Thursday, August 03, 2006

He Won't Have Rover to Kick Around Anymore

With all the activity on the local sports media front, we missed Chicago Sun-Times media beat writer Robert Feder's final missive on now-former WCKG/105.9 morning doggie Shane "Rover" French. "Rover's Morning Glory" exited its Chicago flagship station earlier this week.

Feder says the replacement team - CBS Radio/XM's Opie and Anthony - has "nowhere to go but up", and says they'll no doubt be better than "the mutt they're replacing". (And we thought WE overdid the dog references!)

Feder says French's "kennel of sidekicks and sycophants" returns to Cleveland, and says Rover "blamed his failure on everyone but himself":

Mostly, he pointed to management -- the same people who brought him here, promoted him, defended him, built new state-of-the-art studios for him, and urged him to focus more on Chicago.

Well, we're not so sure we'd "blame" French for his own failure. The problem would seem to be that CBS Radio installed a young-skewing radio personality and his show on a station that actually skews somewhat older. Not to mention the problems we've documented here, about Rover's status as a Radio Import in a market which loves its locals.

The show seems pretty juvenile to us, what we know of it and what little we have heard of it. Like Feder, though, we are out of the show's target demographic.

So, it appears, would be the overall target demographic of WCKG, the station which took a chance on Rover for the slot vacated by Howard Stern in January.

The station skews older than a typical FM talker.

The afternoon drive slot is hosted by Chicago radio icon Steve Dahl, who's been in the market for decades and whose "Free FM" picture cites the legend "Been here. Done that."

Rover's strength, meanwhile, is in the 18-34 demographic... a demo he continues to do very well in here in Cleveland.

That, and it seems from day one, WCKG wanted a heavily Chicago-focused show, while Rover saw the gig as a syndicated empire based in Chicago.

Here at OMW, we like and respect Robert Feder. He is clearly the dean of newspaper media columnists in this country, and we've even been fortunate enough to meet him. But in his coverage of Rover, he has the same problem we do. We're both too old to "get" the youth-oriented morning host...and like us, he's had a little column-writing fun at a regular target...


Rich in Medina said...

While not an avid listener to Rover, I don't see Opie and Anthony appealing to an older audience to which the station is "skewed." Looks like the bald writer dude is going to have to find another whipping boy in Chicago.

Johnny Morgan said...

This really explains (a) just how much Robert Feder hated Rover; and (b) just how idiotic CBS managers really are.

Let's take a morning host from Cleveland, give him a dream of coming "home" to Chicago, syndicate him to all manner of stations in and around the Midwest...

...and make him do a Chicago-centric morning show fed to all of those stations up and down the network.

Yeah, because we in Cleveland really give a rat's ass about what's happening with the White Sox, Cubs, Bears, Bulls, wind, Mayor Daley, South Side, Waterfront, or O'Hare's busy runways. Neither does Columbus, or St. Louis, or other towns NOT NAMED CHICAGO to which he was syndicated.

For the love of Jebus, will CBS please sell its stations already. If the managers won't take responsibility for being jackassed buffoons, can we at least make them unemployed???

Damnit, now my chest hurts.

Anonymous said...

Feder didn't hate Rover, just his show. JM has it right about about CBS managers, though.
Rover's problem in Chicago was not being from Cleveland, but in doing a Chicago show sans Chicago. As an example, Steve Dahl is not from Chicago, but he embraced Chicago (and once you put aside sports rivalries, it's an easy city to love), and his show has always been about Chicago, so it's been successful. Of course, it didn't hurt to have the irreplacible Chicagoan Garry Meier for half his career.
Cleveland may not "really give a rat's ass about what's happening with the White Sox, Cubs, Bears, Bulls, wind, Mayor Daley, South Side, Waterfront, or O'Hare's busy runways," but Chicagoans do, and if you don't talk about it, you're probably not going to be successful there, regardless of target demographic. And as Rover found, half-hearted, superficial, botched attempts at appearing Chicagoan will be rejected-- it takes more than wearing a Cubs hat and eating a hot dog.
The Chicago market is unique in that I don't think that you can successfully syndicate into or out of it (Paul Harvey notwithstanding), which is why O&A are not doing well there either.