WLUP-FM Chicago has jettisoned one of the market’s best-known names, Jonathan Brandmeier, to focus more on music in morning drive with former midday host Byrd (John Kempf) moving to the earlier slot. In a note to fans on his own website, Brandmeier said he had no idea that he wouldn’t be back on the air after a Thanksgiving break.
According to both the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times, Brandmeier had three months remaining on his contract with Emmis Communications, so he’ll be on a well-paid vacation for a while. The Sun-Times reported that he got a base salary of $500-600K at “The Loop,” but with provisions for endorsements and live reads that could take that closer to $1 million.
There was immediate speculation that Brandmeier could land at Tribune’s WGN-AM or possibly Citadel’s WLS-AM, both of which are primarily Talk stations. Brandmeier’s four hour morning show had been the only part of the daily schedule on The Loop which was primarily personality-talk-driven.
According to the Chicago Tribune, Brandmeier’s morning show on what was then CBS Radio’s WCKG-FM was #1 in Men 25-54 by Arbitron diary measurement when it ended in 2001. WLUP brought him back from Los Angeles four years later. Under the new Portable People Meter (PPM) measurement by Arbitron, the show on WLUP was 17th for the demo in October.