Don’t look now, but WGN is shuffling the deck — again

Don’t look now, but WGN is shuffling the deck — again

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In another move that’s certain to confuse and alienate listeners, Tribune Co.-owned news/talk WGN-AM (720) just shook up its daytime programming lineup again.

John Williams

Under the new arrangement, Greg Jarrett will lose 30 minutes from his morning show, and John Williams (who, by one count, has occupied five different time slots in the last 19 months) will move yet again — this time from middays to early afternoons.‚ It’s hardly a vote of confidence in Jarrett, whose audience shares decline steadily from the moment he signs on at 5 a.m.

Both moves, effective Aug. 9, coincide with the arrival of Mike McConnell, a newcomer from Cincinnati’s WLW-AM, who’ll take over a four-hour slot between Jarrett and Williams from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. With Jarrett and McConnell on from 5 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., WGN will be fronted for more than seven hours each day by hosts who never worked in Chicago prior to June 2009.

In a statement announcing the changes Wednesday, Tom Langmyer, vice president and general manager of WGN, said: “Mike and John back-to-back make an extraordinarily strong team, and our listeners will be well-served with the best in news, information and engaging conversation.”

For Williams, who’s been on shaky ground at WGN since the current regime took over, the move appears more beneficial to his second job with WCCO-AM in Minneapolis. Under his new schedule, Williams will originate his WCCO show out of a studio at WGN from 9 a.m. to noon, and then host his WGN show from 12:30 to 3 p.m. Williams will be reunited on his afternoon show with newsman Steve Bertrand and traffic reporter Leslie Keiling.

News anchor Jim Gudas moves from afternoons to mornings along with traffic reporter Mary Van De Velde, and news anchor Andrea Darlas moves from mornings to afternoons/evenings. Those moves take effect July 26.