WGN Radio boss Langmyer exits 'very special place'

Tom Langmyer, the veteran radio executive who presided over the most turbulent period in the 88-year history of WGN-AM (720), was forced out Monday as vice president and general manager of the Tribune Co.-owned news/talk flagship.

Langmyer, 50, emerged from a meeting with Nils Larsen, president and CEO of Tribune Broadcasting, and announced that he was leaving, effective immediately. The move comes as Tribune Co. prepares to exit bankruptcy and reportedly seek new owners for many of its properties.

“I can't tell you how much I have appreciated the privilege of working with you,” he wrote in an email to his staff. “WGN is a very special place, and I’m very lucky to have spent nearly eight years as part of it! . . . Looking forward to new challenges ahead!” Reached Monday night, Langmyer declined to comment further.

Jeff Hill, director of sales and a six-year veteran of WGN, was named interim general manager.

Langmyer's departure marks the second change in leadership among Tribune Co.-owned Chicago stations in recent weeks. Marty Wilke resigned last month as vice president and general manager of WGN-Channel 9 to become president and general manager of CBS 2.

During Langmyer’s tenure, WGN underwent unprecedented upheaval on the air and behind the scenes, including four program directors (Len Weiner, Bob Shomper, Kevin Metheny and Bill White) and four morning hosts (Spike O’Dell, John Williams, Greg Jarrett and Jonathon Brandmeier) in less than eight years.

In the latest Arbitron Portable People Meter survey, WGN ranked 26th among listeners between 25 and 54, with a 1.6 percent share and cumulative weekly audience of 311,100.

Before he joined WGN in March 2005, Langmyer spent 13 years in St. Louis, where he rose from program director of KMOX-AM to become vice president and general manager of the station, and vice president/programming for CBS Radio's news/talk stations group. He previously was program director at WSYR-AM and WYYY-FM in Syracuse, New York, and at WGR-AM/FM in his native Buffalo, New York.


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Laura Baginski, Editor (@TimeOutChicago)