After 16 years as a joyful provocateur on the Chicago radio scene, shock-jock-turned-talk-show-host Mancow Muller is about to spread his special brand of magic over New York.
Citadel Broadcasting's flagship WABC-AM is expected to announce Monday that the libertarian firebrand has been hired to host a weekly show for the New York news/talk station. Starting this weekend, he'll be on from 6 to 9 p.m. Sundays. Whether it leads to a larger role for Muller in the nation's No. 1 media market is anybody's guess.
"I really believe we're standing at the most important time in American history," Muller, 44, said in an interview Sunday. "To be doing talk radio in New York on WABC is the highlight of my radio career."
His hiring by program director Laurie Cantillo followed an on-air audition at WABC one day last month. Cantillo most recently worked in Chicago as program director for XM/Sirius Satellite Radio's "Oprah & Friends" channel, which she helped launch with former Harpo Radio general manager John Gehron in 2006. Added Muller:
"I've had other opportunities in New York, but the difference with this one is Laurie Cantillo. The opportunity to work with her is the factor that excites me. She's from that John Gehron school of radio, and she's the most refreshing new leader in radio that I've experienced in a very long time. Nobody has taught her what we can't do. She's pretty incredible.
"New York City is the center of the media universe -- and I think there's going to be lots of fun to be had there."
There's both irony and vindication in his hiring by WABC, considering that owner Citadel Broadcasting also is the parent company of WLS-AM (890), the news/talk station that terminated him last February. Despite high ratings for the midday show Muller hosted with Pat Cassidy, WLS bosses said they weren't a "good fit" for the station between the morning duo of Don Wade and Roma and the syndicated Rush Limbaugh.
For the time being, Muller said he plans to continue to host his syndicated weekday morning show for Talk Radio Network from facilities in Chicago and New York.
Although they fired him shortly after they took over, WLS general manager Michael Damsky and operations director Drew Hayes remain on friendly terms with Muller, allowing him free use of their studios for his morning show.
"I'm a fighter by nature, I keep looking for a fight, but there is no fight there," Muller said of his former bosses. "Michael Damsky and Drew Hayes have been complete gentlemen to me -- much to my surprise. I wish I had some pithy quote to give you, but I don't."