Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Clear Channel Atlanta Changes Reach Back to Ohio

Cluster after cluster, we've been reading about Clear Channel groups dumping staff just about everywhere...presumably a massive chain-wide budget cut due to the recent announcement of a sale to private equity funds.

The latest is Atlanta, where various trade websites report what can only be called the wholesale gutting of Clear Channel talk mainstay WGST/640.

And that's where Ohio comes in.

Though the top item on the list nationally is the exit of veteran morning host Tom Hughes and afternoon host Kim "The Kimmer" Peterson, the top item here concerns the midday shift, where former WSPD/1370 Toledo host Denny Schaffer is out in the evisceration of WGST.

Plus, there's another Ohio connection, as the move gives WLW/700 Cincinnati-based syndicated host Mike McConnell his first really big market clearance...WGST will pick up McConnell's program to replace Schaffer.

From the reports, it appears Clear Channel is basically giving up on the talk station they've poured money, and talent, into...in a futile attempt to compete with Cox talk powerhouse WSB/750.

It's so bad, the company is running "Wall Street Journal This Morning" in WGST's morning drive slot with the departure of Hughes.

That's not a bad show...local stations like Clear Channel's WARF/1350 Akron run it.

But not aired once, then repeated THREE TIMES between 5 and 9 AM, with cursory local news/weather/traffic inserts. That's what WGST is planning to do in Atlanta.

More on WGST's "new lineup" from program director Randall Bloomquist here.

The Clear Channel budget axe also hit Louisville KY, where six staffers have exited, according to AllAccess.

And no, our item below next to the question mark does not concern Clear Channel's operations, or for that matter, any other local radio or broadcast TV outlet. (We still haven't heard, for example, any more names from reported CC budget cutting at the Oak Tree World Domination HQ in Independence.)

We do have some answers, though, on the item we hinted about below, and we'll share them with you in our next update...


Anonymous said...

With afternoon ratings that suck, now might be the time for WSPD to dump the Wilsons, Brian and his wife who does the news, and use that cash to bring Denny back to Toledo. Brian's numbers took a dive from third to tenth in his target demo in the last book and his wife just mails in the news stuff anyway.

Anonymous said...

Watch out Brian and Joe...Whoopi's syndicated CC show may be coming your way on WMVX.

VODood said...

Denny has two years left on his deal. I don't know how it's worded... he might just sit for two years and take the money. Wouldn't you?

Anonymous said...

Re: the Fox 8 announcement, you guys were right. From Robin's blog on the Fox 8 website:

Well, the big announcement has finally come. I’m BAAACCCKKKK and thrilled to be “home” again. I’ve worked at a lot of places during my career, but there is none as special as this place on S. Marginal Road.

Sometimes I think I’m dreaming because it’s all too good to be true. January 8 we will launch a morning show called “That’s Life.” My subtitle for it is “debunking the myth of perfection one show at a time!” I hope you’ll join us in this grand adventure…sending us ideas and lots of feedback! More to come…

firebird said...

WGST has been a mess since late 2000 when its FM simulcast was eliminated. At that time, the station ranked in the top 10 in the ratings. Since then, there have about 8 program directors and other no talent hacks running the station into the ground. This past year has been the worst since the arrival of Randall Bloomquist in late 2005.

Kim "The Kimmer" Peterson was hired after previous host Freddie Mertz was fired after 6 weeks. Before Mertz, the afternoon slot was occupied by WSPD's Brian Wilson for about 2 years.

The Kimmer's show was unusual in that it was somewhat of a morning show in afternoon drive. With Atlanta's lousy traffic, listening to the antics of the Kimmer was refreshing. Somehow, Dave Ramsey has a very tough act to follow after 15 years of The Kimmer.

Credit has to go to the departed hosts of WGST as they could see this coming. Tom "The King" Hughes actually left on his accord, and actually said goodbye to listeners this morning. But, the Kimmer and Denny Schaffer were fired. Denny was let go after his show today and Kimmer was fired before his afternoon program. Both did not get the chance to say goodbye to listeners.

Being a former Clevelander, I was always amazed how CC did not decimate the stations in Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Youngstown in the same way they did to a station in market #10.

True, WSB was a major factor, but WGST consistently finished in the top 10 of the ratings until the entire CC/Atlanta was was run into the ground beginning around 2000.

Now market #10 has a talk station that is syndicated for 165 hours out of a 168 hour week.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Just to correct the erroneous WGST "reflection" piece from some idiot named Firebird. Freddy Mertz was a casualty of a horrid PD named Eric Seidel who would ultimately be canned shortly thereafter. Mertz was on GST's afternoon show from the late Summer of 2001 into the Spring of 2002, had hot phones and a great response from listeners. And, to his credit, Mertz refused to ever trash the previous host, Brian Wilson. Mertz had fun with the Christian fundamentalists, racists, lesbians (of course!) and anything and anyone interesting in the news. I still recall when he had topless dancers in the studio playing the role of deer and asking for mercy, when Georgia liberalized its deer hunting laws. Mourn Kimmer all you want, but when he came on the air, he did a very similar shtick to Mertz, and inherited the momentum Mertz had already been building. Firings suck in this business, but don't trash a previous host with misinformation. Both hosts were fired for no reason related to the jobs they did.