UPDATE 9/20/07 2:35 PM: Mr. Maloney backs off just a little in an update to the below post.
The "Radio Equalizer" blog editor says that O'Reilly may sign a "short-term" extension to the "Radio Factor" contract into early next year. But he believes the FNC host is still destined to dump radio, to concentrate on his popular evening TV talk show.
Our original take on his report is below...
This word comes from a blog just across the Blogger-sphere:
According to "Radio Equalizer" blogger Brian Maloney, FOX News Channel evening host Bill O'Reilly is bringing his Westwood One-syndicated talk radio show - "The Radio Factor" - to a close in December.
The move, if it happens, wouldn't really be a big deal in Northeast Ohio, where the O'Reilly radio show has had a tough time gaining traction. Clear Channel owns most of Ohio's major talk stations, which carry Rush Limbaugh and have for some time, and the O'Reilly radio show airs on maybe two or three of Clear Channel's talk stations nationwide.
In this region, "The Radio Factor" is carried on weekend evenings on Media-Com Akron market talker WNIR/100.1, in a two hour slot that could just as easily filled by another Westwood One show. Dennis Miller, anyone? Does Canton market news/talk WHBC/1480 claim Akron market rights to Miller? Is his show still on the air? We haven't checked...
And on the eastern fringes of the Cleveland market, talk/brokered WELW/1330 Willoughby carries Mr. O'Reilly's program twice a day, once live, and once repeated in late nights. Maybe the station just expands Tony Petkovsek's 2 hour afternoon polka show to four hours?
For either scenario above, we're just guessing...we haven't heard what WNIR or WELW would use to replace the O'Reilly show. For that matter, we haven't even confirmed this original report.
The reason the radio show has lasted so long is the weight O'Reilly's name carries among conservative talk listeners, due to his much more successful TV show.
But at some point, assuming this report is true, he apparently has given up the towel competing against conservative talk icon Rush Limbaugh. Mr. O'Reilly actually had a modest amount of success in some markets, but his affiliate list beyond New York and Los Angeles was rather spotty.
And oddly enough, Mr. Maloney had earlier actually strongly refuted a liberal blogger's contention that O'Reilly was leaving the world of talk radio - a fact Maloney himself acknowledges in the above item.
It would, presumably, mean that radio industry people with connections pulled Brian aside electronically, and said, "well, actually..."