Skip to comments.SOURCES SAY SEAN HANNITY IS LEAVING ABC.
Posted on 09/15/2006 2:24:28 AM PDT by pookie18
With One High Profile Name Leading The Way, A Significant Post-Merger Exodus Looks Increasingly Likely At ABC Radio.
As you may know, the rumor mill has been in overdrive for months. And now, it appears there is substance behind the chatter. Radio's story of the year, what will happen when Citadel finally merges its operations with that of ABC Radio, seems at last to be taking shape.
And right out of the gate, we have an earthquake: news that Sean Hannity is extremely likely to leave ABC Radio Networks, as soon as it is contractually possible.
That means Hannity, one of the country's most important talk show hosts, would be free of the combined operation as soon as one year from its completion date. Or, by mutual agreement, it could happen even earlier.
Either way, it's a near certainty that the conservative talker and FOX News Channel television host will be moving his base of radio operations somewhere else.
In addition, there are strong indications that a number of additional hosts and managers may also depart Citadel's ABC operation, some by choice and others due to the company's change of direction. Since contractual dates and terms differ, however, exits could be spread out gradually, rather than as one sudden exodus.
One outside source sympathetic to the plight of ABC's staffers told me they have a right to be paranoid: "...there have been many unhappy faces around the ABC watercooler, fearing that Citadel will make the kind of changes that will thwart their efforts of making good radio. Most industry personnel would be nervous at the thought of a takeover, but the ABC staffers, most of whom have been there for many years, have valid concerns," according to the observer.
According to insiders with knowledge of the situation, the issue apparently isn't one of unhappiness by Hannity, the indications of dissatisfaction are instead coming from Citadel's side of the fence.
What are they and why is Hannity one of the first to potentially depart? One issue could be ratings: Sean's have been a mixed bag across the country this year, strong in some places, weak in others.
But the same could be said about Rush and almost every other syndicated political talker. Clearly, the market is saturated with far too many of them. Many firms have signed up talent seemingly without regard for audience demand and there simply arent enough stations for all of them.
With hot election year contests now underway, however, the fall book should show gains almost across the board. Already, we've seen some unusually heated primary battles in key races, which gave talkers an early dose of excitement to pick apart.
But there's simply no denying that talk radio, particularly on the syndicated side, is in a slump. Beyond the low-hanging fruit that emerges when big things happen, picking compelling topics the rest of the time is a challenge. Increasingly, creativity has gone out the window, making way for news event- driven talk. That approach makes generating consistent ratings growth difficult.
Another theory behind Hannitys departure is that it could simply represent a philosophy shift by ABC's incoming owners. Another source has told me that Citadel is likely to favor more local talk on ABC's stations than has been the case recently, particularly on stations as large as WABC in New York City.
An obvious way to increase local programming would be to add it during the afternoon drive timeslot, a place Sean occupies on the East Coast. That means that Hannity may not just be looking for a new syndicator, but also new affiliates in some or all of ABC's markets.
Also, the mixed track record of ABC's owned-and-operated news/talk stations can't be ignored. While some continue to dominate their local ratings, others have been troubled for years, seemingly without much attention paid by the company. Why did they allow KABC in Los Angeles to slowly deteriorate over time? As hard as it may be to remember now, at one time there was actually a horse race between KFI and KABC, but the latter lost the fight long ago.
Lastly, the elephant in the room is painted green. It could NOT be said that Citadel has a history of paying top-dollar for air talent, in fact the situation has been quite the opposite, compared to other firms. It's very possible that some of ABC's talkers (and managers) are simply making more than Citadel is willing to accept, particularly with a declining ratings and revenue picture.
We'll be keeping track of every merger development here at Inside Radio
They all have been lately. Just yesterday for example, that's all Boortz talked about for most of his show. Rush has been doing that too. Which is why I wish he would stop taking vacations so damn often, because, not everybody can get all these talk show hosts that we as FReepers and political and news junkies are aware of. Glenn Beck (I tune into him occasionally) has been beating the drum, and also beating into the skulls of his listeners the dangers we face if we happen to just turn over control of Congress and the White House to the Democrats, and the dangers we face in the Middle East by allowing Iran to continue down it's current path.
Contrast that with the purists on both the extremes, they're more concerned with bashing Bush. They have no plan, other than to "teach the GOP a lesson" by voting for Democrats.
Great, celebrate the #2 guy in radio leaving the airwaves... The hardest working conservative in the country, and your glad his show could be off the air. Smart, real smart.
Rush's IHOP story the other day was funny as hell. I told a friend about it yesterday and they got a really good laugh.
Rush informs, entertains, and is a national treasure.
I doubt you can honestly call Hannity a national treasure.
He may not be a national treasure, but he reaches out to audiences where Rush and others have challenges. His audience is about 12 million. That, coupled with FOX, shows how influential this guy is. It would be a solid loss for conservatives if he left the air-waves, IMHO
We may wish we could have our own private plane, but truthfully, I love the train, the people watching, even the delays. All part of Americana.
Fancy restaurants are nice for that big big celebration, but the local deli has it's advantages too.
Clearly Rush enjoys being up there......but I love being down here!
I love it down here too. On the plus side, there are no creepy relatives coming out of the woodworks asking for a loan. LOL
LOL! I've lost my love for Sean, too, but Laura?????. I agree she is much smarter than Sean, but she has a droning, whiny voice.
Ahhhhhh......You're just a "big lib," aren't you......you're a "big lib"......you're just a "big lib"........
At one time GST was a contender, however lately, they have less than a 2 share. WSB is at about an 8 or 9.
I've read somewhere that Kimmer's show has gone downhill since he lost a longtime producer.
Laura has reverted to being a valley girl. Wassupwitdat???????
Everyone knows we have no money left. Spent it all on the kids' college education.
I would love to hear Bill Bennett and Mike REagan.......we don't get either one. boo hoo. In a rural area, we're lucky to get three stations. WABC, 660 the Fan, and CBS.......
For those of us who have listened to him for years before he went national, he's a bore.
Right because I don't like hannity I am a big lib when you resort to name calling you have lost the arguement. But then what can you expect for some one so lacking in intelligence they find hannity entertaining and intellectual.
No talk stations on the local dial here. All hay balin' country music.