days by hiring people past their prime is not a successful business plan. You had a fresh new show with Gerry who attracted a whole audience for WGN which had become stodgy and stale. Getting rid of Gerry is a huge mistake, and I will not tune into you station anymore. I predict that those that made this decision will be out of a job within a year.

  • Janet

    YES — we are really getting our old WGN Radio back. I listen from WI and love John Williams, and moving Bill and Wendy to afternoons is a brilliant move!!! Can't wait!!!!! Thank you so much, management, for listening to your listeners!!

  • Former WGN Listener

    You lost 3 loyal listeners of Garry from our family! So long WGN. May want to check with your listeners who support your advertisers and in turn pay your salaries before making drastic programing changes.

  • David

    Imagine the Chicago Bulls buying a small-town Iowa team in the NBA development league, and then, to try to juice the attendance for the new team, they send Derrick Rose to be its centerpiece, and declare that from now on, the Bulls in Chicago would be Carlos Boozer's team. That's what WGN just sadly did here. Garry Meier on the internet???? He must have made someone very angry behind the scenes, and they decided instead to punish the listening audience by taking him off the air. I guess our only consolation is that they didn't split up Bill and Wendy, who are becoming tremendously engaging and funny, and who have a connection between them that reminds me of, dare I say it, Steve and Garry back in the day.

  • bric123

    Yesterday, on another show,I listened to one of Garry's most faithful listeners—who now cannot listen to him any more because she can't afford a computer/ smart phone.

    They've kicked a lot of poor and older listeners pretty hard.
    Get mobile or get out.

    *I* have an iphone, but I'll have to update the phone and try to download the right ap and get it to work, which requires that I find a wifi network to park in while I do it—as well as deal with the usual user name/ password problems. On air is better.

    By the way, I haven't seen or heard anything from the station to help the less techy to find and listen to the online programming. Do they really want people to listen? They might act more like it!

  • bric123

    Yesterday, on another show,I listened to one of Garry's most faithful listeners—who now cannot listen to him any more because she can't afford a computer/ smart phone.

  • Carol

    I am also thoroughly upset with the changes made by WGN and their switching Gary to FM. I quit listening to WGN when they put Jonathon Brandmeier on in the morning. He was rude to his guests and was so unlike all of the upbeat people I had loved on WGN for 40 plus years: Wally Phillips, Uncle Bobbie, Spike, John Williams, Judy and Cathy. I had not changed my radio station in 40 years. Now when I finally had Steve Cocoran to wake up to and listen to on my ride to work and Gary for my drive home, I was in a position where once again I did not have to change the station.That didn't last long. Guess WGN doesn't much care about their listeners as they professed a few years ago.

  • Karen

    Cannot listen to streaming radio while driving! What were u thinking? We live 30 miles from downtown Chicago. The FM station does not come on any of our 3 newer cars! We want Garry back!

  • Deb Schwer

    Stupidity reigns!!! Moving Garry is a massively bonehead move. I was listening every day on my way home. Bill and Wendy are a snooze and I can't listen more then two minutes before changing the station or turning on my iphone. Great way to lose listeners.

  • DannyBoy

    Bozo isn't dead. He just moved from WGN tv to WGN management.
    Anyone there have a clue? What's next, Les Nessman reading news?

  • diane

    Now that Garry is gone, so is WGN. Bob and Marianne are SO BORING. So are Bill and Wendy. Bill is ok by himself and as for John Williams….absolutely annoying self important person. I cannot figure out radio management. Just when things are going well they change everything. So long WGN. You are a bunch of boobs.

  • Cathy

    I LOVED Gary in the afternoon – the new people are nice but BORING! Gary made me laugh so hard – please bring him back so I don't change the station!

  • Rita

    Miss Garry, Bob and Marianne are boring. other changes fine! am house bound most days, so like to have WGN on all day

  • Kathy

    The only time I now listen to WGN is when John Williams is on. I am so sick of Marianne talking constantly with no info on what she is saying. The same goes for Wendy. Steve Cochoran is an idiot interrupting every one else and thinks he is so funny. Bring Gary back. Your station is definitely sinking fast.

  • audrey malo

    Love Nick, Steve and John. No longer listen to wgn after noon. Those on from noon on are mostly annoying.. Especially Patti. Could she talk a little faster? Wgn is on only from two am until noon.

Comments are closed.


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