On Nov. 22, the Friday before Thanksgiving, long-time radio personality Mike Love opened an unexpected text message from his boss at Chicago’s Soul 106.3. It had to be a little after 9:00 a.m., around the time his daily rush-hour show, “The Morning Mixtape,” went off the air. Love wasn’t at the station that morning. He’d taken a sick day but gave everyone a heads-up about taking the day off.

So when his boss texted and asked him to call, Love never thought he’d receive the news that his career with Soul 106.3 was over.

“I got fired over the phone,” Love says. “It was, like, a gut-punch feeling.”

The following Monday, after signing his exit papers, Love walked out of the Hammond-based urban adult contemporary station for the last time. Love joined Soul 106.3 in 2014 after a ground-breaking run with Victor “the Dizz” Blackful on WGCI’s “Bad Boy Radio,” which lasted from 1997 to 2007. 

“I’m the professional that kind of understands how radio works,” Love explains. “It’s just kind of, like, this is the industry that you’re in. This is our work. This is the game. So I think I went from shock to understanding.”

Soul 106.3’s move to cut Love’s morning show comes months after legendary radio host Tom Joyner announced Rickey Smiley as the successor to his syndicated urban adult-contemporary morning spot. Joyner, known for his long-running “Tom Joyner Morning Show,” is set to retire at the end of 2019. Smiley’s new show is scheduled to begin on Jan. 2, 2020. Smiley’s syndicated show, “The Rickey Smiley Morning Show,” has run in the mornings in Chicago on Soul 106.3’s sister station, Power 92, an urban contemporary station.

Crawford Broadcasting, the parent company for Soul 106.3 and Power 92, hasn’t yet announced who will be replacing Love’s morning show. According to Chicago media blogger Robert Feder, Crawford Broadcasting dropped Joyner’s morning show back in 2017, replacing it with Love’s morning show. Joyner’s show has been running on the newest Black-owned station, 95.1 FM Clubsteppin’.

“The Morning Mixtape” was one of the last morning shows hosted by a local radio personality. Steve Harvey’s syndicated show, “The Steve Harvey Morning Show,” runs during the morning slot on V103, another urban adult-contemporary station in Chicago. WGCI, a local urban contemporary station, has local personalities Leon Rogers, Kendra G and Kyle Monday hosting its 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. weekday show.

“I hate to see syndication come back. It felt like great, local Black radio was back in the mornings. We had a lot of fun doing it,” Love says about his show. “For it to be gone, it feels like there will be a void.”

With “The Morning Mixtape” gone, Love thinks that his audience will go back to listening to Harvey on V103 or to Smiley, wherever he lands, in the mornings. Nevertheless, Love doesn’t want his fans to think that Soul 106.3 is the end of the road for him.

“This is a blessing in disguise because things are already in the works to do other things,” Love says about being fired. “This is really a situation where one door is closing just in time to allow this other door to open. So what I would say to my fans is just get ready for a new beginning.”

is the editor-in-chief of The TRiiBE and a 2023-2024 John S. Knight Journalism Fellow.