101.9 The End is finished; Jimmy Chunga laid off

Radio • 101.9's new incarnation is classic FM rock hits.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Once again, 101.9 The End is finished.

The popular alternative Salt Lake City station changed formats on Friday and was reborn as Classic Hits 101.9, playing FM rock staples. The station confirmed on Friday afternoon that it laid off longtime The End radio jock Jimmy Chunga.

Fans will recall that this isn't the first end for The End; in April 2010 the station changed formats from alternative to GenX music, letting go of all on-air staff in a wildly unpopular move that Cumulus Media reversed in December of the same year.

Chunga, who could not immediately be reached for comment, posted on Facebook:

"And ... They did it again. I dont [sic] really know what I can and can't say at this point ... One thing that I can say is THANK YOU ... To each and everyone of you who gave me the amazing life that I have, THANK YOU. ... I'll figure this out."

Another Utah drivetime staple, Todd and Erin Collard, were let go in July from B-98.7, which is also owned by Atlanta-based Cumulus.

"We're super excited about the changes we've made," said Lutisha Merrill, Cumulus Salt Lake vice president of sales. "The End as we know it is no longer in existence."

Merrill says the staff was notified of changes Friday morning, and "everybody in the building was very excited." Asked whether Chunga (born Brett Smith) shared that excitement, Merrill said "he wasn't in the building." A receptionist, Andrea Griffin, said earlier that the news came as a shock to The End staffers.

An email from Cumulus says the station will play nonstop music until Monday at 5 a.m., when the nationally syndicated "Bob and Tom Show," will move into the 5-to-9 a.m. slot from its sister network, KBER 101. Molly Norman will keep her midday timeslot, but under a new name, Melissa Snow. Tysen Webb will lose his afternoon program to Bret "The Coach" Connor, but will remain employed with Cumulus in a role that Merrill wouldn't specify.

KBER 101's Mick Martin and Allen Handy will move from the afternoon drive into the morning window vacated by the "Bob and Tom Show." Mike Parsons will replace the duo.

According to a swift revision on The End's Wikipedia page, the station played "a sound similar to the Hypnotoad from Futurama" with a message playing periodically stating to "listen at 12 noon for your new favorite radio station."

The last song played before the two-hour dead time was "It's the End of the World as We Know It," by R.E.M.

The first song on Classic Hits 101.9: "Listen to the Music," by the Doobie Brothers.


Twitter: @matthew_piper