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DreX is out at Clear Channel Radio Chicago's Top 40 WKSC-FM (103.5). Drex's exit comes during the second year of a five-year contract that he signed with the station in early 2009. Also gone with him are his two sidekicks Mel Tovar and Angi Taylor. Sources said DreX (whose given name is Kevin Buchar) was making between $300,000 and $450,000 under terms of the five-year deal -- a generous arrangement in an industry where three-year contracts for on-air talent are the norm.

The reasons for DreX's abrupt exit Tuesday are unclear. "This is radio," said one source, suggesting that on-air talent can be dispensed with at any time for any number of reasons. A Clear Channel spokeswoman said it is the company's policy not to comment on personnel issues. She said other WKSC talent would rotate in the morning drive time slot until a new morning show host is announced. WKSC's evening host Special K hosted the morning show on Wednesday.

DreX's ratings were certainly acceptable, although he was not the top-ranked morning talent in the 18 to 34-year-old demo that was the show's target demographic. In the most recent November Arbitron ratings book, "DreX in the Morning" ranked ninth among morning drive shows in the 18 to 34-year-old demo. His numbers have slipped however. DreX ranked third in the 18 to 34-year-old demo when his current contract was signed in early 2009.

When Clear Channel brought DreX to Chicago in 2003 from San Antonio, he was a hit in that Texas market. And Clear Channel Chicago management believed he could replicate that success in Chicago on its Top 40 outlet. In fact, Clear Channel Chicago had enough confidence in his abilities to allow him to do a talk-focused morning drive show on a station that otherwise is devoted to playing Top 40 hits around the clock.

Ysaac Alvarez is the new afternoon drive host from 3 to 7 p.m. at Clear Channel Radio Chicago's hot Spanish hits station Mega 95.5 FM (formerly WNUA-FM), effective Dec. 6.

A native of Peru, Alvarez most recently was an on-air personality at Superestrella 107.1 FM in Los Angeles. He has worked in the radio and television industry for more than 15 years producing commercials and serving as a morning show personality both in Peru and the United States. "He (Ysaac) is an experienced on-air personality that has a lot to bring to the table," said Mega 95.5 program director Ricardo Otero.

Jordan Photo.jpgRyan Gorman, who goes by the name "Jordan" on air, is the new afternoon drive host on Clear Channel Radio Chicago's Top 40 WKSC-FM (103.5), effective Oct. 4. Gorman's show will air weekdays from 4 to 8 p.m. He replaces Ty Bentli, who is transferring to Clear Channel's KBIG-FM in Los Angeles. "Jordan is a tremendous talent and will be a perfect enhancement to 103.5 KISS-FM's stellar on-air team," said Rick Vaughn, WKSC program director. Gorman said of his new role at WKSC: "Chitown is going to be insane. Special thanks to my Jacksonville radio family for four great years."

Jordan most recently was afternoon host and executive producer at WFKS-FM in Jacksonville, Fla. He has also worked at radio stations in Tampa, Fla.; Hartford, Conn., and New Haven, Conn.

Ty Bentli, the popular afternoon drive host at Clear Channel Radio Chicago's top 40-formatted WKSC-FM (103.5), has accepted a new job with Clear Channel Radio Los Angeles, according to sources familiar with developments. A formal announcement is expected Wednesday.

Bentli, who arrived at KISS-FM in October, 2006, will stay at the station until his replacement is found. WKSC will conduct a nationwide search for Bentli's successor. Bentli's exit comes as WKSC-FM has just completed its first full quarter ever as the top-rated radio station in the Chicago market in the 18-to-34-year-old demo the station targets. Bentli also was the No. 1-rated afternoon drive anchor in the 18-to-34-year-old demo in the just-released June Arbitron ratings book.

Congrats to Clear Channel Radio Chicago market manager Earl Jones and syndicated talk show host Steve Harvey (whose show airs on Clear Channel Radio's WVAZ-FM (102.7). They have been singled out as among the most influential African Americans in radio by the trade publication Radio Ink. In his blurb in the publication, Harvey said: "I believe that leaders need a clear vision and purpose. At the same time, it's a group effort -- you need a trusted team supporting you in order to achieve your goals." In his blurb in RI, Jones said: "A good manager creates a positive, creative environment where everyone can achieve, grow and succeed."

Starting Thursday morning, Clear Channel Radio Chicago's WGRB-AM (1390) is introducing a more contemporary gospel sound that will emphasize what Clear Channel Radio Chicago's director of urban programming Derrick Brown calls the "new, hotter gospel artists." They include performers such as Kirk Franklin, Donnie McClurkin and Yolanda Adams. WGRB has been a gospel-formatted station for the past 10 years.

WGRB also is introducing a new tag line -- "Music of Power and Praise" -- that acknowledges and underscores the shift in focus in the station's sound. Brown said that the old gospel format was about 50 percent classic gospel music and 50 percent contemporary. "The new sound will be 80 or 90 percent contemporary," said Brown. WGRB's on-air talent line-up will not change with the introduction of the new gospel mix, with "The John Hannah Morning Show" remaining in morning drive and "The Joy Ride Home" with Sonya Blakey in afternoon drive.

Brown also said the updated gospel music format should help the station pull in more listeners. In the most recent December Arbitron radio ratings book, WGRB was tied for 33rd place in the rankings overall among adults 25 to 54.

Troi Tyler back at WVAZ-FM

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Troi Tyler.jpgClear Channel Radio Chicago said Thursday that Troi Tyler is returning to WVAZ as host of the "Quiet Storm" on Sundays from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. She will also serve as fill-in host for other dayparts. Tyler's tenure with Clear Channel Radio Chicago dates back more than 15 years ago, when she was host of "Whispers in the Dark" on sister station WGCI-FM (107.5), before moving to WVAZ to host middays earlier this year.

Clear Channel Radio Chicago has formed what it calling a "one-stop shop" for advertisers to capitalize on the buying and listening power of the African-American consumer. Effective Nov. 6, the Clear Channel Chicago Urban Network will coordinate ad sales on three Clear Channel outlets -- WGCI-FM (107.5); WVAZ-FM (102.7) and WGRB-AM (1390). "Each station targets and influences a different segment of the population," said Earl Jones, president and market manager of Clear Channel Radio Chicago. Together, the three stations reach more than 1.2 million African-Americans weekly.

Advertisers who purchase the Clear Channel Chicago Urban Network will receive a cross-platform of marketing opportunities, including radio, digital and events. "Clear Channel is more than radio -- we are a media and entertainment company," explained Jones. Darlene Park will be general sales manager for the Urban Network, and Derrick Brown will assume the role of director of urban programming for the three urban properties.

Effective Nov. 11, 2009, Joe Gersh will become general sales manager for three Clear Channel Chicago radio outlets: WLIT-FM (93.9), WKSC-FM (103.5) and Mega 95.5 (formerly WNUA-FM). Most recently, Gersh served as the director of business development at NRS Media in Atlanta, Ga. NRS Media is a Sydney, Australia-based media sales training and consulting company currently working with 174 local TV/cable, radio and newspaper media outlets in the United States. "Joe brings a wealth of experience with an extensive background in media sales management, advertising and marketing," said Matt Scarano, director of sales for Chicago Channel Radio Chicago.

WKSC-FM (103.5) fill-in host Special K, not to be confused with the cereal, has been permanently appointed night shift (8 p.m. to midnight) host at the Clear Channel Radio Chicago Top 40 station. Special K had been filling in since Silly Jilly left the station last month. Special K has been at WKSC two years, working weekend shifts, production and doing other fill-in work.



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Lewis Lazare has written the Media Mix column for the Chicago Sun-Times for the past seven and a half years.

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