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Doug Stylz Biography
It’s over and out for longtime Chicago radio stars Doug Stylz and Justin Roman as morning co-hosts at WUSN 99.5-FM.
Friday was their last day on the air at the Entercom country music station. A search is underway for their replacement, according to Jimmy de Castro, senior vice president, and market manager of Entercom Chicago.
Stylz (whose real name is Doug Bobrowski) and Roman are lifelong Chicagoans who both started as promotion interns at Entercom Top 40 WBBM 96.3-FM before they were teamed as evening co-hosts in 2004. Two years later they moved up to afternoon drive at B96.
In 2016 they surprised the market and their fans when they shifted to US99, replacing Lisa Dent and Ramblin’ Ray Stevens. But the duo never approached the high ratings they enjoyed at B96.
In the latest Nielsen Audio survey, US99 tied for 18th in mornings with a 2.1 percent audience share. It was the lowest rated of Entercom’s six stations in the market, but it still beat iHeartMedia country WEBG 95.5-FM, which tied for 25th in mornings with a 1.2 share.
After first meeting as interns at CBS Radio top 40 “B96” WBBM Chicago, Justin Roman and Doug Stylz (a.k.a. Doug Bobrowski) have been an on-air team for a dozen years. That includes 10 years hosting afternoons at B96 and—fascinatingly, as of September—as the new morning show team for sister country station “US 99” WUSN (99.5).
Stylz and Roman spoke with Inside Radio about their move to the country, how the Chicago country listener differs, and their dream interviews. An edited transcript follows.
You came up in radio on top 40 and now you’re working on a country format. Are you country music fans or recent converts?
Justin Roman: I’ve been a huge country fan for a very long time. I’ve seen the Zac Brown Band, Carrie Underwood, Sam Hunt, and many more shows. We were at B96 for so long, but I was driving home listening to country music. It was the music that I really loved as a singer and a songwriter, and I really related to the stories.
Growing up—my mother is the biggest Alabama fan of all time and I had been at every Alabama concert since I was five years old. It is a perfect fit for our next move.
Doug Stylz: I wasn’t a huge fan of country music, but I’ve been to concerts like the Zac Brown Band and Chris Stapleton. I’m a fan of music in general. I’m starting to enjoy it a lot listening to it so much more.
I’m realizing country music is different from the way people have stereotyped it, from Florida Georgia Line to new artists such as Brett Eldredge and Dan and Shay. I’m becoming a huge fan.
Tell me about the move to US 99. Were you looking for a change or did management come to you?
Stylz: One Day, our swing deejay and fill-in jock, our friend Rebecca Ortiz, texted us saying, ‘Hey, are you guys not in today?’ She had a text from Todd Cavanaugh, our program director, asking if she could fill in for us. We obviously were a little concerned about that.
Then Todd Cavanaugh called us and said, ‘Hey guys, let’s go to the Cubs game today.’ We’re like, ‘Well, it’s a day game and we do afternoons,’ and he was, ‘Yeah, I got it covered.’ Initially, we thought, ‘Well, are we getting fired? But no, they aren’t going to fire us, then take us to a Cubs game afterward.’ We knew it was something positive.
Coincidentally, we had heard they were making a change at the US 99 morning show, but we didn’t think anything of it. Our honest thought was, ‘Wow. We’re about to get the morning show at B96.’ Guess what? That didn’t happen.
We show up at Old Crow, a country bar we happen to invest in, and Todd explained he wants to make US 99 more mainstream country. We’re not thinking anything of it.
Roman: At the end of his US 99 speech, he’s like, ‘We want to build this new, fresh, young station around a hot young morning show, and that’s “Stylz & Roman.”’ We were floored and said, ‘Wait. What? You want us to be the morning show at US 99?’ Not because we weren’t excited, but we were 100% positive that we were about to be named the morning show at B96….Two things that Todd Cavanaugh said have stuck with both of us.
First, he asked us to describe the country listener and what they do here in Chicago. They go to movies, they go to baseball games, they go to concerts, they date, they get married, they have babies, they go through breakups. The lifestyle of the country listener is the exact same as the lifestyle of a B96 listener, except they listen to Luke Bryan instead of Justin Bieber. In Chicago, that is the country music fan.
He also said, ‘I’m not promoting you guys to be a country morning show. I’m promoting you guys to be a phenomenal morning show that just so happens to play country music.’ When he said those things, we said that is right, that is a fit for ‘Stylz and Roman.’ This is the next chapter of our radio careers.
What kind of research did you guys do before you moved over? Did you meet with fans or go to a bunch of shows?
Stylz: We were friends already with some of the deejays here, and we went to a few concerts, like Darius Rucker and Luke Bryant. We got to meet a lot of the US 99 listeners, and we didn’t know what to expect, but the country audience embraced us. They were so nice and so kind and we realized they were really going to give us a shot at mornings.
Roman: The lifestyle is very similar. We went to a Florida Georgia Line concert, and, if you looked at a couple of the people individually, you wouldn’t know what concert you’re at. The lifestyle out here between the two stations and the two audiences are actually the same.
Obviously, there were some that were shocked, some diehard fans of the old morning show or the way the station used to sound. For the most part, though, it’s been really really positive and they’ve welcomed us with open arms.
You mentioned you’re investors of a country bar. Was that an existing relationship and how might you involve the radio show with the bar?
Roman: About three or four years ago, well before we were part of US 99, we had the opportunity to invest in a few country barbecue places called Old Crow Smokehouse. That just shows that we were always into country music and that scene. As a fan of music in general, it was a good fit here in Chicago.
We have live country artists that perform. When we got the call to US 99, it was again almost like the perfect storm of events. We have a couple of country bars, we love music, and it was a natural fit. We haven’t really intertwined the two yet, but we definitely will.
You also brought up similarities in the audiences, but what differences are you finding—if any—and how are you adjusting your show?
Stylz: When you talk to a B96 audience, there are a lot of teens. In the pop world, you have Justin Bieber fans who may be a little bit younger, as opposed to country, where a Keith Urban fan may be in their late 20s or early 30s. They’re more of the business type than someone still in high school. We had to change just a little bit of our ‘lingo.’
Roman: Within the country world, there is a new younger trend of ‘bro-country.’ We’ve interviewed Thomas Rhett and Sam Hunt and these guys are saying, ‘Bro’ and ‘Dude.’ It’s funny that when we were being groomed for this job, we were told, ‘Okay. Don’t say this, don’t say that, don’t say that,’ but ultimately the artists we were interviewing were saying that back to us.
It’s almost like the genres have combined a little bit more than the old-school country. There is a bit of hip-hop influence. The new country artist is a lot more pop-friendly than our parents’ country artists. There are differences in the audiences, but ultimately, B96 was very, very female-friendly, and US 99 is very female-friendly, so we are talking to the same type of listener.
With country music in Chicago, you’re not talking to people who have horses and live on farms. In Chicago, you are still going to Cubs games and you’re still going to concerts. They just happen to listen to Luke Bryan vs. Justin Bieber. For the most part, the listeners have a very similar lifestyle.
What experiences have you had with country artists? Are you finding them more accessible than pop musicians?
Roman: People in the country are the most sincere, genuine, nice people we’ve ever, ever met. When we interviewed Garth Brooks, who is arguably one of the most legendary country artists, he couldn’t have been nicer and more genuine.
It’s really refreshing to see that the country music world, I know it sounds cliché, but it is definitely a family. We have not encountered one person with even an ounce of ego to them.
Stylz: We didn’t know what to expect because we were new in the country family. Dan & Shay, Michael Ray, and Darius Rucker were the first three artists that we interviewed. When we walked away, it was, ‘Bro, we made the right decision to switch on over to U S99,’ because…we just got included right away.
Dan & Shay invited us backstage to do a shot and drink champagne with them to celebrate their song going No. 1. Not to say anything bad about pop artists, but you really don’t hear or see that. These guys wanted us to be there; we just met them.
They wanted us to be there because we had a little bit of a vibe during the interview and they were so excited for their song going No. 1 that they wanted us, two new guys to the country world, to come to celebrate.
You’re new to US 99 and country, but do you have a dream interview?
Roman: On the old-school vibe, it would be Alabama because again I grew up going to every single one of their concerts and my mother loves them so much. On a personal side, Sam Hunt, because he is my favorite artist right now. I think he’s a phenomenal songwriter and a super cool dude. I feel like we could be best friends; he just doesn’t know it yet.
Stylz: Rascal Flatts would just be really cool. Even if you’re not a fan of country music, you know who Rascal Flatts are. I think that the Flatts are just three really cool guys and we would just all bond, have a good time and really have a killer interview. His age is unknown but stay ready for the update soon
Doug Stylz Wife, Family
While Stylz tattooed his wedding date on his arm so he won’t forget his anniversary, that’s not always the case.
Often times, couples forget milestone dates in their relationships like birthdays and anniversaries.
Check out the stories these Stylz and Roman listeners had, including one woman whose boyfriend would break up with her before every birthday and holiday! His pieces of information about his marriages, family, a wife is not yet revealed yet but stay ready for the update soon
Style and Roman Salary
Another Chicago radio bombshell: Doug Stylz and Justin Roman, the highly-rated afternoon duo on Top 40 WBBM FM 96.3 for the past 10 years, are switching to WUSN FM 99.5 as the country music station’s new morning team, CBS Radio announced Thursday.
Effective September 6, they’ll replace Lisa Dent and Ramblin’ Ray Stevens, who parted company with US 99 last week. Stevens moved to Cumulus Media news/talk WLS AM 890 as morning co-host with Big John Howell.
Stylz (whose real name is Doug Bobrowski) and Roman are lifelong Chicagoans who both started as promotion interns at B96 before they were teamed as evening co-hosts in 2004.
Two years later they moved up to afternoon drive. Succeeding the duo in afternoons at B96 will be Eric Tyler, who was just hired as evening host. Tyler, a native of Rockford, Illinois, spent nine years at KBKS in Seattle, Washington, as afternoon personality, assistant program director and music director.
The moves are part of “refreshing” of US 99 under Todd Cavanah, vice president of programming for CBS Radio Chicago, and Jeff Kapugi, program director. Earlier this week, the station rebranded itself “US 99 Chicago’s Hottest Country.” No word yet on a new evening host at US 99 to replace Joel “Jax” Lisinski, who also departed last week.
Noting that Stylz and Roman are part-owners of a country bar in Wrigleyville, Cavanah said he often would see them together at country music concerts sponsored by US 99. “So we knew they could authentically speak the language of the country music fan,” Cavanah said.
“This is a welcome and exciting refresh for this heritage Chicago brand,” Tim Pohlman, CBS Radio Chicago senior vice president and market manager, said in a statement. “Stylz and Roman are quality guys that work hard, play hard and can’t wait to engage the country music fans of Chicago.
This is the perfect next step for these two talented personalities. I am very excited about the future of their show and about US 99.”
US 99 faces stiff competition from iHeartMedia’s WEBG FM 95.5, which launched a competing country format in January 2015. In the latest Nielsen Audio survey, US 99 ranked 12th with a 3.0 percent share and a cumulative weekly audience of 1,227,200, while Big 95.5 tied for 18th with 2.4 shares and 966,400 weekly cume. In mornings US 99 ranked 11th with a 3.1 share, while Big 95.5 ranked 22nd with a 1.9 share.
In afternoons on B96, Stylz and Roman most recently ranked fifth with a 4.3 share and 1,009,700 weekly cume.
In a statement released by CBS Radio, Stylz and Roman were quoted as saying: “Words can’t express how excited we are for this new chapter in not only our careers but for our lives as well. We’re beyond blessed to be able to move from one legendary station to another . . . this truly is a dream come true!”