After a nine-month absence, Erich “Mancow” Muller will make his return to morning drive in Chicago Jan. 3. As expected, the outspoken personality, last heard on classic rock “The Loop” WLUP-FM, lands at WLS Chicago (890) as part of a revamped talent lineup at the Cumulus Media talker.

Mancow, who is starting his 25th year in Chicago radio, says the time is right for his return to WLS, where he was previously paired with Pat Cassidy in middays from 2008 to 2010. “I think I was ahead of my time in Chicago radio,” he told Chicago media reporter Robert Feder. “The constant battle that I had with program directors was that my show was just too doggone fast. The radio I hear today is so achingly slow and doesn’t fit in with our current modern lifestyles.”

Mancow has been missing from the Chicago airwaves since the demise of classic rock “The Loop’ in March. His return to WLS also reunites him with Cumulus VP/market manager Marv Nyren, who fired him in 2006 from alternative “Q101” WKQX (101.1) when Nyren was managing the station for then-owner Emmis Communications. Mancow sued Nyren shortly after Nyren was appointed to his Cumulus Chicago post in November 2017. Mancow said he “suffered emotionally and physically with the prospect that Nyren will continue his efforts to retaliate against him,” but dropped the suit in January 2018.

“To have one of Chicago’s all-time personalities back on WLS AM 890 solidifies the station as the place to go for world, national and local coverage of what’s happening today,” Nyren said in a statement.

The personality says his new show won’t sound like today’s political talk or the shock style radio he helped popularize on “Mancow’s Morning Madhouse” on the former “Rock 103.5” WRCX. “It’s not gonna be the show of the past, and it won’t be solely political talk,” he told Feder. “But when we do talk politics, it won’t be what people think it will be.”

John Dempsey remains as morning news anchor on WLS, and Midge “Luv Cheez” Ripoli will reunite with Muller as executive producer. No other contributors have been announced for the show. “It will be a totally new cast,” Muller promised.

He replaces the morning team of Big John Howell and Ramblin’ Ray Stevens, whose last day was Friday. Howell will segue to late afternoons (5-7pm), following Ben Shapiro in the new revamped station lineup.