If everything hadn't‚ gone so terribly, terribly wrong at WGN-AM (720), Steve Cochran would be closing in on his 20th month as morning personality there. He'd also be lead-off man for a real Chicago news/talk lineup that might have included good guys like John Williams, Bob Sirott, David Kaplan and Bill Leff (or, unless they really had chosen to retire by now, women like Kathy O'Malley and Judy Markey).
Of them all, only Williams still has a spot on the Tribune Co.-owned station's Monday-through-Friday schedule -- and that's about to change for the fifth time since 2008. As of next week, Williams will lose his 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. slot and turn up from 12:30 to 3 p.m. But his future at the station is anything but clear.
The rest are gone or, in Sirott's and Kaplan's cases, vastly diminished at WGN -- victims of an arrogant and out-of-touch management that insists it has a plan, and boasts in its own Chicago Tribune: "We actually understand what it is we think we are trying to do." (Even if their plan is incomprehensible to mere mortals.)
Absurd as it is that Cochran was shown the door at the end of June, the good news is that he's about to make his presence felt in the market again. In an appearance Friday morning on Fox-owned WFLD-Channel 32's "Good Day Chicago," Cochran is expected to announce the official launch of his new website, stevecochranshow.com.
Up and running with "imaginary bells and whistles and other sound effects," Cochran says, the site will feature fresh, original material every day -- some in blog form, some in podcast form, some in video form. It also will include an archive of interviews and news about his standup comedy appearances. "I want to take the best stuff I did from the old shows and add all the cool things we can do on the Net," he said, adding:
"I think it's a good start for now.‚ We will be adding more video, live chats and shows, and blatant plugs for upcoming sponsors. Unlike traditional media, I plan on using my website long after the verdict is in -- to continue mocking Rod Blagojevich. And unlike most of the web, my site will only have limited nudity."
After spending the better part of the last 17 years on Chicago stations, Cochran, 49, isn't straying too far from radio, either. On Sunday, he'll turn up for the second straight week on ESPN sports/talk WMVP-AM (1000) -- filling in as guest host from noon to 3 p.m. "I hope ESPN 1000 management doesn't mind if I do all three hours of the show on croquet," he said.