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Don & Roma aren't all that's missing from WLS (Chicago)
The Chicago Sun-Times ^ | 09-23-04 | Don Feder

Posted on 09/28/2004 4:01:09 AM PDT by Musket

Don & Roma aren't all that's missing from WLS (or The powers that be are trying to kill Conservative Talk Radio in Chicago(my title))

BY ROBERT FEDER SUN-TIMES COLUMNIST

With the nation at war and a presidential election around the corner, you'd think that Chicago radio's flashiest news/talk station would be operating at peak form right now.

But WLS-AM (890) begins the fall ratings period today with no morning show, half an afternoon show, and cobwebs collecting in the vacant office of the general manager.

These are tough times at the Disney/ABC-owned station -- made worse by absentee management that chooses to ignore how badly confidence and morale have eroded at one of the once-great 50,000-watt powerhouses in all of broadcasting.

The most glaring sign of distress is the disappearance of Don Wade and Roma, the morning-drive franchise at WLS and highly rated mainstays of the station for the past two decades.

With their contract up and no new agreement in sight, the husband-and-wife team have been conspicuously absent since Sept. 14, when they signed off by reaffirming their love for their loyal listeners.

While management placates the audience by saying that they're "hoping to renegotiate a new contract with Don & Roma," insiders acknowledge that it could be weeks -- or even months -- before matters are resolved one way or another.

In the meantime, listeners are being subjected to a morning show hosted by two part-timers, the astonishingly mean-spirited and intolerant Teri O'Brien and the utterly bland Art Wallis.

The station's inability to come to terms with the Wades is all the more baffling in light of the collapse earlier this year of contract renewal talks with afternoon co-host Garry Meier.

Though undeniably talented, solo host Roe Conn desperately needs to have a partner of Meier's caliber to play off of. (Paging Bruce Wolf?)

Behind the scenes, WLS is plagued with problems ranging from an angry unionizing effort among producers to the extreme right-wing political tilt of its programs with hardly even the pretense of balance anymore.

To top it off, the station has been adrift without a president and general manager for more than three months. The abrupt departure of Zemira Jones, who quit last June when he learned he would be losing oversight of WZZN-FM (94.7), left WLS in worse shape than it already was.

Mitch Dolan, the ABC Radio Group president who has been nominally in charge of WLS in the interim, refuses to comment on negotiations with Don & Roma -- or talk to the press about anything else for that matter.

Through an intermediary, Dolan passed along the word that there was "no shortage" of candidates for general manager of WLS and that an announcement should be forthcoming within "a few weeks." He denied rumors that several candidates already had turned down the job.

"Mitch Dolan is interested in doing the right thing for the station long term and making the right decisions for the station long term," said ABC Radio spokeswoman Julie Hoover.

Asked why Dolan refuses to return calls, Hoover said: "He prefers not to speak directly to the press."


TOPICS: Miscellaneous; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: chicago; liberalintolerance
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The Bulletin Board at their site has been down for months. I knew this would happen one day. There is absolutley ONE Conservative radio station in Chicago, and the combination of bad management and unions are trying to take it down. The intolerance of the Left in Chicago is suffocating. If you're a Conservative here you'd better keep it to yourself. They will punish you in any way they can.
1 posted on 09/28/2004 4:01:10 AM PDT by Musket
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To: Musket

I can get WLS in Detroit on a clear day. Try getting in our 760. It plays Rush.

My heart goes out to you. I couldn't live without my radio.


2 posted on 09/28/2004 4:10:12 AM PDT by netmilsmom (Does a clean house indicate that there is a broken computer in it?)
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To: netmilsmom

I was listening to Arthur Godfrey the other day.


3 posted on 09/28/2004 4:14:45 AM PDT by battlegearboat
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To: Musket
. . .the astonishingly mean-spirited and intolerant. . .

Lefty code words for conservative. Heck, I've even been called that myself.

Michael M. Bates: My Side of the Swamp

4 posted on 09/28/2004 4:19:55 AM PDT by Mike Bates (You're getting drowsy. You will buy my book, you will buy my book, you will buy my book. . .)
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To: Musket

I live in Alabama, but this is the station I stream on my computer to listen to Rush. I hate to hear this. I like the guys that come on right after Rush.


5 posted on 09/28/2004 4:20:40 AM PDT by EmilyGeiger (They that can give up liberty to obtain safety deserve neither liberty or safety. Ben Franklin)
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To: netmilsmom
Detroit is a bit far for the daytime. I've been listening to WHFB out of Benton Harbor.

But we've got a mayor here who thinks that it's perfectly O.K. to order bulldozers in the dark of night to carve X's into an airport runway, and only one or two journalists here think this is a bad thing. One outspoken soul was Don Wade. This town is nuts.

6 posted on 09/28/2004 4:22:08 AM PDT by Musket
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To: Musket

I use to listen to WLS every morning starting a little after 5AM. Don and Roma. That is changing. I cnnot stand what they have replaced them with. I still listen to Rush on WLS however.


7 posted on 09/28/2004 4:25:13 AM PDT by chainsaw (Vote American - Vote for BUSH)
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To: Musket

>>bulldozers in the dark of night to carve X's into an airport runway<<

What is that about? Mulder and Scully time???


8 posted on 09/28/2004 4:25:59 AM PDT by netmilsmom (Does a clean house indicate that there is a broken computer in it?)
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To: Musket

One of two AM talk radio stations in Indianapolis has gone PC. They just hired an arrogant Black Muslim guy from Illinois ("Abdul") to do its morning program. It's the same station that airs Hannity, Savage, Beck, Boortz and Ingraham. The guy is intelligent but his way of responding to callers is to laugh and make fun of them after they are no longer on the air. I no longer turn on my radio in the morning; I listen to something from my CD collection instead.


9 posted on 09/28/2004 4:33:19 AM PDT by arasina (So there.)
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To: netmilsmom
Here ya go!

Meigs Field Destroyed!

Meigs Field closed~~Crews dig up runway in middle of the night

Daley Closes Meigs With Bulldozers (City of Chicago )

FAA Grants AOPA Demand for Investigation into Meigs Closure

Friends of Meigs File Suit to Reopen Airport

10 posted on 09/28/2004 4:36:44 AM PDT by Musket
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To: Musket

I'm a long time WLS and Don & Roma fan. WLS is absolutely insane to take them off the air. Their replacements are pitiful. It was also insane for them to let Garry Meier go from his afternoon spot with Roe Conn.


11 posted on 09/28/2004 4:38:14 AM PDT by zook
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To: netmilsmom

WjR is another station that's gone down the tubes. Other than Rush, and other than The Appliance Doctor, they totally suck. Since handing over their evenings to pre-recorded shows, they've become a "former radio station" in my book.

And when is David Newman coming back?


12 posted on 09/28/2004 4:40:15 AM PDT by zook
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To: Musket

That is just soooo BIZZARE! How did they get away with it??


13 posted on 09/28/2004 4:43:15 AM PDT by netmilsmom (Does a clean house indicate that there is a broken computer in it?)
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To: zook

Actually, if 1310 WXDX would pick up Rush and dump Tony Trupiano, my radio would never leave it. I like Dave and Laurel in the morning (Dave is a flaming Lib but Laurel and Rick Bloom tell him off constantly). In fact, if they got Neil Boortz or Laura Ingram, I'd go to Rush 24/7 for his show.

Paul W can be pretty hard hitting when the need be.


14 posted on 09/28/2004 4:49:28 AM PDT by netmilsmom (Does a clean house indicate that there is a broken computer in it?)
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To: zook

I was never a big Garry Meier fan. I can't remember the numbers in ABC/Disney's offer to him, but it sounded pretty good to a peon like me, and FOR a former Pharmacist like Garry. Knowing how sensible Don Wade is, ABC/Disney must really be screwing him bad. I wonder if other Conservative stations across the country are getting screwed by Disney? Buy 'em up, put 'em out of business.


15 posted on 09/28/2004 4:49:45 AM PDT by Musket
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To: Musket
Roe Conn and Garry Meier was one of the best things on the radio.
WLS made a huge mistake not keeping Garry.
I hardly tune in to Roe's show anymore.
I've listened to Don and Roma for many years and was sorry to see them go.
On the other hand, Teri O'Brien and Art Wallis are pretty good.

WOWO 1190 in Ft. Wayne, Ind. has Rush on a 2 hour delay.
They also have Fox News.
16 posted on 09/28/2004 4:50:27 AM PDT by MaryFromMichigan (We childproofed our home, but they are still getting in)
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To: arasina
" One of two AM talk radio stations in Indianapolis has gone PC. They just hired an arrogant Black Muslim guy from Illinois ("Abdul") to do its morning program. It's the same station that airs Hannity, Savage, Beck, Boortz and Ingraham. The guy is intelligent but his way of responding to callers is to laugh and make fun of them after they are no longer on the air. I no longer turn on my radio in the morning; I listen to something from my CD collection instead."

Have you thought about satellite radio?. you get all the above hosts on either radio right, or fox news, plus you get the audio portion of fox news 24/7. I have an hour drive to work and let me tell you I was sick to death of the same old am/fm crapola after 10 years. Price wise its getting more and more reasonable(no, I am not being compensated for this, I just believe in the product) Just a thought,

CC

17 posted on 09/28/2004 4:52:33 AM PDT by Celtic Conservative (Kerry/Edwards: empty suit, loaded diaper)
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To: netmilsmom
How did they get away with it??

All I can say is - It's great to be King, and One Party Rule.

18 posted on 09/28/2004 4:52:35 AM PDT by Musket
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To: Celtic Conservative
Have you thought about satellite radio?

We need a local Conservative voice, at least one, in a town so over-the-top insane with liberalism.

19 posted on 09/28/2004 4:56:49 AM PDT by Musket
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To: Musket

>>All I can say is - It's great to be King, and One Party Rule.<<

Oh Man!


20 posted on 09/28/2004 4:57:24 AM PDT by netmilsmom (Does a clean house indicate that there is a broken computer in it?)
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To: Celtic Conservative

Yes, I've considered satellite radio. In fact, I want it badly. I have to wait until it gets more affordable though.


21 posted on 09/28/2004 4:57:44 AM PDT by arasina (So there.)
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To: Musket
I wonder if other Conservative stations across the country are getting screwed by Disney?
WABC-NY is still OK. Rush, Hannity, Mark Levin, Laura Ingram, Monica Crowley . . .

22 posted on 09/28/2004 4:58:17 AM PDT by conservatism_IS_compassion (The idea around which liberalism coheres is that NOTHING actually matters but PR.)
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To: Musket

I stopped listening to Don and Roma because of the lack of programming. WLS is shameless about the time in an hour they devote to commercials. At one point Don Wade promised there would be at least 23 minutes of programming per hour. Listening to the exact same commercial 6 times in an hour first thing in the morning is maddening.


23 posted on 09/28/2004 5:01:35 AM PDT by motife
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To: conservatism_IS_compassion
WABC-NY is still OK. Rush, Hannity, Mark Levin, Laura Ingram, Monica Crowley . . .

Well yeah, that's the Big Cahuna. I'll bet their plan is to do away with the expense of all these local hosts accross the country and just put the New York line-up on. Save a TON of bucks that way.

24 posted on 09/28/2004 5:03:05 AM PDT by Musket
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To: motife
Listening to the exact same commercial 6 times in an hour first thing in the morning is maddening.

Yeah, but what else is there in Chicago? There's nothing. Just liberal crap.

25 posted on 09/28/2004 5:12:01 AM PDT by Musket
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To: Celtic Conservative; arasina
Hannity, Savage, Beck, Boortz and Ingraham.
Have you thought about satellite radio?. you get all the above hosts on either radio right, or fox news, plus you get the audio portion of fox news 24/7.
I've wondered a little about what programming they offer. But haven't been eager to shell out the big bucks for it.

One thing I did do was spring for a $60 am antenna which sits next to the radio and cleans up the signal dramatically. Wouldn't help you in your car, but makes quite a difference on a marginal station when you're at home.

I like the idea that satellite radio can create more channels so that the FCC licensing isn't such a big issue in wireless audio programming.


26 posted on 09/28/2004 5:12:06 AM PDT by conservatism_IS_compassion (The idea around which liberalism coheres is that NOTHING actually matters but PR.)
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To: Musket

My co-worker and I listen to WLS via computer here in our little basement office in Indiana, Pa. Our local stations, in my opinion, stink, and we can't pick up anything else - including the "50,000 Watt Blowtorch" - KDKA - in Pittsburgh. WLS has been a godsend for us. Why don't they put the syndicated "Quinn and Rose" on in the morning (www.warroom.com). They'd kick some "liberal butt" there in Chicago!


27 posted on 09/28/2004 5:20:03 AM PDT by sneakers
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To: zook
WjR is another station that's gone down the tubes. Other than Rush, and other than The Appliance Doctor, they totally suck. Since handing over their evenings to pre-recorded shows, they've become a "former radio station" in my book.

Moving from Metro Detroit over to Jackson County had a big benefit -- I now get Sean Hannity after Rush on WKHM. I couldn't stand Mitch Albom!

The morning conservative talk show host left after a bit of local controversy about a month ago. I keep hoping they'll add the Tony Snow Show to their AM roster.

I listen to Hannity when I want to blow off steam. I listen to Rush when I feel the need for a good laugh. I listen to Tony when I want to think. All in all, great shows with outstanding programming.

28 posted on 09/28/2004 5:26:33 AM PDT by Kieri (Farscape Returns on Sunday, October 17th at 9PM ET!)
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To: zook
"It was also insane for them to let Garry Meier go from his afternoon spot with Roe Conn."

Actually I don't think they let him go. I read that he was offered a fantastic contract, lots of $$$$$!. But he held out for more and WLS would not pay. Too bad it was a great show.

As for "the astonishingly mean-spirited and intolerant Teri O'Brien ". She can be abrasive and sometimes rude, but I agree with most all of her political positions.
29 posted on 09/28/2004 5:26:46 AM PDT by jaydubya2 (Long time Listener, First time caller)
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To: Musket
FYI, the new Arbitron ( radio ) ratings come out some time this week.
30 posted on 09/28/2004 5:28:12 AM PDT by Hillarys Gate Cult ("I hate going to places like Austin and Dubuque to raise large sums of money. But I have to," Kerry)
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To: Hillarys Gate Cult
Not only that, but this Saturday Rush Limbaugh, Tony Snow and George Noory are all coming to town for an onstage performance. I wonder if they realize what's going on here?WLS Stars on Stage.
31 posted on 09/28/2004 6:12:10 AM PDT by Musket
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To: Musket
Behind the scenes, WLS is plagued with problems ranging from an angry unionizing effort among producers to the extreme right-wing political tilt of its programs with hardly even the pretense of balance anymore.

Why would a radio station have to have 'balance'. If folks don't like what's being said, they can listen to another station. It's not like Chicago doesn't have other stations available.

I have fond memories of WLS in the 60's. I grew up in MS, and when the local stations went off the air in the evenings, we would then be able to hear WLS, and WMPS out of Memphis; great top 40's music all night long!!

32 posted on 09/28/2004 6:16:57 AM PDT by SuziQ (Bush in 2004-Because we MUST!!!)
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To: SuziQ
Why would a radio station have to have 'balance'. If folks don't like what's being said, they can listen to another station. It's not like Chicago doesn't have other stations available.

You'd thinnk. But Liberal Fascism seeks to silence all opposition. I thought about going to the "Stars on Stage" thing on Saturday for about one second. I wouldn't want to be spotted there by a business associate or neighbor for fear of being branded and ostracised. I expect Chicago Union Thugs to show up and disrupt the festivities. We'll see...

33 posted on 09/28/2004 6:39:06 AM PDT by Musket
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To: jaydubya2; All
I like Terri O'Brien. She is much better and smarter than Roma, and I don't find her much more abrasive than Don could get. Stopped listening to them months ago, as some other freeper mentioned, the commercial time was much longer than D&R's air time.

I miss Garry alot, but sounds like it was mostly his fault he's not on the air. Roe spends too much time talking about drinking and ogling women now.

Per Feder's column today, Jack Diamond will be paired with Teri, starting tomorrow. Jack is from Disney owned WRQX from Washington-anyone heard of him and his leanings?

34 posted on 09/28/2004 7:15:10 AM PDT by uvular (Release your uncensored military, senatorial, and medical records, Mr. Kerry)
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To: arasina
Yes, I've considered satellite radio. In fact, I want it badly. I have to wait until it gets more affordable though.

With some of the newer receivers coming out, your startup cost would be Less than $100, after that, $10 a month, and they are constantly running specials on receivers also.

FWIW, CC

35 posted on 09/28/2004 7:16:00 AM PDT by Celtic Conservative (Kerry/Edwards: empty suit, loaded diaper)
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To: Musket
We need a local Conservative voice, at least one, in a town so over-the-top insane with liberalism.

Well that's a good point, but you won't see local content on satellite any time soon. This is due to our GOOD friends at the NAB who have fought satellite radio tooth and nail to protect their petty kingdoms. Local radio has become moribund and complacent

CC

36 posted on 09/28/2004 7:24:33 AM PDT by Celtic Conservative (Kerry/Edwards: empty suit, loaded diaper)
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To: uvular
"Per Feder's column today, Jack Diamond will be paired with Teri, starting tomorrow. Jack is from Disney owned WRQX from Washington-anyone heard of him and his leanings?"

Never heard of him. Art Wallis is a little bland, and He and Terri would bicker sometings (not unlike D&R). Teri did a good job by herself, but I guess WLS thinks she needs a partner. Roe Conn could use one also.
37 posted on 09/28/2004 7:28:40 AM PDT by jaydubya2 (Long time Listener, First time caller)
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To: conservatism_IS_compassion
One thing I did do was spring for a $60 am antenna which sits next to the radio and cleans up the signal dramatically...

For just $ 40 more you could've had a roady receiver and free home kit. Your only cost then would be the $10 dollar monthly subscription fee. It's not as expensive as it was a few years ago when it started up.

CC

38 posted on 09/28/2004 7:32:32 AM PDT by Celtic Conservative (Kerry/Edwards: empty suit, loaded diaper)
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To: uvular
Per Feder's column today, Jack Diamond will be paired with Teri, starting tomorrow. Jack is from Disney owned WRQX from Washington-anyone heard of him and his leanings?

I wish we knew the numbers the Wades and Disney are playing with so we could decide who's being reasonable and who's not. From what we can see it looks like Disney/ABC are just being pricks to 2 fine people who helped put WLS on the talk radio map and gave 20 years of their lives to the station.

39 posted on 09/28/2004 7:37:18 AM PDT by Musket
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To: Musket
Per Feder's column today, it sounded like this is the end for Don and Roma. Hard to say if D&R were attempting to play hardball in the light of what happened during the Meier debacle, not believing that WLS would dare lose them, or if you say, WLS perhaps just being jerks and trying to cut costs at the expense of losing listeners.

Hopefully D&R will be picked up by another station. I'm imagining Don, sitting in their Cambria-laden kitchen, while Roma endlessly reads from her little red book-haha!

40 posted on 09/28/2004 8:06:54 AM PDT by uvular (Release your uncensored military, senatorial, and medical records, Mr. Kerry)
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To: uvular

I sure hope you're wrong. One thing's for sure, King Richie and his Goon Squads and the Rat Boy Governor Blago are all very happy to see Don Wade go away.


41 posted on 09/28/2004 9:19:26 AM PDT by Musket
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To: sneakers; Musket

Here's another good station that has a great line-up, that you can listen to online.

It's www.ksky.com out of Dallas (and that won't be a hot link, so copy and paste).

It's got everybody but Rush on it, it seems.

I listen early to Laura Ingraham, and then you can always go over to Rush on wls after she's over.

Laura's just so much fun to listen to, and so sharp, I'm really happy that someone posted about ksky a few weeks ago around here. I had been trying to find a decent station that carried her.

One other good online radio source, out of LA, is http://www.krla870.com/programguide870.asp



42 posted on 09/30/2004 1:16:29 PM PDT by texasbluebell
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To: texasbluebell

Thanks texasbluebell! I'll check them both out!


43 posted on 09/30/2004 2:10:12 PM PDT by sneakers
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To: sneakers

Hope it helps!


44 posted on 09/30/2004 2:46:40 PM PDT by texasbluebell
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To: uvular

Has anyone checked out Mike North who's now on in the mornings on WSCR 670? Might be too much sports talk for most people though...


45 posted on 09/30/2004 2:54:04 PM PDT by NewsJunqui
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To: Musket
Is this thread dead or did I miss a new one?
Has anyone seen this from October 14th?

Excerpted from www.suntimes.com/output/feder/cst-fin-feder141.html

Talks with Don & Roma getting down to business

October 14, 2004

BY ROBERT FEDER SUN-TIMES COLUMNIST

Now that Disney/ABC Radio has appointed a new boss for news/talk WLS-AM (890), the fate of morning stars Don Wade and Roma finally may be resolved at last.

But in taking so long to get down to business, ABC unwittingly allowed a door to open for the Wades at another Chicago station.

Four months after Zemira Jones left as president and general manager for a top operations post at Radio One, ABC this week named John Gallagher, a 19-year ABC veteran, as his successor. Gallagher, who most recently was director of sales at WJR-AM in Detroit, also will head Radio Disney's WRDZ-AM (1300).

Gallagher inherits a station that has been without its morning-drive franchise since Sept. 14, when the Wades' last contract extension expired.

Long-stalled negotiations with WLS are getting under way in earnest just as a new suitor has entered the picture.

Salem Communications, which is about to acquire WIND-AM (560) in a swap with Univision Radio and transform the Spanish-language station into a general market news/talk outlet, is believed to be a serious alternative for the Wades.

Although Salem's official plan for WIND is to air Bill Bennett's syndicated morning show, luring the Wades from WLS would be a major coup.

Fueling the speculation is the fact that Salem's director of network programming is Tom Tradup, the former president and general manager of WLS who retained the Wades when the station turned to news/talk.

While most observers expect WLS to come to terms with the Wades eventually, the sudden emergence of another player provides a distinct advantage to the husband-and-wife team.

The soap opera surrounding Don & Roma's contract talks is just one of several dramas being played out on Chicago's morning radio stage.

 

46 posted on 10/18/2004 8:59:42 PM PDT by Outland (A vote for Kerry is a vote for his boss, George Soros, supervillain.)
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To: Outland
Thanks for the update. I've been meaning to get over to Feder's page but I keep forgetting. Personally I wouldn't mind if Don and Roma go to the new WIND AM 560. Frankly, I like Bill Bennett, but his show is kinda boring. Just DON'T step on Laura Ingraham's slot. She is my absolute favorite!(After Rush of course).

Nice to hear some good news about Don and Roma for a change.

Thanks!

47 posted on 10/18/2004 10:36:11 PM PDT by Musket
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To: Musket

I've been a fan of Don & Roma since before they were on WLS.. before the days of Rush, in fact. Actually, I'm a talk radio junkie although I'd never listen to WGN.

I think that bringing back WIND into the market could be a good thing as well as poetic justice if they are to host some conservative shows. I remember a long time ago when WIND was still in English and one of their main hosts was a very liberal character by the name of Dave Balm. WIND in those days was a liberal-light version of WGN.


48 posted on 10/19/2004 10:22:51 AM PDT by Outland (A vote for Kerry is a vote for his boss, George Soros, supervillain.)
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To: Outland

WGN became WDNC after Bob Collins died.


49 posted on 10/19/2004 10:27:56 AM PDT by Don Munn
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To: Outland
...poetic justice if they are to host some conservative shows.

If what Feder says holds true, it's gonna be the following Salem line-up-- Bill Bennett, Laura Ingraham, Dennis Prager, Michael Medved and Michael Savage.

50 posted on 10/19/2004 12:51:42 PM PDT by Musket
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