I love radio and listen whenever I can. One day, after I've done a few more things in my personal and professional life, I might even return to work in radio. Because I love the industry so much, I try to stay informed about changes in it. The following are my observations on Cincinnati radio over the last few weeks.
WKRC-AM (550). I tuned into 55KRC last week and was surprised to hear Fox Radio's nationally syndicated "The Tony Snow Show" being aired in the 9:00 am to noon timeslot. The show I listened to was pretty boring. I guess this change means "The Glenn Beck Program" is out of the Cincinnati market. (A check of 55KRC's website still shows Beck's picture and has him included in the lineup.)
Would such a change be a mistake? Who knows. But 55KRC has slipped in the ratings from the #2 station in the market in the Fall of 2004 to #10 currently. Clear Channel management has to do something to improve the ratings.
Was Beck the problem at 55KRC? Again, I don't know. The Beck program is different than most talk shows in that it primarily focuses on cultural issues instead of politics (at least that's what I've heard Beck say his goal is). I like the program. It's funny and fast paced. It seems like Beck would appeal to a younger audience while holding on to older listeners. That said, Beck is often very silly and at times preachy. I can see why some people wouldn't want to listen.
I know I'm not in the targeted demographic group but I'd like to see 55krc either get a local show in that time slot or steal "The Laura Ingraham Show" from WBOB-AM, where Ingraham's talents are going to waste at perhaps the lowest rated talk radio station in the region. Like Beck, Ingraham is also funny; should have appeal to younger and more diverse audiences; and doesn't stick exclusively to politics. Laura Ingraham would make a much better lead into Rush Limbaugh than Beck or Snow.
WCIN-AM (1480). I'm not going to lie and tell you that I listen to WCIN because I don't. Its not programmed into any of the radios I own (house, car, work, walkman) so that I don't even accidentally stumble upon it. This comes from Gem618 over at the If This Was Your World bulletin board.
I was listening to Freddy Red Friday morning and he said......
The Morning Show is gone as of Monday (the 4th), as well as Savanna and some others, and yes there are changes coming!! He spilled the beans and announced that AL B (fine-azz) SURE was going to join the staff at WCIN. I didn't hear when his show was going to air or what kind of format he'll have, but it's got to be a breath of fresh air here in this cow town. The station had some kind of shin-dig Friday night but Al couldnt be there. That's all the scoop I have for now but I'll keep listening and keep ya posted.
I'm not sure but I guess the reference is to Al B. Sure's "night time, celebrity intense, romantic" syndicated radio show called "The Secret Garden" which airs on a handful of radio stations including V101.9 in Charolette.
Maybe WCIN is going to go with all syndicated programming. Who knows? And who cares? Will any of the replacement shows draw new listeners? They can't do worse than the old shows. If WCIN is "the pulse of the city," this city is dead.
WLW-AM (700). I never know if stories about 700wlw are true or not, but apparently Clear Channel operations manager Darryl Parks fired America's Trucking Network weekend overnight host Eric "Bubba Bo" Boulanger after guests on the show fired up a propane grill and cooked inside the studio! This story is both amusing and sad. What's a patriotic guy who wants to barbecue over the 4th of July weekend but is stuck inside working supposed to do to demonstrate that he is a true, blue American?!? Eat skyline chili? No. The man has to do what every real American does and grill out. If he can't get outdoors, he has no choice but bring the grill inside. Here's an abbreviated version of the Cincinnati Post's take on the situation.
Clear Channel Cincinnati apparently has a zero tolerance policy for "grilling out" in its new Kenwood studios.
Eric "Bubba Bo" Boulanger, the weekend host on WLW-AM's highly popular overnight truckers show, was fired after an incident two weeks ago in which late-night guests at the station decided to fire up a grill inside the building for a quick barbecue.
Sources say smoke filled the sixth floor of the Bank One tower on Montgomery Road at I-71, fire alarms went off and firefighters arrived.
Clear Channel officials apparently were not amused that their year-old, 50,000-square-foot, 40-studio facility was threatened, especially if the sprinkler system had gone off in the building with $1.6 million worth of high-tech studio equipment. (It didn't.)
Boulanger said the incident happened while he was on the air and had invited a couple of drivers by for his midnight-5 a.m. shift.
"Unbeknownst to me, one of them had a propane grill and fired it up in the kitchen area of the building. I didn't handle the situation very well, and I got fired over it," Boulanger said about the incident.
"They were my guests. It was my fault. It was my responsibility. It wasn't what I did. It was what I didn't do."
Darryl Parks, operations manager for Clear Channel's four AM stations, declined to comment on the matter, saying, "I never comment on personnel issues."
Boulanger said he was depressed and embarrassed over the incident and had hoped for a suspension rather than a dismissal.
"I didn't control the situation. I was in charge. I trusted these guys to be smart enough not to do something like that," he said. "I guess I'm a victim myself because of their stupidity."
Boulanger said the WLW incident was especially hard to take since he had just completed his first year as the show's weekend anchor.
"I've heard from a number of drivers upset about (my firing)," Boulanger said.... This has been hard because I feel I've been successful with this audience."
I can see Clear Channel's side of the story and understand their concern for fire safety and protection of their building and equipment. However, I also understand why truckers would be upset at seeing a person punished for just trying to have a little barbecue. Come on Darryl, Bolinger apologized and accepted responsibility; nobody got hurt; the guy is popular with the audience; he has a long history in radio, and he more than remorseful, he is downright depressed. I say, have a heart and give the guy his job back.
WIZF-FM (100.9). This is actually quite old but I never got around to writing about it. Terri Thomas is one of the kindest people I've ever had the pleasure of meeting. She understood that she could use her time and connections in radio to help people and contribute to the community. She did a lot of good things. Radio One moved her (4th story from bottom) from Cincinnati's WIZF to Houston's KBXX where she serves as the program director. Cincinnati is the 26th largest market compared to Houston which is the 7th largest. Dem boyz in H-Town are a lot difrent than you find here in the nasty Nati. On behalf of everyone at the Cincinnati Black Blog I congratulate Ms. Tolliver and wish her the best of luck. Be safe! Will Terri's departure be good or bad for the Wiz?
WKRC-AM (1530). Considering that Clear Channel has an agreement with Fox Radio to provide news and programming content, and the fact that the programming they're using from the Air America and Jones Radio Networks isn't catching on with listeners, why don't they pick up "The Alan Colmes Show" and put him on the disasterously unpopular "revolution of talk radio" station? At least Alan has a presence on television which could lead to some cross promotion.
WCVG-AM (1320). Tracie Hunter, aka "The Devil Lady" and her motley crew of screwballs and nutcases have nearly destroyed this radio station. The station barely shows up in the ratings. WCVG is so pitiful, nobody is even expressing concern that Cincinnati City Council candidate Cecil Thomas is given free airtime on the station every night even though he is a declared candidate for public office.
WGUC-FM (90.9) and WVXU-FM (91.7). The FCC granted approval of WVXU and the X-Star Radio Network to WGUC which has shown no interest in diversifying the lineup or staff by including African Americans.
Just look at their recent announcement that they've hired an ALL WHITE NEWS TEAM consisting of Mark Heyne, Ann Thompson, Jay Hanselman, Katie Orr and Maryanne Zeleznik. No Ed Gordon, Tavis Smiley, Edna Howell Parrish, Jo Ann Moore, Jim Morris, Ovie Mitchell, Gina Ruffin Moore, or Tianna Rollinson.
I'd like to know why NAACP President Edith Thrower hasn't said or done anything about this. I'd also like to know why the enlighted Board of Directors, especially the Negroes, including Betty Hull's daddy Art Hull and Alva Jean Crawford, don't insist that these public radio stations hire a diverse staff.
I'm checking to see if, in light of WGUC's apparent determination to exlude African Americans from the airwaves, there is anything that can be done to block the sale. The next meeting of the WGUC Board of Directors is August 18, 2005. I'll have much more to say about this between now and then.
I might make this radio blog a monthly feature and even add a blog on local TV changes. Depends on how much time I have and how much interest I receive.