Skip to comments.WABC fires John Gambling, brings in Sliwa (WABC-AM - NYC & Metropolitan area)
Posted on 03/03/2008 9:59:39 AM PST by neverdem
City radio veteran John Gambling is out - and Curtis Sliwa is in.
Gambling was fired from WABC, a victim of hard times at the station's parent company, Citadel Broadcasting.
Sliwa will get Gambling's 10 a.m. slot starting Monday. Also out is WPLJ afternoon host Rocky Allen.
Further changes seemed imminent following a scorched-earth fourth quarter financial report from Citadel CEO Farid Suleman.
There was no official announcement from WABC or Citadel that Gambling and newsman George Weber were dismissed, but company sources confirmed it. They said Sliwa will take over Gambling's 10-11:45 a.m. slot.
That's a prominent position on the station because Mayor Bloomberg is a live guest on the show every Friday. It was not immediately clear if Sliwa will host the mayoral segment.
Asked for comment, Bloomberg spokesman John Gallagher said: "The mayor thinks John Gambling is a class act and enjoyed spending Friday mornings with him."
Gambling and Weber were just two of numerous employees Citadel fired in several cities Friday. Citadel bought WABC (770 AM), WPLJ (95.5 FM) and most of Disney's other radio stations last year.
"The fourth quarter and the year was difficult for the broadcasting industry and the company," Suleman said in his year-end conference call. "The performance of the larger-market radio stations acquired in the ABC merger was particularly disappointing."
Suleman said he remained confident about long-term prospects, but promised "a major restructuring of these stations to both improve short-term profitability as well as position them for future growth."
Suleman's remarks seemed to place WPLJ on the firing line.
He said rival station WWFS (102.7 FM, "Fresh"), which began playing some of the same music as WPLJ last year, had delivered a devastating blow to WPLJ's advertising revenues.
Cash flow was "down over 50% on a 70% decline in revenues," he said.
WPLJ has long had modest ratings, but made a lot of money because it is popular with the "soccer moms" whom advertisers love to reach.
WPLJ was "totally repositioned because there was a void in our music programming, and 'Fresh' came in and provided a real good format alternative for people to go, all day," Suleman said. "We allowed that to happen. We're not going to do that going forward."
Reports that Sliwa would get Gambling's WABC slot began to surface last fall after WABC hired Don Imus for the morning show, displacing Sliwa and Ron Kuby.
Sliwa was kept on the payroll, reinforcing his image as WABC's ultimate survivor.
Gambling's ratings were solid, but he was vulnerable because he was the only purely local host in WABC's daytime lineup. The rest are syndicated national hosts who are harder to remove.
I LOOOOOOOVVVEEEE Malzberg! He’s great!
Never heard him.Did you get him up there?
They should get rid of Imus and that old fart Bob Grant. I stopped listening to WABC Radio in December when Imus was brought in to replace Curtis & Kuby and Bob Grant was put in after Mark Levin. I can’t stand either Imus nor Grant.
Now I listen to Sirius Satellite Radio Patriot 144. Bill Bennett in the mornings. Probably the best morning political show on the air. I also get Rush Limbaugh’s podcasts so I hear El Rushbo when I am walking about on my commute to and from the office and the car.
John Gambling was thoughtful and very good for mornings. He will be missed.
I hope Citadel Broadcasting dies a slow death from ineptitude.
Wish WABC would put Laura in the 8-11 slot. I hated when they put her in 8-10 and cut an hour...but having the full three hours from 10-1am doesn’t help me much either.
I gathered that bit of culture from an old Frank Zappa doo-wop album from the early 70's. I always liked that song.
I know exactly what you mean having had the misfortune to hear him speak in person. Cannot understand how anyone thinks Bloomberg has any chance of being President.
I totally agree. Imus is done. He was fine on the FAN, but that should have been it. Of course, I haven’t seen his ratings since he came back, so I don’t really know how good or bad it is. However, as you pointed out, the money they paid is probably a bad idea.
No, but on my jaunts to WABC, he was the one on between Sliwa and Limbaugh.
I mean, in my jaunts to NYC...
I love Laura Ingram. She should be in the 8-11 PM time slot.
I only listen to the radio when I am in the car, so I rarely get to hear her on WABC Radio.
You remember Jean Shepherd?
As did I. It is the end of an era.
I’ll put on Malzberg some times. He’s good with a guest, but there are too many times that he comes across as angry and outraged. (I’m sure he is angry and outraged at those times, but it isn’t much to listen to — Hannity’s got that problem as well at times. They need volume control.)
I don’t know who annoyed me more, Gambling or Sliwa.
I still have the sound in my head of the unique voice of Henry Gladstone doing the news. Everybody listened to WOR in the morning those days and WABC the rest of the day.
I’m local NY, for me its the ‘net for Dr. Bill from 6 -8:30 AM EST, and Uncle Neal ‘till 12. And then at high noon...
never, never do I remember him defend Clinton (at least on anything substantively). I listened to him every day he was on.....
Curtis and Commie.
Thanks for the tip! I thought 101.5 had too many commercials, but what radio station doesn’t?
Yes, I’m glad he’s back on the air.