Unplugged: “The Loop” changes format after 41 years

On Saturday, March 10th, 2018, iconic station WLUP changed formats after being sold to Christian broadcaster Educational Media Foundation for $21.5 million. The station is now part of the K-LOVE network, broadcasting contemporary Christian music.

“The Loop,” as it was known, began in 1977, and quickly established itself as a centerpiece of rock music, irreverent attitudes, and strong personalities. Steve Dahl’s infamous Disco Demolition Night at Comiskey Park in the summer of 1979 is but one example of the station’s unconventional, spontaneous approach to radio.

Chicago has been the stomping ground of many famous radio personalities, and WLUP’s embrace of such personalities as the aforementioned Steve Dahl and Matthew Erich “Mancow” Muller was a key part of their success in the 80’s and 90’s. Both Dahl and Mancow were part of a generation of “shock jocks,” whose deliberately provocative performances dominated the radio market at the time.

Below is a collection of clips from two episodes of Radio Faces (including some unaired footage), produced by Tom Weinberg and Joel Cohen, that features interviews with Jimmy De Castro (who ran the station during its heyday), Larry Wert (general manager of WLUP), and Mancow Muller. The footage was shot during during Mancow’s show, and aired on July 7th, 1995.

Chicago’s respected media columnist and blogger, Robert Feder, quoted
Mancow after he heard the news:
“The Loop meant something,” [Mancow] told me later. “It was the stuff of legend and of Chicago heritage. I don’t think people realize what they’ve lost . . . yet. It was a 41-year-old psychedelic trippy guitar-driven freak-out dream of a radio station that is waking up to the realities of 2018.”
Watch the full version both episodes 2 and 3 on our website here and here, respectively. Watch the raw footage of the Larry Wert interview here, and watch the full raw footage of Mancow in the studio here.




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