'Persuasive' pal sets up happy landing for Mike North
It amazes his admirers and infuriates his detractors, but somehow Mike North always manages to land on his feet. Just five days after his low-rated morning show on WBBM-Channel 2 was canceled, the veteran sports talker has resurfaced with Fox Sports Radio.
Details of North's duties are still being worked out, but the network announced this week that he'd been added to the roster of hosts. "We couldn't be happier to have Mike join the Fox Sports Radio family," said Don Martin, vice president and general manager of the outfit based in Sherman Oaks, Calif. "His credentials in sports talk radio speak for themselves."
If you're wondering how North was able to make the deal so fast, look no farther than to Jeff Schwartz, his longtime friend and business partner, who became a consultant for Fox Sports Radio at the end of June. "I guess I'm still persuasive," Schwartz told me Tuesday night. "Always have been and always will be."
Schwartz also was involved in Webio, the Internet radio operation North launched with financing from David Hernandez, who turned out to have swindled investors of millions. Schwartz served as senior vice president and general sales manager of the venture until the business collapsed in June 2009. Earlier, he had been operations director of CBS Radio sports/talk WSCR-AM (670) during North's heyday at the Score.
"Want to thank Don Martin of Fox and my guy, Jeff Schwartz, for getting it done. We've always said XM concentrates on the coasts and ignores the Midwest. Well we will cover the national sports scene like a blanket, but Chicago and the Midwest will be represented big time!"
North's landing at Fox Sports Radio explains why he so abruptly exited Channel 2 as a co-host of "Monsters and Money in the Morning," the two-hour gabfest he'd co-host since February. Although the show still had two weeks to go, he and co-host Dan Jiggetts flew the coop Friday, with the CBS-owned station claiming something about vacation time due.
As a result, the show's producers were left to scramble for substitutes to finish out the run with remaining co-hosts Terry Savage and Mike Hegedus. On Wednesday, Mancow Muller filled in for North, as he will again next Tuesday. Despite publicly polite statements all around, the animosity apparently was mutual, with Channel 2 dropping all references to North and Jiggetts, and wiping them off the station's website.
Also on Wednesday, Channel 2 announced that Susan Carlson had been assigned to co-anchor the station's new morning show with newcomer Steve Bartelstein. Airing from 4:30 to 7 a.m., the still-untitled program will debut Aug. 30. Carlson, a Chicago area native who had been news and traffic anchor on "Monsters and Money in the Morning," joined Channel 2 in December 2002 from Citadel Broadcasting news/talk WLS-AM (890).