When it’s time to move, most radio stations simply unhook the mic, load up the moving van, lock up the old building and move on down the road. Not the folks at WDRV in Chicago. PD Rob Cressman tells Radio Ink when the time came to move the Chicago Classic Rocker, his team did it in a very creative way.
After more than 17 years of Classic Rock at Chicago’s iconic 875 North Michigan Avenue address, WDRV veteran midday host Bob Stroud signed off for the final time from the building formerly known as The John Hancock Center just before noon on Friday, May 11 as 97-1 FM, The Drive, prepared to move operations one mile south in Downtown Chicago.
WDRV Program Director Rob Cressman said “while conventional wisdom would suggest that, for technical reasons, such a move take place deep in the middle of the night, The Drive’s approach sought to celebrate the change of venue by creating an extraordinary, live event around the associated journey south on Michigan Avenue.”
The Drive’s grand farewell included an extended roundtable segment featuring on-air hosts Bob Stroud, Matt Bisbee, Brian Sherman, Steve Tingle, Jill Egan, Steve Seaver, Phil Manicki, Greg Easterling, and Byrd. The group reflected on the role the legendary John Hancock Center (now known simply as 875 North Michigan Avenue) played in the history of Chicago’s broadcast industry, and more specifically on the evolution of The Drive. From WDRV’s beginnings in a shared space with WLUP, to the more permanent Suite 1510, The Drive’s hosts discussed the building that many have been reporting to for the better part of the past four decades.
A very personal audio essay from Bob Stroud punctuated the final broadcast from the station’s longtime home. Stroud marked the occasion with a final switch of the control room’s console microphone into the “off’ position.
Next, the full WDRV Programming Team (Program Director Rob Cressman, Production/ Imaging Director Matt Bisbee, The Sherman & Tingle Show’s Brian Sherman, Steve Tingle and Jill Egan, midday host Bob Stroud, afternoon host Steve Seaver, evening host Phil Manicki, and overnight host Greg Easterling boarded a double-decker bus as one-hour of moving-related Classic Rock titles rolled. Updates were broadcast live, via cell phone, from the bus as it made its way down Michigan Avenue towards the station’s new headquarters at Prudential Plaza.
The group gathered in the brand new, state-of-the-art studios (at left) where on an-air countdown ensued. Bob Stroud proceeded to flip the switch and open the mic on a new era for 97-1 FM The Drive. The inaugural song launched from The Drive’s new home at Prudential Plaza: “Start Me Up” from The Rolling Stones.