New owner for 4 Chicago radio stations

By Wailin Wong
Posted Jan. 19 at 1:32 p.m.

Four radio stations in Chicago, including WTMX-FM 101.9 and WDRV-FM 97.1, are getting new owners as part of a $505 million deal between Hubbard Broadcasting Inc. and Bonneville International Corporation.

Bonneville, which is headquartered in Salt Lake City, is selling 17 radio stations to Minneapolis-based Hubbard. Chicago is one of four “strategic markets” that Hubbard is adding to its portfolio with the acquisition, the company said in a press release. The other markets are Washington, D.C., St. Louis and Cincinnati.

The four local Bonneville stations joining Hubbard are The Drive WDRV-FM 97.1, Chicago’s Rewind WILV-FM 100.3, The Mix WTMX-FM 101.9 and The Drive WWDV-FM 96.9.

Hubbard added that it “expects no programming or personnel changes for any of the acquired radio stations subsequent to the transaction.”

Hubbard’s employee count will grow by 547 people to 701 full- and part-time employees as a result of the deal. Bonneville’s president and chief executive, Bruce Reese, will join Hubbard in the same role. Bonneville Chief Operating Officer Drew Horowitz is also transferring to the Minneapolis company.

Bonneville’s parent company is Deseret Management Corp., the for-profit arm of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

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  1. citybiker Jan. 19 at 2:09 pm

    I hope they put relevant quality music and or talk on these stations. Chicago radio used to be good. help us out

  2. Rick A Jan. 19 at 2:12 pm

    I can’t say I’m not glad to see the ownership of these stations transitioning AWAY from the Mormon church. This is very good news.

  3. InTheBiz Jan. 19 at 2:17 pm

    I don’t think either of you know what you are talking about. Bonneville Radio Group is a very well run company and treats it’s employees very well.

  4. Pelly Jan. 19 at 2:18 pm

    Maybe they will bring back the middle of the road/light classical format for 97.1. Hopefully

  5. Jeeper Jan. 19 at 2:39 pm

    No more mormon programming standards where Eric and Kathy can’t use the word “damn” on the air…

  6. Spiney Jan. 19 at 2:47 pm

    Rick A,

    Why is this good news? Were they deficient in how they presented your rock ‘n’ roll?


    Why does anyone need to say “damn” on the air? If it bothered the morning team so much why did they stay?

  7. Blakeman Jan. 19 at 3:02 pm

    @Jeeper Yeah, radio would be MUCH better if Eric and Kathy could say damn, say, every 10 seconds…

  8. steve Jan. 19 at 3:49 pm

    someone is being asked not to say damn? religious nuts!

  9. jw Jan. 19 at 4:58 pm

    come on over to Satellite radio, the “water” is mighty fine. You have no idea how pleasant it is to not have to listen to any commercials…or if raunchy humor (or the occasional damn) is to your liking you can find that also.

  10. bob Jan. 19 at 5:16 pm

    To have anything in this country (and in this day and age) go from a religious nature to a secular one, is a triumph for the scant sanity and educated thinking which remains.

  11. Chicago Downtowner Jan. 19 at 5:40 pm

    In the 90’s, Congress passed a law making it possible for companies to own as many radio stations as they wanted, the argument being that the business couldn’t survive any other way. Hogwash! Radio has become a wasteland (someone once said that about television) of sameness and mediocrity. I agree with the commenter who said satellite radio is the place to be. What we really need is to pass a law making it legal to only own one radio station in a city and limit the number to seven in total like it once was – return to the era of hands on owners and service to the community. The way it is now, they would better to nationalize it as they do in Britain and have stations licensed to serve the whole country. Essentially, that would legitimize what they have now. but going back to mom and pop owners would be great and once again, give us variety. Internet radio is just fantastic and I cannot wait until the technology comes where it can be received consistently in the car.

  12. Lars Jan. 19 at 6:01 pm

    I boycotted these stations when I found out that they were owned by the LDS. Glad to see Mormonville has figured out that they and their backwards ignorance aren’t wanted here. Don’t know much about Hubbard, but will look into them. After 4 years of nothing but NPR I don’t really miss any of the goofy morning show personalities.

  13. Cosmo Costanza Jan. 19 at 6:41 pm

    Well Hubbard is hardly a bastion of the Minn. DFL party. Big contributors to the Norm Coleman crowd.

  14. Jeeper Jan. 19 at 9:54 pm

    Apparently, sarcasm doesn’t come across well on the ‘net.

    Being mormon-state owned, The Mix was held to higher moral standards than, say, Q101. DJs were often refrained from using the most simplistic of all cuss words (“damn”, for instance) and songs were frequently censored for such words as well. I haven’t listened to the Mix in a few years…does the traffic girl still do the “sexy traffic” report? I’m very surprised the mormons allowed that segment…

    Just to be clear: my wife and I used to drive into work together — she loved the station — then it was switched to Q101 after I dropped her off.

  15. joeschmo Jan. 20 at 6:41 a.m.

    @LARS: After 4 years of NPR your brain must REALLY be brainwashed. And “boycotting” a station because of their ownership proves my point. Bonneville was one of the few companies that actually had LIVE DJ’s and preferred LIVE over the canned pre-recorded shows that most radio stations broadcast today.

    I actually enjoy WDRV, WILV & the Mix. God only knows what will happen to them now. Say goodbye to the last of LIVE DJ’s on radio…RIP Bonneville.

  16. bob Jan. 20 at 7:32 a.m.

    I sure hope these stations are not being made into another friggin mexican radio station like wnua,I will have to get a hd radio to avoid them

  17. Lee Farmington farmington NM Jan. 20 at 11:03 a.m.

    How Much Money did these Stations Make from the Political Ads?? Instead of Helping communities that had to put up with all the ADS they buy more to get ready for 2012 election

  18. Lee Farmington farmington NM Jan. 20 at 11:09 a.m.

    Sat Radio is the place to be ? Until you get there than the same Just as Cable TV promised different once there it is all the same So Sat radio will do the same until you switch than commercials and same music over and over It’s starting on DirectV radio stations ,can see the pattern starting the same songs are on a LOOP

  19. westsideclay Jan. 20 at 11:57 a.m.

    Bonneville owns “the Sound in L.A. and it’s pretty much the only station worth listening to out here. Quit complaining you still have WXRT which I have to stream if I want decent music. You also have the best classical station in the US. Try living or traveling outside of Chicago, and then tell me how bad your market is. You are the luckiest people in the country!

  20. Marrs96 Jan. 20 at 1:43 pm

    Westsideclay are you crazy. LA is the home of KCRW, the best radio station for music bar none in the States. (& XRT? – the station has been crap since the early 90’s.)

  21. Married2Me Jan. 20 at 2:57 pm

    I’ve no love for LDS, but I’m sure you’ll all enjoy the improvement in quality as the new ownerships allow advertising from casinos, gentlemen’s clubs and cigar bars, just like the Clear Channel stations. Wait til they start dumping staff to find “synergy.”