That title "could be" or "could not be" true, depending on how much faith you have on the rumblings around the radio landscape after news of Emmis Communications sale of local radio stations WKQX "Q101" and WLUP "The Loop" to Merlin Media and Chicago-based equity firm GTCR earlier today.
If you trust the all-knowing Robert Feder in his Time Out Chicago article today, he says that Randy Michaels, former Tribune CEO and current Merlin Chariman & CEO, is looking to change the station from it's current (and legendary alternative) format to an all news format.
Whether or not you are a current or previous listener of Q101 "Chicago's Alternative", the station has been a big part of a majority of Chicago's (and surrounding area's) youth for the past almost twenty years.
It was a station that brought Mancow and the Smashing Pumpkins to the ears of the nation and helped break many more local bands (Disturbed & Fall Out Boy to name a few) into the spotlight with it's solid programming and smart advertising/marketing.
This station was also the reason that I wanted to get into radio as I was a loyal listener growing up in the 90's. Going to the summer Jamboree shows and falling asleep to Loveline or Local 101 were staples of my youth.
I was fortunate to have interned there back in the summer of 02', a few years before the "shuffle" experiment hit, and have lots of amazing memories from the people, places, and experiences from that six months of working there.
The talk of this format switch hits home with me as I'm sure that everyone currently working there is fearing for the safety of their jobs, a feeling that I know all too well as I felt the same way when I was working at 94.7 "The Zone" and they flipped to Oldies three months before I graduated from college, great time to be wondering if my job was safe or if I was going to be shown the door due to the format flip.
It's a crappy situation no matter how you shape it because the new owner has to make profit in order to validate his purchase, business is business, when it comes down to it.
Radio is a fun and exciting profession to work in and there are plenty of days where I miss it, but it's situations like this that make me realize that I never want to deal with that feeling again.
Hopefully all this talk is just that..."talk" and Q101 stays Q101, but if there was one thing I learned during my years in radio: "If there's a rumor and Robert Feder is reporting about it, it's most likely true or going to be true".
Update: I completely forgot to include two items that are very important to Q101 & it's history:
- James Van Osdol, one of my radio idols and former Q101 jock, is looking for support so he can fund an oral history of Q101, as told by former DJs, programmers, staff, and friends. It's being housed here on the Kickstarter website and has around a month left to reach it's goal...if you are a fan of Q101, current or former, go and support JVO's project so we all can own a true piece of history!
- There are many petitions being circulated to show Randy Michaels that Q101 has a solid and worthwhile following, here is the main one I've come across in the past day.