New at oldies WLS-FM: Winston & Miller
In a seismic shift involving four of radio’s best known voices, Fred Winston moves in to afternoons, Brant Miller returns to mornings, Greg Brown moves up to middays, and Scott Shannon moves out at oldies WLS-FM (94.7).
All four moves, announced Friday, mark a wholesale realignment of the daytime lineup at the Cumulus Media station, which is being rebranded Chicago's Classic Hits.
Winston, a Chicago radio legend who first joined sister station WLS-AM (890) in 1971 when it was a Top 40 powerhouse, has been working weekends on WLS-FM since late August. Starting Monday, he’ll be on from 2:30 to 6pm Monday through Friday.
“Fred personifies WLS,” said Jan Jeffries, senior vice president of programming for Cumulus Media and program director of WLS-FM. “He is back where he belongs in the driver's seat every afternoon.”
Winston, who’d been sidelined since June 2005 when CBS Radio switched WJMK-FM (104.3) from oldies to Jack FM, said he was eager to return. "I'm proud to be joining the best team in radio today,” he said in a statement. “I'm so excited that Jan Jeffries and Cumulus brought me onboard to reintroduce myself to Chicago, afternoons on WLS-FM."
Miller, who previously hosted mornings on WLS-FM, returns Monday to join co-host Marti Jones from 5 to 10am weekdays. On Thursday, the station parted company with Dave Fogel after more than two years as morning personality.
For Miller, it's his third run at the station. From 1977 to 1991, he was a popular personality on WLS-AM and its FM counterpart. He was brought back in April 2008 to host mornings on the FM station until January 2010.
"I am thrilled to return to the station I know so well," Miller said in a statement Friday. "The opportunity to work with Jan Jeffries and the team at 94.7 WLS is extremely exciting. The WLS listeners have always made me feel right at home.”
Miller, who began in radio during high school in his native Portland, Oregon, worked for stations in Denver, Dallas, Honolulu and Washington, D.C., before coming to Chicago, where he also hosted mornings on hot adult-contemporary WTMX-FM (101.9) from 1993 to 1994. While still working in radio, Miller segued to weather forecasting in 1989 when he started as a part-timer at Fox Chicago. In 1991, he moved to NBC 5, where he continues as chief meteorologist.
Brown, a 38-year veteran of Chicago radio who’s enjoyed great success at numerous stations in a variety of formats, has been hosting afternoons at WLS-FM since October 2007. Starting Monday, he’ll be on from 10am to 2:30pm Monday through Friday.
That means curtains for Shannon, the Radio Hall of Famer and veteran New York radio personality and programmer, who launched the format as Chicago’s True Oldies Channel in September 2005. For years he doubled as program director and the most ubiquitous voice on the station. More recently he’s been voice-tracking only the midday shift.
John Records Landecker continues from 6:30 to 11pm, followed by Radio Hall of Famer Dick Biondi from 11pm to 2am. "We got the band back together from when we were all at WLS back in the day," Jeffries said. "The planets line up perfectly with a legendary talent roster."
In an unrelated move, Jeff Andrews, who has been assistant program director at WLS-FM since December, was named program director and afternoon host at Cumulus Media’s KCHZ-FM in Kansas City. He previously was program director and afternoon host at Cumulus Media’s WNFN-FM in Nashville. No replacement was named for him here.
In the latest Arbitron survey, WLS-FM had a cumulative weekly audience of more than 1,486,000. Among listeners between the ages of 25 and 54 — its target demographic — the station ranked 15th with a 2.8 percent share.