Skip to comments.NERW Extra: Who’ll Fill WOR’s Sudden Morning Gap?
Posted on 02/18/2014 11:38:56 AM PST by raccoonradio
If you believed that Clear Channel had a carefully-constructed plan to rebuild New Yorks WOR (710) into a younger-skewing talk-and-sports station, this mornings developments should disabuse you of that notion. WOR raised plenty of eyebrows when it began the new year by replacing morning veteran John Gambling and his 86-year family legacy with Elliot Segals Elliot in the Morning show, simulcast with Clear Channel FM rockers in Washington and Richmond, Virginia.
But as of this morning, Elliots gone from WOR without a trace, or much of an explanation.
Whats going on? More than youd think, including a lingering dispute over a studio
First, nothing about what happened today was part of a bigger plan. Could Elliot have been a Clear Channel smokescreen to clear out the aging Gambling audience and get some quick attention for WOR, only to be bumped back to his Washington home base once a more permanent morning show was in place? It sounds like a reasonable guess but its not what happened here.
Make no mistake: Elliot was WORs permanent morning plan (or as close to permanent as anything gets in radio), and thats where the studio comes in. In order to move his show from WWDC-FM in Washington to a new home base in New York, Clear Channel promised Segal a custom-built studio in the Clear Channel complex at 32 Avenue of the Americas and thats part of where things got hung up.
NERW hears that Clear Channel completed a brand-new studio for Elliot in January, only to have it deemed unsatisfactory. Elliot kept doing the show from Washington while a replacement studio was built and somewhere along the way, Clear Channel decided the experiment wasnt working. The abrupt pulling of the plug today doesnt leave Elliot and his crew hanging they stay put in Washington and keep doing what theyve been doing all along but it comes at a tough time for WOR.
Clear Channels plan for the station was built on three new legs: a younger-skewing morning show, the proven track record of Rush Limbaugh at noon (imported from WABC) and the New York Mets (displaced from WFAN). Rush is Rush, of course, and he brings an existing fan base even if hes not drawing any new younger listeners. The Mets are just getting started with spring training but instead of starting their season with a cross-promotional boost from a successful morning show, theyll get underway as Clear Channel tries to find a speedy replacement for the failed Elliot experiment.
We know more so far about who that replacement wont be than who it will be. It wont be fill-in Mark Simone, whos been vocal about how much he doesnt want to do a morning show (and whos urgently needed on the 9-noon slot on WOR). And it wont be Scott Shannon; even though hes available now that hes been cut loose from his longtime perch on WPLJ, and even though hes made noise about being back on the air in New York sooner rather than later, its hard to imagine a worse fit for a talk morning show than the man who brought the top-40 Morning Zoo to New York 30 years ago.
So what does WOR do now? Its got a studio (on the second try), and in the Mets its got a powerful promotional platform to help draw listeners to morning drive and the rest of the WOR programming day. Its got a vacuum to work with: aside from Salems signal-challenged WNYM (970) and its fledgling Joe Piscopo/Frank Morano morning show, theres absolutely nobody else doing locally-focused talk in mornings. Yet its missing a big leg from its stool now and can a station with Rush in middays, the Mets at night and a big hole in morning drive make any kind of a mark on an unforgiving radio town? Stay tuned
They can't get us to change our minds and they can't get us to stop listening to what we want to listen to but they CAN get rid of the people we like to listen to.
This is not too far away from womb to tomb when our day is morning to night what THEY want us to hear.
Consider the kids with earbuds in all day long ... what ARE they inputting ?
So far all that's left (I don't know everything, but as far as I know ... ) is Rush and Glenn.
prisoner6, your thoughts?
I like radio, but for myself, the commercials were finally the end of radio as I knew it. I’ve switched over to Sirius/XM, unless something drastic occurs I will just pay a yearly fee to listen to it. Otherwise I’m going commercial Free and as a MAJOR bonus I won’t have to listen to Obama again on the ‘news’.
I’m in this market and I came across Elliott while I was driving in the car one morning. Seemed to me like nothing but stupid and scatological shtick.
Or is CC planning to spring some new national morning show on us?
They dumped Quinn and Rose here in Pittsburgh a couple of months back. Some local dweeb from Wheeling, WV is still filling that slot. Can’t imagine he’s their long-term solution.
I’m not saying it’s a leftist plot...but it’s a leftist plot!
Look at my stations in Pittsburgh. The FM plays horrible, pop JUNK! In the evening it is the VERY LEFT ORIENTED syndicated Delilah fake request show. Overnights it’s the vapid John Tesh intelligence for your life...programing which is anything but intelligent!
The AM plays nostalgia. It isn’t too bad except it’s filled with old leftist music...Streisand and her ilk, leftist folk/pop like Peter Paul and Mary and a few decent songs mixed in.
It’s all non offensive to the Stupid musical wallpaper. Seriuosly, elevator music was light years better than this!
The PSAs are the worst! The are still warning...I’m not kidding ...about global warming and other leftist oriented messsges.
Most of the proraming is syndicated, prerecorded or voice tracked.
Management will bend over backwards to avoid being confontational...at least to the left. That is one of the reasons stopped doing news except in an emergency.
for me, just rush. my local guy mark belling is also good.
I think I see this attitude showing itself all across our nation in various and sundry ways.
The problem for CC and all broadcasting conpanies for that matter is cash flow.
For a few decades ago corps were able to pick up licenses/smaller stations on the cheap. They would invest money (much subsidized BTW) in equipment, pick up Rush...hehehe... and suddenly the station they bought and fixed for $200k is worth a million!
Equity in real estate/equipment was the safety parachute.
Now the house of cards is collapsing. They believe the only way to ssve themselves is branding and promotion. Lame promotion.
Meanwhile a friend who tried several times to buy stations but always ran them into the ground or insisted on running programing that didn’t fit the area invested $400k into two good stations in D/FW. He insisted on running his own tradio instead of keeping a highly rated and money making noon to three show.
Equity was saving him and he was offered double his investment but said no. A year later he lost them.
It used to be 4 breaks an hour each ~4 minutes long. Now it’s 3 breaks an hour each 6-7 minutes long. Some might run 2 breaks an hour but in sold out conditions they can run 10 OR MORE minutes each!
Blogs and social networking are the future not only of conservative communication, but leftist as well. In another 15 years yet another medium may come to the forefront.
There's an oldies TV channel, Antenna TV, I think, that has WKRP episodes playing. I had forgotten how hilarious some of them were!
A lot of radio folks (past and present) were surprised when Clear Channel selected “Elliot” for the morning slot. Yeah, I know they’re going after the younger demo, but his “approach” just doesn’t mesh with a conservative talk format.
Ironically, WOR is up three-tenths of a point in the latest “people meter” ratings, while WABC is down half a point. That may not sound like much, but in a huge market like NYC, it represents a definite shift, and I’d say Rush is responsible for much of it.
In fact, WOR should avoid an even bigger mistake by making a quick hire to fill the slot permanently. First of all, the pool of local hosts capable of stepping into that slot is fairly small, and it’s tough to get someone to follow a disaster like Elliot, knowing they may get canned a year or so down the road.
If I were programming WOR, I’d stick Mark Simone in the morning slot for the next six months, and give him a nice bonus for holding down the fort. That would give Clear Channel time to find a permanent host and promote him/her ahead of a mid-summer launch. Imus is at his ranch for most of the summer and when he’s not taking a day off, he’s phoning in his show—literally and figuratively. Ratings for Imus trend down in the summer, so there’s an opportunity for WOR (if they find the right host), to generate some buzz—and ratings—at that juncture.
There’s also a school of thought that says WOR can survive with a middling, even weak morning show. WABC did it for years; Curtis and Kuby rarely cracked the Top 10 in the morning slot, so WABC made its money later in the day with Rush and Hannity.
With the addition of Rush, Sean, and the Mets (plus an election year), there’s a better than 50/50 shot that WOR passes WABC in six months, even if 710 lags in the mornings. That will affirm the legacy of Lew Dickey (CEO of Cumulus, owner of WABC) as one of the biggest idiots in the history of broadcasting. Someone ought to ask him how that “Savage” experiment in the afternoons is going.
It shouldn't be that way. Radio is the only medium that requires only one sense... hearing. All others require more or some interaction.
To borrow a phrase real radio...the best radio...is live and local.
I miss Gambling who was perfect for morning drive in NYC. He was smart, soft-spoken, politically conservative and knew everything about NYC & NJ politics. Bring him back!
Meanwhile, Joe Piscapo (!) has replaced the terrible Curtis Sliwa and his hours of Mob Talk over at 970AM. I wonder how he and Kuby are doing over at WABC.
Perhaps sadly I remember WABC the good guys..which went to another station IIRC.
Also Jean Sheperd on WOR ...EXCELSIOR!