The Loop stopped being “The Loop” as soon as it dropped talk and went to classic rock in 1997. At that point it became the memory of The Loop and would cash in on that goodwill for the next 20 years.
Looking back, the Sam Zell Tribune deal was the worst thing to ever happen to Chicago. It will ultimately be responsible for either killing or wounding the Chicago Tribune, WGN-TV, WGN Radio, WGN Superstation, The Loop, and Q101.
Emmis got pounded by the Great Recession and had to sell assets. They were in talks with Randy Michaels and Tribune. If the New York Times didn’t expose the bad behavior behind the scenes, WKQX would have become WGN-FM.
Randy got bounced, got the financing for Merlin Media and launched a news station that had too many consultants and no good ideas. Merlin wanted to get out in 2013, and Cumulus was the only group in expansion mode.
The Dickeys are rich failsons who suck at radio and their successor had to file for Chapter 11. The Merlin LMA was scrapped and EMF was the only group with the money or willingness to meet their price.
If The Loop is the price to pay for flushing Cumulus out of our lives it will be worth it. Radio will be so much better as soon as private equity groups get out of our business.
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