Skip to comments.Don & Roma aren't all that's missing from WLS (Chicago)
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."
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.
I was listening to Arthur Godfrey the other day.
Lefty code words for conservative. Heck, I've even been called that myself.
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.
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.
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.
>>bulldozers in the dark of night to carve X's into an airport runway<<
What is that about? Mulder and Scully time???
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.
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.
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?
That is just soooo BIZZARE! How did they get away with it??
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.
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.
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,
All I can say is - It's great to be King, and One Party Rule.
We need a local Conservative voice, at least one, in a town so over-the-top insane with liberalism.
>>All I can say is - It's great to be King, and One Party Rule.<<
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