Chicago radio veteran Steve Dahl has announced he will end his afternoon program on WLS Chicago (880) on Dec. 21. Dahl’s exit is the first in what is believed to be a major overhaul at the Cumulus Media talk station. The National Radio Hall of Famer will continue his podcast via The Steve Dahl Network, which Cumulus is a partner in.
Dahl has been in afternoons at WLS for the past four years. His Chicago market resume is dotted with the call letters WCKG, WDAI, WLUP and WMVP after beginning his radio career in Detroit at WABX and WWWW.
“I love radio and will miss being on the air every day,” Dahl wrote in an email to Chicago media reporter Robert Feder. “The last four years have flown by, and I think Dag, Brendan and I have been doing good solid work, both on the radio and on our podcast. I would have liked to finish with some better radio ratings, but that didn’t happen.”
As Feder pointed out in a post earlier this week, the once-mighty WLS has been struggling as of late. Dahl’s afternoon program ranked 25th in the ever-important money demo, 25-54.
“WLS-AM was always going to be an uphill battle, and circumstances just didn’t lend themselves to us being able to break out like we hoped we would,” Dahl continued. The veteran host said he is encouraged by reaction to his podcast and that Cumulus continues to be a partner in the Steve Dahl Network, his subscription based on-demand platform. “Podcasts are clearly the future for personality-driven programming,” Dahl said. “I’m flattered that the folks here see us as an important bridge to that future.”
In his earlier report, Feder said a “major overhaul” would take place at the station come the New Year. Dahl announcing his final show looks to be the first of those changes.
“I’m grateful to have been given the chance to spend a few more years doing live local radio,” he wrote in closing.” I will miss it. I hope it misses me a little bit, too. We’ve been through a lot together.”