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The Phantom Zone

By Scott Smith in News on Sep 26, 2005 9:21PM

In a surprise move, Chicago’s New Rock 94.7 The Zone switched to an all oldies format at noon today. Then again, it’s not like there wasn’t any warning.

2005_09_26_zone.jpgThe station is retaining the WZZN call letters as it evolves into “94.7 Chicago’s True Oldies Channel.” A feed of “Scott Shannon’s True Oldies Channel” from ABC Radio will be in place until a new air staff is hired. There are conflicting reports as to whether any of the behind the scenes staffers were kept around for kicking purposes.

Since the switch to a Jack format by longtime oldies station WJMK, a switch to oldies by one of Chicago’s ratings-challenged stations seemed inevitable. MediaWeek reports that The Zone garnered only a 2.0 overall rating in the Spring survey.

Also, the stations that have found themselves at 94.7 on the Chicago dial haven’t lasted much longer than three or four years. The Zone began broadcasting in 2001 after experiments with country, classic rock, and an 80s format. The last format to last longer than five years was its stint as top 40 station Z-95 back when Chicagoist was in junior high and enjoyed the rivalry between B96’s Eddie and JoBo and Z-95’s Barsky.

But the biggest warning was this morning’s pre-High Noon playlist, which included Metallica’s “For Whom The Bell Tolls,” AC/DC’s “Hells Bells.” Korn’s “Twisted Transistor,” Fuel’s “Hemorrhage (In My Hands),” and Foo Fighters’ “D.O.A.”