If you grew up in Chicago or in the Chicago Suburbs in the late 70s and early 80s, chances are good that you will recognize this iconic symbol:
While those who came of age in the same era in other parts of the country may point to the movie Dazed and Confused as representative of what it was like to grow up during this time period, WLUP (“The Loop”) was that same type of thing for young people in Chicago. I don’t know anyone from my era in the Chicago area who did not have and constantly wear a black Loop T-shirt. Perhaps the Loop’s most quintessential claim to fame came in the summer of 1979 when radio station personality Steve Dahl hosted the now infamous Disco Demolition at Chicago’s old Comiskey Park. The event was staged to occur between games at a Chicago White Sox doubleheader with plans to blow up a collection of disco records in the outfield. But it resulted in throngs of young people (dressed in black ”Loop” shirts) storming the field and the eventual cancellation and forfeiture of the second game by the home team White Sox.
The reason this now appears as a blog on bankruptcy law is because the previous owner, Cumulus Media, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection late last year. In Chicago, Cumulus owned WLUP, and as a result, the Loop was turned over to a new owner featuring a Christian pop format. The news of the Loop’s demise created a nostalgic flashback for many from my generation. My friends and I listened to the Loop literally around the clock. As this article from The Chicago Sun Times points out, the station’s DJs were treated like literal rock stars throughout Chicago. The day would start with Steve Dahl and Garry Meier, then Kevin Matthews, Sky Daniels and at some point Jonathon Brandmeier came into the mix.
Listening to this cool talk radio was really a bonding experience for a lot of people. I know my law partner, Brad Botes, who also grew up in the Chicago area, will feel a lot of the same emotions that I do when he sees the loop symbol and the end of an era through, ironically, an allowed provision in the bankruptcy code. Fittingly, Steve Dahl, after many iterations, had been back on the Loop for a while and he closed out his final Loop program before the format change with musical evidence of just what the new Christian format would replace.