The Loop. WLUP-FM. FM98. Later, 97.9 FM.
As of this week, The Loop is gone from our radio dials. I rarely feel sad for dead celebrities, but I am a bit heartbroken over the passing of The Loop. For those of you not in the Chicago area, it was the greatest rock station in the universe. More on that debate later.
Sure, The Loop hasn’t really been “The Loop” for a decade or two. I’ve lost track of the ownership changes and lately it’s been programmed by some automated robot, or even worse, a Millennial who wouldn’t know the difference between Bon Scott and Brian Johnson.
There’s no Steve Dahl, Johnny B, or breaking cool Tom Petty records anymore. It’s pretty much full of 30-year-old Def Leppard songs lately like every other lame classic rock station owned by a failing conglomerate in America. I haven’t bothered to tune in for many years. And you haven’t tuned in either; if we had, The Loop may have survived. It’s just another underperforming media property being sold and dismantled.
Influence on My Life
The Loop was the most influential radio station in the universe from ’79 until about ’84. Well, in my universe anyway! My biggest influencers from the world of radio in my childhood were:
- The iconic one: WLS
- The fictional one: WKRP
- The real one: The Loop
The Loop influenced me in many ways from adolescence through adulthood. It was my friend in times when I had no friends. The Loop was a factor in my wanting to work in (and my obsession with) radio. Without The Loop, I would not have wanted to be a rock jock, and therefore would never have met my wife and therefore we would not have our daughter! Wow!
Without The Loop, there would be no Steve Dahl. Without Dahl, there would be no Howard Stern. Without Stern, there would be no Social Geek Radio. Okay, that last one is a stretch, but throw me a bone.
Many people in Chicago will tell you that WXRT was much more influential and far superior to The Loop. Don’t get me wrong – someday when XRT inevitably folds, I’ll be writing about that brilliantly-programmed entity too.
As far as the availability of the Loop’s or XRT’s music, a few channels on Sirius XM currently fill that void for most of us Gen Xers who are not dead or have not relocated to Texas or Florida.
The Loop hadn’t been cool for many years and wasn’t yet old enough to be retro chic. But now that it’s officially gone, perhaps it will be cool to wear The Loop t-shirt again. I just hope it still fits.