Tuesday, February 24, 2009

New Syndie Hosts

Two new syndicated talk radio hosts are embarking on a new national journey...one, expected, and one, just announced.

ALREADY SET: The "expected" host is former Republican presidential candidate, Tennessee senator and star of NBC's "Law & Order", Fred Thompson, who takes the Westwood One 12 noon-2 PM weekday clearance being abandoned by Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly and his "Radio Factor" starting on Monday, March 2nd.

One of O'Reilly's two Northeast Ohio affiliates has already announced that it is carrying Thompson's Washington DC-based show: Spirit Media talk/variety WELW/1330 Willoughby is listing Thompson's show on its online schedule, and has a blurb about the new host on its programming page.

The other "Radio Factor" affiliate, Media-Com Akron market talker WNIR/100.1 "The Talk of Akron", still lists O'Reilly's delayed weekend evening clearance on its website schedule.

Our bet - that WNIR will keep the Westwood One satellite feed/delay going on Saturday and Sunday nights, and start airing Thompson's show a week from Saturday evening.

It's what the station did when Laura Ingraham's old Westwood One evening show was replaced by a show hosted by Portland OR-based Lars Larson, who still airs Saturday and Sunday 7-10 PM on delay...and sometimes live, when local evening host Tom Erickson takes a night off.

With WNIR's "bread and butter" being local programming, the station doesn't spend a lot of time messing with the weekend evening/late night national talk show replays - nor, really, should it...

AND NEW: Clear Channel's Premiere Radio syndication arm is beefing up its conservative talk lineup.

The company has launched KTLK-FM/Minneapolis-based host Jason Lewis onto its nationally-syndicated schedule, airing from 6-9 PM (Eastern) weekdays.

Lewis is a familiar voice to Rush Limbaugh's listeners...he's been a frequent sub for Rush for a while now.

And talk about fertile ground for new talk show hosts...the Rush Sub Brigade has launched no fewer than four hosts into their own syndication deals. On that list: Salem's Michael Medved, KOGO/San Diego host Roger Hedgecock (via Radio America), KFBK/Sacramento host Tom Sullivan (via Fox News Radio) and now Lewis.

Of those hosts, only one - Medved - is heard locally via Salem's own Cleveland talker, WHK/1420.

Lewis' new show means Premiere has a stake in its own syndicated conservative talk programming from 9 AM through 9 PM weekdays, counting the company's new joint venture with ABC Radio for Sean Hannity.

We're wondering how Clear Channel stations will take to Jason Lewis. Many of them have moved away from controversial Talk Radio Networks host Michael Savage, and ABC Radio's Mark Levin has picked up a lot of those clearances (and recently expanded his show to the full 6-9 PM Eastern time slot from a two hour 6-8 PM show).

Will the Clear Channel Levin affiliates pick up Lewis, even on a delayed basis?

We'll see...

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