Thursday, March 8, 2018

A Christian takeover of the Loop?

I remember being a pre-teenaged kid back in the early days of WLUP-FM when it was at its late ‘70s peak – when Steve Dahl was a young smartass rather than his cranky aged self and before he tried turning Comiskey Park into a funeral pyre for bad music.
Back in the days when Lorelei’s lips gave many a 12-year-old boy a wet dream.

AND BACK WHEN “the Loop’s” listenership would have been people inclined to listen to “the Devil’s music” of hard rock ‘n’ roll!

So what should we think of the fact that the radio station formally brought its programming to an end this week, and on Saturday will officially be taken over by a company that desires to turn the 97.9 FM radio frequency into one that broadcasts Christian-themed programming.

Is this The Lord himself trying to purify a radio frequency that the hard-core ideologue fanatics would say for four decades has given Chicago various forms of Satan’s tunes?

Is it truly some sort of bad irony that the station would become Christian? With Dahl himself publicly suggesting that the final tune he thinks should be played on the station before it becomes religious in them is “Highway to Hell.”

AS THOUGH WE really need another playing of AC/DC before the new owners turn it into a sister station of Arlington Heights-based WCLR (The Educational Media Foundation now owns both, along with 342 others across the country)!
Should one of these t-shirts go on exhibit at the Chicago History Museum?
Personally, I think too much is made of this theme. The reality is that the radio business is ever evolving and changing. The fact that the WLUP format and image survived from 1978 to the present means it had a long run.

One much longer than many other radio stations can even dream of having.

For all the crackpots who are eager to say WLUP ultimately failed, I’d say its successes put it at a level that make it an image permanently a part of Chicago. Although I think that now-unemployed broadcaster Mancow Muller overstates his significance when he says he can now go off to broadcast retirement like past Chicago iconic figures like Ray Rayner and Bozo the Clown.
One-time WLUP competitor also now has religious image

ACTUALLY, WHAT THE WLUP situation makes me recall is another hard-rock radio station of my Junior High school years – the old WMET-FM. I can remember being a 13-year-old listening to my fellow students quarrel over which station was better.

WMET ceased to exist in Chicago decades ago. The call letters are now used by a Washington, D.C.-area radio station that is part of the Guadalupe Radio Network.

As in it offers up programming meant to appeal specifically to Catholics. The two rockin’ images of the late ‘70s on the radio are now in the hands of people determined to serve God.

I still remember when I did a stint in college in Washington in the mid-1980s and being shocked to hear the “MET” call letters in the use of the Lord. Even though none of my non-Chicago counterparts in D.C. could appreciate the irony.
From the Beatles to Rush (as in Limbaugh)

I MUST CONFESS to not having actually listened to “The Loop” in years. I don’t doubt the people writing broadcast eulogies who say the station reached its peak in the late ‘70s and failed to adapt to the changing times.

But the idea of “the Loop” going religious isn’t the biggest abomination that could have occurred.

That, in my opinion, occurred many years ago when the one-time “Music Radio” WLS-AM that gave us Top 40 rock ‘n’ roll with its “Silver Dollar Surveys” of the top records decided to become a serious talk radio station.

The concept of Rush (as in Limbaugh, not Geddy Lee) filling the Chicago airwaves’ same frequency that once gave us Larry Lujack (and sidekick ‘Lil’ Tommy Edwards)? That’s more abhorrent than any programming change taking place now at “98 FM.”


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