Aftershocks from Wednesday's radio earthquake at news/talk WLS-AM (890):
Pat Cassidy and Mancow Muller in happier days
- Within minutes of his firing, Pat Cassidy was on the phone with Rod Zimmerman, senior vice president and market manager of CBS Radio in Chicago, fielding an offer to return to his old job as morning anchor at all-news WBBM-AM (780). In keeping the position open for 19 months -- while John Hultman filled in alongside Felicia Middlebrooks - Zimmerman gambled that he'd eventually swing Cassidy's comeback. Now the gamble apparently is paying off. Unless Cassidy's agent screws it up (and we are talking about the same agent who advised him to accept his ill-fitting deal at WLS), look for Cassidy to sign on any day now at Newsradio 780.
- Never at a loss for words, Mancow Muller shared a few more thoughts on the rise and fall of his 16-month adventure in middays at WLS:
"These here are strange days indeed. Radio is reflective of the country right now. I am a man caught between many worlds -- a Libertarian in Obamaland. What I find interesting is how listeners 'get it,' but middle-management types cannot. We were the No. 1 show [among listeners age 12 and older] after four months with zero promotion, no budget and on AM radio no less! WLS is a great station, and I will miss Roe, Amy, Don, Roma, but mostly that fuddy duddy knucklehead Pat Cassidy. Chicago radio used to be the world's best. I miss that, too."
- Now that Ron Magers is back on Roe Conn's afternoon show, can the lovely Christina Filiaggi be far behind? Look for the twice laid-off traffic reporter to rejoin the show again. Third time's the charm.
- Here's how Michael Damsky, president and general manager of WLS, explained Wednesday's changes in a memo to the staff of the Citadel Broadcasting station:
"Today we have taken strong, positive steps toward making WLS-AM fulfill our consistent vision of what listeners want this radio station to be. We have altered the programming lineup in a way which creates a bridge between two of our most important programs, 'Don Wade and Roma' and 'The Rush Limbaugh Show.' At the same time we have begun the process of allowing Roe Conn to retrace the path toward what was his most successful program environment.‚ The changes are as follows:
"Today was the last program for 'Mancow and Cassidy.' ‚ While Mancow and Pat consistently put on a highly entertaining and often attention-grabbing two hours,‚ the content and delivery simply did not fit the expectations of the WLS listener.‚ Both Erich and Pat were model employees who were always attentive to the station's needs, but in the end, what made the show great was what kept it from making the anticipated contribution to WLS's growth.‚ Both of them have more of their great careers ahead of them, and we wish them nothing but the best.
"Cisco Cotto, whose five weeks as a co-host with Roe Conn amply demonstrated his ability to engage and entertain the WLS listener, will now take over the 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. slot.‚ Cisco's perspective is very much in line with both Don and Roma's and Rush's, and his show will be the bridge between the two. We believe he will do very well in growing the strong audience lead-in which comes out of our highly successful morning drive program.‚ In the coming weeks, Cisco will be joined by a permanent co-host.
"2 to 6 p.m. again becomes 'The Roe Conn Show,' and will refocus the spotlight on one of our most talented stars.‚ Again, this allows Roe to find his way back to the combination of programming elements which have made him one of Chicago's most successful talk-radio hosts ever.‚ Already, Ron Magers has rejoined the show, and other pieces of the puzzle will be added in the near future.
"These are the major changes that the WLS-AM management team has determined best respond to the vision of our audience and what elements, philosophies and emotions are most important to them.‚ There is no question that the station will be stronger, more engaging, and will sustain the listeners' interest longer because we have made these moves."
- And after all that, Rod Blagojevich, the disgraced and indicted former governor, is still on the books as a WLS weekend talk show host. At least for now.