Chicago broadcasting veteran Bob Sirott and his Monday-through-Friday "Noon Show" have fallen victim to the latest wave of budget cuts at Tribune Co.-owned news/talk WGN-AM (720). Starting Monday, midday host John Williams is expected to take over the noon hour, extending his show from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Also axed Friday were afternoon news anchor and City Hall reporter Dave Stewart, a 28-year veteran of the station, "Sports Central" weekend co-host (and former Chicago Bear) Glen Koslowski, and two other staffers in accounting and the mail room. On Thursday night, the positions of Steve Cochran's producer, Rick O'Connor, and Milt Rosenberg's producer, Zack Christenson, were eliminated. Dean Richards' production duties were cut.
Sirott, who has hosted the "Noon Show" since 2007, will still be heard on WGN as the promotional voice of the station and as the designated fill-in for morning personality Greg Jarrett. Sirott and his wife, Marianne Murciano, will continue to host their Sunday night talk show. Asked for comment, Sirott said:
"I've known for about a year that working an hour a day was coming to an end.‚ I'm surprised it lasted this long. ‚ Because I have some upcoming TV projects that will require my full attention, I'm happy that WGN gave me a new deal‚ to free up my daily schedule and still allow me to make WGN my radio home. ‚ I hope listeners don't get tired of hearing my voice on WGN 24 hours a day. And until my nephew Judd retires and I take his Cubs job, I'll enjoy doing 'The Sunday Night Radio Special with Marianne Murciano' and acting as the station's prime fill-in."
WGN officials did not respond to requests for comment Friday. Speculation persists that they're negotiating to hire Jonathon Brandmeier, former morning personality at Emmis Communications classic rock WLUP-FM (97.9), for an unspecified shift.
The cutbacks at WGN are believed to be in response to pressure from Randy Michaels, chief executive officer of Tribune Co., who is focusing on steering the company out of bankruptcy.