Citadel Broadcasting's bankruptcy filing claimed its first Chicago casualty Monday: Ron Magers, No. 1 news anchor at ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7, has been dropped as a daily contributor to Roe Conn's afternoon show on news/talk WLS-AM (890).
Today will be Magers' last day after almost 12 years as a commentator and raconteur on Conn's program. Magers' in-studio presence (heard from 3 to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday) consistently was a highlight of the show -- and often was the best half-hour of conversation in all of Chicago radio. Yes, he really was that good.
When Magers started, both Channel 7 and WLS-AM were owned by Walt Disney Co., which provided a perfect opportunity for synergy. Disney spun off its ABC Radio stations to Citadel in 2006. The decision not to renew his radio deal was presented as a fait accompli with no opportunity for negotiation, according to insiders. Contacted for comment Monday, Magers said:
"Spending a few minutes on Roe's show every day was a great delight for me. I'm really sorry it has come to an end. When the free coffee machine disappeared from the kitchen, I had a feeling my contract wouldn't be renewed. Times are tough in radio."