New Alternative Rock radio station in Chicago: 87.7 fm

Merlin Media, the company that bought and canned Q101, is bringing two new radio stations to the airwaves this week.

And it’s not Q101.

Its Q 87.7 fm and they’re calling it “Chicago’s Underground Alternative.” Spinning tracks from Rage Against The Machine, The Shins, White Stripes, The Black Keyes, and Smashing Pumpkins, it sounds promising. There is a Q87.7 Facebook page already up though. Since 87.7 fm used to be a smooth jazz radio station that nobody listened to, this looks to be a good change of pace.

101.1 fm is still a talk news radio station, and has predictably tanked since the start. It’s now completely bottoming out, which is probably why we’re hearing some rock back on Chicago airwaves-  “Meanwhile, as FM News 101.1 continues to languish at the bottom of the ratings and bleed red ink, the station eliminated three news anchors Friday in a restructuring of assignments. Much of its output now comes from the station’s counterpart in New York through shared anchor arrangements,” according to a Time Out Chicago article.

Q101 is supposedly set to be back on the radio as 1530 am WJJG as of this weekend. I couldn’t get it going on my radio to confirm it, but you can stream Q101 on if your radio is also a bum and can’t pick up 1530 am.

So what is up with Q101? Q101 is still around and now streaming online and now on 1530am. To find out the details of why they were taken off air check out:

I’m glad we got some rock back on the FM airwaves that doesn’t suck as bad as 97.9 The Loop or The Drive. But why is the new alt rock station have the ‘Q’ 87.7 fm if it’s all separate from ‘Q’ 101?

Also, just an additional disclaimer, I don’t fully support 87.7 as it’s under management of Merlin Media and Randy Michaels, both notorious for unprofessionalism and mismanagement since Michaels’ firing from the Tribune company. I’d recommend tuning into Q101 on the 1530 AM airwaves over 87.7fm.


  1. So for 87.7 sounds great

  2. Tom Tom says:

    “Since 87.7 fm used to be a smooth jazz radio station that nobody listened to, this looks to be a good change of pace.”

    Not true. They averaged over a half-million listeners and their facebook page has more fans than any other Chicago radio station. And I’m with you on WLUP sucking, but why diss The Drive?? It’s actually tolerable Chicago radio, which is almost impossible to find.

    • chicagoranter says:

      Alright well I guess numbers don’t lie, but I have never once heard anyone talk about how they listen to ‘87.7 FM Jazz’… and The Drive is fine, as long as you’re down for hearing “All Along the Watchtower” 7 times a day.

    • Michael says:

      You are right because the smooth jazz easily had more loyal listeners, and listeners all together. I loved their specialty programs like “The Sounds of Brazil” and Ramsey Lewis’ program. I don’t see an alternative rock or active rock station (especially with metal thrown in the music mix) to garner that many listeners.

  3. not all radios get 87.7 … couple friends and my radio stops at 87.9

  4. No way to dis 97.1 and 97.9. Rock and Roll has been around and always will be. Alternative rock has its place, but don’t put down the old stuff!

  5. Michael says:

    It was bad enough losing Smooth Jazz to obnoxious rock music. And that was very sudden and unexpected. Another once great station (WJJG) is about to go even further downhill with the same format. As J. Wojohowitz said in his reply, “WJJG should have gone dark long before Joe Gentile dropped dead.” Good luck with listeners, both of you. 101.1 FM should have went dark too. 87.7 should have been left alone. At least there’s 90.9 FM, which plays even better music, with terrific disc jockies. WDCB is it for me. They will never jump the shark.

    • J. Wojohowitz says:

      Michael, glad you agree. I lived for years in another state and dreamed of the day I’d move to Chicago to either work in radio or just listen to a real kick ass radio market. I was so disappointed when I arrived. With tons of stations from one end of the band to another you would think there would be some creativity, quality, or variety with a little something for everyone? I know, it’s a business, you have to put on a show that will sell. But my question is how in the world can you sell such crap to anyone? Well, enough of my rant. I’m going back to XM Radio to satisfy my radio needs. It’s radio the way it was meant to be.

      • Michael says:

        J. Wojohowitz, I am happy that you agree with me. Very happy. I feel the same way as you. Believe it or not, I wanted work in radio myself, especially at WJJG. In fact, I spoke with the former manager, John DiVita a year ago. Little did I know what would lie ahead for October 2011 (Gentile’s death and a format change). The same is true for earlier this month (don’t want to say).

        Yes, I thought some variety would be on the radio dial, especially considering the fact that Chicago is diverse in its music and ethnic, cultural backgrounds. There are countless Spanish stations (most cater to Mexicans as if it’s Los Angeles) and African-American gospel stations. Not racism here, just truth =).

        Yea, XM for me too. In fact, XM for us all. Thanks for the reply.

  6. Michael says:

    I can agree with that, since at least 97.1 actually plays lesser heard and more underrated songs. That’s a great thing because underrated is what we want to hear. 97.9, I am sorry to say, sucks even more since it’s been watered down. I do agree that rock n’roll, no matter what, is here forever. I am at least mature enough to know that. However, it doesn’t mean that I should like it.

  7. Thank You Thank You Thank You!!! Rock on Chicago!!!

  8. that doesn’t suck as bad as 97.9 The Loop or The Drive.

    Umm q101 sucked that’s why they decided to get rid of it instead of the Loop which Merlin also bought. Plus the Drive and 97.9 play real music not alternative garbage.

  9. Love it

  10. the station is blastAND I USED TO THE SUPERMAN ON THAT STATION q101

  11. I would love to listen to 1530 but I have never been able to get it to come in on my radio. I’ve tried downtown, just past Chicago and way out in the suburbs. Has anyone been able to listen? Also, I heard 87.7 claim they were a new Q101 the ad said they were back after a year being off the air.

    • chicagoranter says:

      i cant get it on my radio either, even in the car it comes in with a lot of static because of the a.m. frequency… and i havent heard Q87,7 say that its the new Q101 but i can see that it is trying to get that reputation despite being owned by merlin media, the company that forced Q101 off air…

  12. very dissapointed with the new 87.7.same songs over and over.sick of hearing toooo much of red hot chili peppers and foo fighters.did the program director come from Q101? it seems to be the same crap,exactly why i had to stop listening to Q101.”undergroung” it is not!.”alternative” give me a break!as a matter of fact WARG 88.9 in Summit plays much better music

    • J. Wojohowitz says:

      OK, let’s really give up on AM 1530 WJJG, aka The Lightbulb as in their power is equal to that of a lightbuib. They’re NOT changing their format apparently and will continue on their losing streak of running Man Cow and Michael Savage all day and night. What did they (the management) have in mind when they ran they decided to go with this choice of talk? Their signal? If a mosquito farts during daylight hours, it’ll block their signal. If you have a Smartphone or Iphone you can listen to them anytime day or night, but good luck with that. If you listen to them in stereo (like most good stations on streaming) you’ll get them in left channel only. Nice. Also check them out after their sign off. WJJG promotes themselves as broadcasting 24/7. After they play the national anthem, which is very 1960’s, it ends, starts the sign off announcement and plays it again, and again, and again. Please throw in the towel WJJG, you suck, you blow, and you need to go dark.

      • chicagoranter says:

        hahaha best thing I read about the new am 1530. I’ve only heard it a few times and the sound is terrible. They really got screwed over with whoever sol that deal. But are they still playing Mancow and Savage? I thought it was supposed to be streaming the same thing as now? ->’s-web-only-q101-lands-am-dial
        You’re right about the lightbulb power haha, I cannot even tune in to confirm they changed or if its still playing syndicated talkshows…

      • Michael says:

        We should have given up on WJJG nearly a year ago, when Joe Gentile unexpectedly passed away. The station is too weak for anything other than local, suburban-based talk shows and nostalgic music. I am talking about anything made before the disco-era, more or less, anything before the mid-1960s.

        Chicago has lost so many great people, places, and radio stations. Avenue 950 is gone, but 1550 is still going. Our metro area is totally clueless and stupid when it comes to decent formats. Avenue 950 should have been all night. The FM news station should have been given more of a chance. That is going to be another cookie-cutter, pop music station.

        WJJG was supposed to simulcast this Q garbage. Somehow, they continue looping Savage and Mancow. Matt DuBiel is a very stupid man who acts as if his ideas are the best things since sliced bread. He is a textbook example of a true failure of a person.

        Furthermore, the station is in the septic tank as it is. Their signal does indeed suck. It is only 760 watts. You need a strong receiver to get a good signal. Luckily, I was able to pick ‘JJG (when I used to listen to it) in my car. I got it best north of my house. It fades away quickly, especially going south on 294. I live near Justice, IL.

        Otherwise, the station gets zero ratings. The mosquito fart comment was funny! Yes, the National Anthem is very 1960s sounding, but that’s only thing nostalgic that remains of WJJG. I miss the days of Nick, Joe, or John signing the station off. The sound quality (even then) sucked, but it made the music (afternoons, evenings) sound as if I was listening to it when the songs came out. Can’t say that about this alt-rock garbage.

        I couldn’t agree with your posts more. Very well said. Keep telling the truth and spreading the word.

  13. I moved to Chicago last summer from Boston. I have been. looking for a radio similar to 92.9 Boston Radio since. A big disappoinment. I just found this 87.7 last weekend. Oh yeah.. there it is. So thank you..

  14. LOVE THIS STATION!!!!! Thank God we have a new ALT. station. Happy that the new station isnt afraid to play bands like Metric. Shiny Toy Guns is next hopefully.

  15. i am so happy finally a station like my florida 97 x….alternative rock…i love this station :) fun. and awolnation fan moved here a week ago and love my music and concerts :) no other station ou here i like i was getting sad until i found you

  16. Lauren rocks. I love her and her totally honest approach to……. just about everything..

  17. Play Lovehammers!!! They are a local Chicago band

  18. great news, chicago alone has some great alternative musicians, give them their dues.

  19. kenneth kredens says:

    I have some great new tunes from a new alternative band – how can I get you the CD to see if it will get any play time?
    Kenneth Kredens, Agent and Attorney at Law


  21. We Used to have 94.7 in Chicago and they used to play heavier stuff that is what we need a Chicago Radio Station that supports heavier stuff and brings tours to town like 94.7 did but they had to get rid of that station 2 even though everyone listened to it.

  22. Spencer Benedict says:

    I have just been listening to 87.7 (Alternative Rock ) in Chicago for a few days, but so far I like what I hear. By the way, there is a song they have been playing that i love but don’t know the song name or the group that sings in. It’s a girl singer with back up that sounds like finger snapping, and she repeats the idea of driving in a Cadillac. Since its been on a few times, i figure its on the charts now.
    If anybody knows what tune and group name im talking about, please leave on this message center. thank you

    • chicagoranter says:

      I think I know the one you’re talking about, but I can’t remember enough lyrics to be able to look it up! Thanks for stopping by my blog tho!

  23. Quoting a line from one of my favorite Genesis songs (No Reply At All- 1981), “Is anybody listening? No reply at all.” I read a few internet articles that literally said that 1530 (I will not say its call letters because it’s too painful to say them) had a 0.0, as in ZERO ratings. I know it’s too late to post a comment like that, but I thought I would add those remarks. By the way, I am hooked on Opie and Anthony (who also hate Mancow and Stern’s guts, as well as alt-rock).

  24. J. Wojohowitz says:

    Really wow, Alternative Rock on AM radio. Yeah, that’s really a backward notion. Are you serious? Are you reading what you’re saying? Oh and WJJG right? That station should have gone dark long before Joe Gentile dropped dead. Personally I don’t see why 87.7 canned the Smooth Jazz format. In a city where Jazz is king and not one radio station is on the bands now makes absolutely no sense. Yes, good luck with playing any kind of rock on AM Radio. Real money maker not to mention ZERO listenership.

  25. chicagoranter says:

    There has been a variety of jazz in Chicago radio over the past decade, but apparently listenership is down and Merlin Media is mixing it up with rock, which probably won’t do all that much better, but it does increase the variety on FM radio. It would be great if Q101 was moved back to FM rather than AM radio..

  26. A.M.? That is completely retarded! It will sound terrible. Sorry, but Q101 may have to throw in the towel,or just stick to streaming!


  1. […] the state of Chicago radio. It’s because it sucks. You know, like why Chicago has only one half-decent alternative rock station, but 2 shitty classic rock stations. Or why Q101 got canned for talk radio. Or why the 101.1 FM, […]

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