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WLUP-FM ‘The Loop’ sold to Christian broadcasting company

Chicago’s legendary classic rock radio station 97.9 WLUP-FM, “The Loop,” has been sold to a Christian broadcasting company, according to Federal Communications Commission filings.

The Educational Media Foundation agreed to pay $21.5 million to Merlin Media for the station, according to the FCC. As of Tuesday, EMF had already deposited more than $1 million into an escrow account.

Chicago media critic Robert Feder reported Tuesday that EMF plans to convert the station “to a noncommercial contemporary Christian music station under its syndicated K-Love brand.”

Chess Records owner Phil Chess first designated the station’s call sign to WLUP in 1977, according to Feder.

Chicago radio hall of famer Steve Dahl rose to prominence at The Loop in the 1980s and told Feder: “As I look back on my 40 years on the radio in this market, I am reminded almost daily of The Loop’s impact not only my career, but also rock and roll history in Chicago, and around the world. They just don’t make brave risk-taking local radio stations like that anymore, and that’s everybody’s loss.”

The Loop’s place in Chicago history is not limited to the airwaves. In 1977, Dahl and the radio station organized the now-infamous “Disco Demolition” night at Comiskey Park.

Thousands of Loop fans brought disco records to the ballpark to have them blown up on the field in between a double-header between the White Sox and Detroit Tigers. The second game was canceled after fans stormed the field and started setting fires, running the bases, and tearing down batting cages.