CBS eyes opening for new radio programming boss

May 25, 2010

Chicago's seven CBS Radio stations could be in line for a new programming czar.


CBS Radio Chicago studios

Although that's not what they're calling the position -- the official title would be vice president of programming -- the job description says the person would be "responsible for ultimate ratings success and digital initiatives for [the] diverse group of radio stations."

Rod Zimmerman, senior vice president and market manager of CBS Radio in Chicago, confirmed that he's posted an opening for someone to oversee all of the stations from a "product standpoint." He didn't say when he expected to fill the position, but other sources said it could be soon.

The opening was made possible by the departure last February of Dave Robbins, former vice president and general manager of country WUSN-FM (99.5) and adult contemporary WCFS-FM (105.9), who was shifted to manage CBS Radio's three-station cluster in Orlando, Fla. In addition to his main duties here, Robbins had nominal oversight over programming, but asserted little authority in that area.

None of the current CBS Radio program directors in Chicago is under consideration for the position. They include Todd Cavanah of rhythmic Top 40 WBBM-FM (96.3) and adult hits WJMK-FM (104.3); Ron Gleason of all-news WBBM-AM (780), Mitch Rosen of sports/talk WSCR-AM (670); and Norm Winer of adult rock WXRT-FM (93.1). Jim Ryan, who recently was named program director of WCFS (as well as New York "Fresh" sister station WWFS-FM), spends only two days a week in the market. WUSN has been without a program director since Bill Gamble exited at the end of March.

The new vice president of programming is expected to double as program director of one or more stations. Unless that station is only WUSN, it could trigger a further realignment of duties in the market.

One name that insiders say isn't on Zimmerman's list of candidates -- but should be -- is Tom Langmyer, vice president and general manager of news/talk WGN-AM (720). It's a job for which Langmyer likely would be better suited than the one he now holds in which he's straitjacketed between two radio renegades -- Tribune Co. CEO Randy Michaels and WGN program director Kevin Metheny.

Zimmerman and Langmyer are old friends who worked together in St. Louis, where Zimmerman ran KMOX-AM and Langmyer headed programming at the legendary news/talk station.‚ Langmyer eventually moved up to vice president and general manager of KMOX and national vice president of programming for CBS Radio's 10 news/talk stations before joining WGN in 2005.

The upcoming programming realignment could coincide with the consolidation of all CBS Radio operations under one roof. In just two weeks, WSCR will become the last of the company's Chicago radio stations to move its studios and offices to Two Prudential Plaza, 180 N. Stetson.

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