WLS promotes Wolf & Proft to ‘turn up excitement level’

Bruce Wolf, the veteran Chicago sportscaster, and Dan Proft, the political activist, commentator and former gubernatorial candidate, are moving up to full-time status as a talk show team at WLS-AM (890).

Starting Monday, they’ll be on together from 9 to 11am weekdays — between Don Wade and Roma in mornings and Rush Limbaugh in middays — on the Citadel Broadcasting news/talk station. Wolf and Proft have been hosting their own weekend show (which they dub Hate Saturday) and occasionally filling in for the Wades since May 2010.

The two will replace Cisco Cotto, who learned his fate minutes after finishing Friday’s show. He’s expected to be paid for the remainder of his contract, which runs through the end of the year. “I want to thank Cisco Cotto for his service over the past year and a half,” said Michael Damsky, president and general manager of WLS.

Damsky said the addition of Wolf and Proft to the Monday-through-Friday lineup “turns up the excitement level between 9 and 11am,” adding: “With the success they have had guest hosting for Don Wade and Roma, it is clear that Bruce and Dan will be the natural extension of Chicago’s most popular morning talk show. They have already generated a significant amount of positive listener reaction, combining political perspective with one of the legendary and sharpest wits of Chicago radio. With their addition, we now have a WLS that is the dominant provider of unique local content and insight all day long.”

Coming a few weeks after the multiyear renewal of Roe Conn and Richard Roeper in afternoons, the latest move solidifies the station’s weekday talent roster in preparation for new owners. The $2.5 billion transfer of Citadel Broadcasting to Cumulus Media, including WLS and oldies WLS-FM (94.7), is expected later this year.

Cotto, who spent six years as a newsman at WLS before jumping to Salem Communications news/talk WIND-AM (560) in 2006 as John Howell’s morning co-host, returned to WLS in January 2010 to team with Conn in afternoons. One month later, he shifted to the 9-to-11am slot vacated by Mancow Muller and Pat Cassidy.

Wolf and Proft’s move to weekdays leaves WLS operations director Drew Hayes with three weekend show vacancies. In addition to filling Wolf and Proft’s former slot, Hayes also is seeking replacements for Tom Roeser, who died last May, and the team of Ed Volkman and Joe Bohannon, who left last March to host mornings at CBS Radio classic hits WJMK-FM (104.3).


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Laura Baginski, Editor (@TimeOutChicago)