It appears programming on Chicago's iconic rock station "The Loop" will come to an end as fast as news broke that the radio station was sold to a Christian broadcaster.
According to a letter to employees from Marv Nyren, vice president of Cumulus-Chicago, WLUP's programming will end Tuesday, just hours after reports first surfaced on the sale.
According to the Chicago Tribune and a recent filing with the Federal Communications Commission, the Educational Media Foundation has agreed to buy WLUP-97.9 FM from Merlin Media for $21.5 million, planning to covert the legendary station into a “non-commercial educational station.”
WLUP, home to the “Mancow” morning show, has long been operated by Cumulus Media, but the company pulled out of plans to buy the station following a bankruptcy filing last month, according to multiple reports.
"While we had hoped to be the highest bidder for the station, we are taking the sale of the Loop as an opportunity to ensure we have the right people in the right jobs and are keeping as many employees as possible," the letter to employees read.
Nyren said the station will continue playing classic rock through the end of the week. Then, Education Media Foundation, which runs stations K-Love and Air1, will begin its programming.
Representatives for Merlin Media and EMF could not immediately be reached for comment.
Erich “Mancow” Muller told Robert Feder “the Loop has lasted 41 years” and he had “hoped we’d be on to celebrate her 50th," but wished the new station "all the best."
He added that “lots of great folks will be without a job and that’s very sad.”
"We wish each and every one of those affected by the sale nothing but the best as we all move forward," the letter to employees read. "As with any difficult decisions we encounter in life, we now have the choice how we handle this opportunity."
Read the full letter below:
By now, you may have heard that WLUP-FM has been sold to EMF, Educational Media Foundation, by Merlin Media. This means that we will end WLUP’s current programming today, and later this week or next week, we will cease to be operating WLUP-FM.
What does this mean to Cumulus-Chicago and those of us not affected by the sale? While we had hoped to be the highest bidder for the station, we are taking the sale of the Loop as an opportunity to ensure we have the right people in the right jobs and are keeping as many employees as possible. In finalizing this sale, we can now focus on the future stability of the Chicago cluster and necessary growth to remain competitive. We continue to be in active discussions with Merlin regarding an acquisition of WKQX-FM. The sale of the Loop has no impact on our desire to bring WKQX-FM formally into the Cumulus family at the right price.
We wish each and every one of those affected by the sale nothing but the best as we all move forward. I will do my best to continue to provide you all with as much information as possible as we finalize the transfer of WLUP-FM to EMF, and I am available should you have any questions during this period.
As with any difficult decisions we encounter in life, we now have the choice how we handle this opportunity. I look forward to continuing to grow these legendary stations with your help. Thank you in advance for your support, understanding and dedication to our future successes.