Friday, December 01, 2006

Stations start shuffling lineups, Springer might leave radio

In the wake of The Ed Schultz Show moving to an earlier timeslot, the first station to adjust their schedule in response is WCPT (850AM) in Chicago, which has announced a lineup change, as reported by the Sun-Times' Robert Feder.

Effective Dec. 11, the daytime-only station will air Bill Press from sign-on to 8AM (CT), adds Stephanie Miller (previously heard on weekends in best-of form) from 8 to 11AM, Ed Schultz from 11AM to 2PM, Al Franken on tape-delay from 2 to 5PM, and Randi Rhodes on tape-delay from 5PM to sign-off.

It should be noted that the move of Schultz's show to middays may not affect all of his affiliates, since Jones Radio Networks will offer a refeed of the program during his original slot (3-6PM ET), for stations that can't air him in middays or are unable to record his show for later airing. As a result, it's likely that not all stations will choose to follow his move immediately.

One name missing from WCPT's new roster is Jerry Springer, whose radio show has been airing from 8 to 11AM local time. Springer will exit the Newsweb-owned station for now -- and could be stepping down from radio entirely. This would not be a surprising move, since his show has been losing serious traction in the past year. Currently, Springer airs only on a few stations, most notably WCPT and WSAI (1360AM) in his hometown of Cincinnati.

The late-morning time slot is a difficult one, due mostly to the fact that on the West Coast, this is morning drive, and quite a few stations there carry their own local programming. Of course Springer has also struggled against one of the highest-rated talents in the format, namely Stephanie Miller, who's show airs at the same time and has picked up many affiliates. Add in Air America Radio's roster realignment this past September, which had Springer shuffled off to a secondary feed and Sam Seder taking his main network timeslot, and it was evident that Springer's days were numbered.

Springer, who's experience has been in Cincinnati politics (as former mayor) and television, has done a respectable job as a radio novice, but never really caught on with progressive talk listeners, who feel he's a bit bland. As the format shakes itself out, and the fate of Air America could be learned today, Schultz' move and Springer's departure could be just the first shoes to drop.

And special thanks to Bob, who posted a comment about WKOX/WXKS in Boston, which will drop Franken and replace him with Thom Hartmann. Schultz will remain in the 3-6PM slot, via the delayed feed. This also seems to contradict rumors that the two stations will change formats in the near future. I expect local Clear Channel management to make a decision on the future of "Boston's Progressive Talk" once the pending power upgrade to WKOX is complete, which could see at least one of the stations changing format, as WKOX's new 50,000 watt day and night signal should clear up their current reception issues. The new signal will improve on WXKS' better city coverage, making the two signals redundant. And as updated, it looks like the two stations are changing formats anyway, so this is all a moot point.

Hartmann has also recently replaced Franken on KQKE in San Francisco and new affiliate WCMI in Ashland, KY/Huntington, WV.

The Central Massachusetts trio of WHMP/WHNP/WHMQ has dropped Randi Rhodes and has replaced her with Schultz. However, she may be brought back via evening time delay if Franken decides to leave radio. Franken's decision could happen as soon as Tuesday December 5.

And WINZ in Miami will carry Schultz live starting Monday December 11, bumping Franken to the delayed 6-9PM ET slot. As a result, Randi Rhodes' show will air live 3-6p ET. Rhodes is no stranger to success in South Florida, as her current radio show got its start on WJNO in West Palm Beach, located just north of Miami.

Washington, DC's WWRC is adding Bill Press to morning drive effective next Monday, displacing The Young Turks. Schultz gets a live clearance in the nation's capital from 12-3PM, and Franken will air on delay from 3-6PM.

In the Twin Cities, KTNF (950AM) will give Schultz another live clearance, moving hometown host Franken to 2-5ET. From December 18 through the end of the year, while Franken is in reruns while he's touring with the USO in Iraq, Hartmann will air during that timeslot.


raccoonradio said...

Boston Radio Watch:
BRW has confirmed that Boston's progressive talk simulcast WKOX AM 1200/WXKS AM 1430 will undergo a slight change in the line-up in a week's time. With the uncertain future of Air America's host Al Franken at the struggling talk network, Clear Channel-owned local talkers will pick up Air America-syndicated The Thom Hartmann Show in Franken's current Noon-3pm slot. [Ed. Note : According to Hartmann, who is currently heard on 68 stations and Sirius Satellite Radio, he beats Rush Limbaugh the Seattle radio market.]

The programming change also means that Ed Schult's afternoon show which moves to a new national timeslot(Noon to 3pm) on December 11th is going to stay in the curent 3-6pm slot on tape-delay(Schultz's syndicator Jones Radio will offer 3-6pm refeed to stations like WKOX/WXKS who choose not air him live in the new Noon to 3pm slot). No other line-up changes are planned for WKOX/WXKS in immediate future.

QEd said...

From All Access:

Big Eddie will air live in Akron when it moves to its new time of noon to 3 p.m. on December 11.

AM 1350 Radio Free Ohio (WARF) will also air Randi Rhodes live from 3 to 6.

This blogger is hoping Columbus' progressive talk station, AM 1230 WTPG, will follow suit. Once we find out, we'll pass the word.

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