The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

21 June 2008

Laura Ingraham's Radio Return Still A Question Mark

MIXED SIGNALS

Ingraham's Return Still Iffy, Replacement In Works?







Several weeks into a network- imposed lockout, radio talk show host Laura Ingraham still doesn't have a firm return date for her program. Meanwhile, her syndicator is clearly busy trying to contain the damage.

Clearly worried about the potential loss of program affiliates, the Talk Radio Network has circulated an email to station managers that attempts to alleviate mounting concerns over her absence from the show.

In addition, the memo, which your Radio Equalizer has obtained, discusses the possibility of full- time syndication for weekend host Monica Crowley:


Greetings,

TRN recently launched The Monica Crowley Show on the weekends, and Monica is now heard in New York, Dallas, Miami, Boston, Washington DC, Portland, Tampa, Pittsburgh, Orlando, Memphis, Tucson, Tulsa and West Palm Beach, among other markets.

More recently, Monica has been filling in as guest host on The Laura Ingraham Show for the past two weeks.

We have, frankly, been overwhelmed by the response to Monica – on both the weekend show and for her handling of the fill-in duties for Laura Ingraham- from both listeners and Program Directors.

In fact, we have been getting unsolicited calls from many of our Program Directors asking us to syndicate Monica on a Monday through Friday basis, to such a degree that we have concluded we need to look at the possibility.

That is why we are contacting you. Laura will be resuming her fulltime duties on or before June 30th, and we are, of course, committed to Laura and to our station affiliates which carry the Show.

Given the degree to which Monica has resonated with both listeners and Program Directors in such a short period of time, we have decided to ask feedback from other stations on whether we should launch a new weekday show with Monica as the host, and, if so: (i) in what day part; and (ii) would your station have any interest in that show.

Indeed, nothing says success better than positive listener response, so we have attached just a representative sample of the hundreds of e–mail responses from those who have fallen in love with Monica in this short time. And, nothing validates the positive opinions of listeners and Program Directors like actual audio, so we also have attached a few clips from the Show to give you a feel for Monica on the air.

We are in the business of delivering stars to our customers – affiliate feedback indicates that we have found another. But we would like to know your thoughts on this. Please read the attached email trail that follows, listen to the attached clips, and please listen to her remaining days of filling in for Laura on the Show’s station in your market.

Steve Wall
Affiliate Consultant
Talk Radio Network / TRN FM


Reading between the
lines, a necessary skill in the broadcasting business, one wonders whether Ingraham is really set for a return at the end of the month. Could this be a way of stalling a bit longer while both sides hash out a new deal?

In addition, the memo's emphasis on pumping Crowley makes it clear she's TRN's current Plan B, should negotiations with Ingraham hit a snag. The hope here is that if Laura walks away permanently, station losses might be minimized.

Privately, many talk radio insiders fully expect Ingraham to return to TRN on the network's terms. That's because most feel she has nowhere else to go, leaving it as her only real option. How soon that might happen is anyone's guess, however.


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16 Comments:

  • As much as I like Laura, I am very pleased with Monica Crowley. I think she has been doing a terrific job. If Laura does not return, I would hope Monica would take her time slot (IF our local station would do that).

    As long as there is no Tammy Bruce as a fill-in or permanent host; can't stand that woman's voice.

    Sign me,

    North of 50 in Columbus, Ohio

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 21 June, 2008 08:06  

  • I wonder how Salem, which owns a lot of Laura's affiliates, is handling this nationwide?

    Our local Salem/Laura affiliate actually ran the company's own Mike Gallagher live in the slot for about a week. He normally lives in the midnight-3 dungeon.

    (Mike Gallagher - the textbook example of a national syndicator basically turning its host into an also-ran, refusing to run him regularly live on ITS OWN STATIONS!)

    They brought back the LI show this week, with Ms. Crowley subbing.

    Did Salem make similar switches at its other LI affiliates? Was some of the "positive" feedback for Monica C. coming from Salem affiliates?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 21 June, 2008 15:15  

  • Sounds like the network is trying to strengthen its hand to bargain a better contract with Laura.

    By Blogger pf1, at 22 June, 2008 01:55  

  • I certainly hope Laura is returning. Monica Crowley is God-awful. She sounds like a high-school kid reading talking points.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 22 June, 2008 21:20  

  • Monica Crowley seems like a nice person but she is no Laura Ingraham. She might be ok after some development but in the meantime I have had no interest in listening to Moinica.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 23 June, 2008 08:23  

  • I say this as a liberal:

    Ingraham is a fantastic talk radio host. I usually disagree w/ her positions -- often strongly -- but she understands the medium and displays intelligence. Crowley, on the other hand, is awful. Shrill, talking points-laden pablum. If Ingraham isn't coming back, affiliates had better find someone other than Crowley. She's unlistenable.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 23 June, 2008 09:53  

  • I'm usually at work when Laura Ingraham is on from 9 to Noon EST. I don't listen to her.

    From 9 to 10 I go to http://www.wpgb.com and listen to the rebroadcast hour of Quinn & Rose. Then from 10 to noon I switch to http://www.wabcradio.com and listen to Curtis Sliwa.

    If I happen to be in my car during those hours, I flip back and forth between Ingraham on WHK and Glen Beck on WHLO. But I'm not enthusiastic about either of them. If Mike Gallagher were available in that time slot he would be my choice.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 23 June, 2008 12:29  

  • Sorry but I refuse to continue to listen to your stations until Laura returns. No offense to Monica, but Laura has been much more entertaining and very intelligent to our coming election. She is by far, a great influential talk host with the facts to back her up. Until then, cya Salem.

    Frank
    Sarasota,FL.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 23 June, 2008 21:03  

  • I second the above sentiments: Laura is absolutely entertaining, Monica leaves me cold. Come back soon, Laura.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 24 June, 2008 00:20  

  • Tammy Bruce has a great voice and a great mind.

    I'm not impressed with Monica Crowley.

    Tammy is an original thinker and has a great sense of humor. She's very entertaining as well as informative. TRN should give her a better time slot and if Laura does leave, Tammy would be an excellent choice as a permanent replacement. I'd listen everyday.

    By Anonymous pat s, at 24 June, 2008 22:20  

  • You must be kidding; I'm waiting for a real personality with some truthful take on this world. When I heard they were taking Laura off, I thought maybe someone with realistic views and a lack of bias might be considered. Each one of these women is more biased and more mocking than the other. They deserve to be on a 50 watt station in Crawford talking to each other!!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 27 June, 2008 11:30  

  • Please, not Monica Crowley. She seems like a nice person, but her delivery is one of a 15 year old school girl.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 27 June, 2008 23:09  

  • Ingraham will be back on Monday.

    By Anonymous hashfanatic, at 28 June, 2008 01:14  

  • Well maybe she is back today (June 30) but we'll never know here in Cincinnati. 55KRC is bringing back that irritating Glenn Beck in Laura's time slot. I'm livid, I miss Laura.

    By Blogger Nasty, Brutish & Short, at 30 June, 2008 09:36  

  • Ingraham got dumped in Cincinnati.

    Its Beck now.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 30 June, 2008 20:40  

  • I am VERY disappointed with Laura today! She at least could have said, "There were reasons why I was off, but I am not legally allowed to comment on them, but thanks for keeping the faith", or some such. What did we get, NADA!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 30 June, 2008 21:02  

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