WLS Chicago Cuts Local Programming To Go Farther Right


Chicago’s WLS-AM made significant changes to its programming lineup on Friday to further lean into heavily Conservative talk programming. The Cumulus Media station has ended The Steve Cochran Show after two years along with The Closing Bell and PM Chicago.

This adjustment is part of a broader strategy outlined by WLS Program Director Stephanie Tichenor, who noted in an internal email that the station would be “leaning into the right side of talk” with Ramblin’ Ray Stevens replacing Cochran. Stevens had previously been on-air at WLS with John Howell as well as US99 (WUSN).

Cochran has been a prominent voice in Chicago radio for over three decades, starting his career at the former WCKG where he briefly hosted morning shows. He later moved through several other stations including WLUP, WMVP, and WPNT. In 2000, Cochran took on roles as a weekend and fill-in host at WGN-AM, eventually advancing to midday host following the passing of morning star Bob Collins.

Tichenor said in a press release, “Ray has been part of the fabric of The Big 89 for years. We’re thrilled to have him back in morning drive on 890 WLS-AM.”

Ray Stevens added, “I am beyond ecstatic to be back doing mornings at WLS and 890 in my hometown. Special thanks to Marv Nyren and Stephanie Tichenor for having faith and believing in me. Also special thanks to Cumulus KCMO, Donna Baker, and Pete Mundo who’ve let me work middays at the radio station for the better part of the year. I can’t wait to get to work and be on the air at the legendary 890 WLS-AM talking NASCAR, politics, football, and everything that makes us the greatest city in the world!”

The Closing Bell and PM Chicago, hosted by Bret Gogoel, were even shorter-lived, with both one-hour programs beginning in October of last year. Both local shows featuring the WLS Newsroom team were cut in favor of syndicated afternoon programming from Matt Walsh and Michael Knowles.

The cuts affect other veteran personalities, with Cochran Show contributor Jane Clauss reportedly being let go. Andrea Darlas will no longer work weekdays but will continue with her weekend show and podcast at the station.


  1. So sorry to learn that Steve Cochran is no longer employed at WLS. His radio voice was a voice of reason in a world of extremes. I have no patience for name calling nor bullies but love a good debates on ideas and policies. I will no longer tune into WLS — with its syndicated personalities. They are too far removed from our hometown – and I will miss Andrea Darlas and the other staff members. Loved the chemistry and conversations that were created so early every morning. We heard respect for guests and listeners.. respect is very hard to find on the air-
    P.S. Syndicated radio is not enjoyable for me.

  2. So sad to see Brett Gogoel leave as WLS 890-AM cancels “The Closing Bell” and “PM Chicago” — I wish him well. These two hours of Chigago centric topics kept me informed of the area goings-on in the business community and politics with a middle-of-the-road approach. The morning lineup with Ray Stevens replacing Steve Cochran is a great choice, but I will miss listening to Cochran’s alternative views and mentally wrestling with them on this otherwise conservative station. I listen to WLS everyday and WLS is always on somewhere in my house.

  3. Please continue English language broadcasts for the Chicago Fire-It took 20 years to get live local English language broadcasts-Please don’t cancel these now-If you will not continue please arrange for another station to pick up the service -Please arrange for no gap in broadcasting the matches

  4. I applaude your move to terminate Steve Cochran. He was annoying at best. His politics are extremely annoying.
    Ramblin Ray is a great choice.


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