The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

02 July 2006

Jerry Springer, Cincinnati, WCKY


Jerry's Hometown Talker Gets Demotion

Has Jerry Springer's visit to Hell kicked off a bit earlier than expected?

In an especially tough break for the television trashmeister, Jerry's hometown, flagship station is dumping his show, along with the entire "progressive" schedule, to make way for a more successful sports lineup.

As a result, Clear Channel will move Springer & Co. from 50,000 watt powerhouse WCKY to WSAI- 1360 AM, with its far more modest 5000 watt signal, according to Rick Bird of the Cincinnati Post.

Meanwhile, WSAI's more- successful sports format known as "Homer" will take over at WCKY.

Considering that Springer was once mayor of Cincinnati, this demotion has to be tough to accept, though Bird's story says that isn't the case.

Now it may really be time to run for the same office in Hell, Michigan!

Even WCKY's massive reach couldn't help the lib talk lineup generate ratings, according to Bird:

WCKY, the new Homer home, has a 50,000-watt signal that can be heard over much of the eastern seaboard and into the Deep South. It is the second most powerful radio signal out of Cincinnati behind WLW's 50,000-watt clear channel signal.

WSAI is classified as a regional 5,000-watt signal that adequately covers the tri-state, but not much more.

"Homer is a format and brand that over the last number of years has showed ratings success, showed revenue success," said Darryl Parks, operations managers for Clear Channel's Cincinnati AM stations. "On 1530, we felt we could increase the ratings and increase the revenue."

The decision to make the frequency flip perhaps reflects the ratings fortunes of the two stations in the past year. Since launching the progressive talk format in January of 2005, WCKY has not made much of a ratings splash, barely cracking the top 20 stations out of some 30 rated in the Cincinnati market. In the latest Arbitron survey covering the first quarter of 2006, the station had just a .09 share in total audience, the lowest since the format launched.

Meanwhile, Homer found its total audience double last fall to a 2.4 share and triple among 25-54-year olds, likely driven by the resurgence of the Bengals. With the Reds now seemingly on the rise, too, Clear Channel officials figured that the sports talk format showed the greater potential for growth and therefore deserved a more powerful signal.

The future of the liberal talk genre, still struggling in many markets, remains in doubt. Most of the programming comes from New York-based Air America, now in more than 80 markets since launching in April of 2004. Even in major markets, its affiliates are often on the lower-powered stations. WCKY was one of the bigger signals carrying Air America shows, such as Al Franken and Randy Rhodes.

Those involved here with selling Springer's show say the dial switch doesn't mean that much.

"It's no big deal to Jerry. He's still just excited to be on," said Pat Barry, the former DJ, TV weather personality and talk host who is in charge of marketing "Springer on the Radio."

The signal strength won't affect local sales efforts, he said. "Where can't you hear 1360? Remember when it was No. 1?" he said referring to the WSAI glory days in the '60s when it was a top-40 pioneer commanding shares that sometimes amounted to 40 percent of the local radio audience.

Parks said, for now, Cincinnati Clear Channel is still committed to the liberal talk format, although he thinks it could use some tinkering.

"I think in all of progressive talk - there is shrillness to it. I think there needs to be much more of a humanistic angle to it. Do I see it succeeding in the long run? Yeah."

Thanks to the tipsters who've been emailing the Radio Equalizer on this one all weekend, including Dusty Rhodes and others.

For Jerry, it's just one more sign that he really shouldn't quit his television day job. And as the summer continues, expect further developments on the Springer front.

Your Amazon orders that begin with clicks here, regardless of your final purchases, are vital to supporting this site's efforts. Thanks again!

Springer Sandwich: James Edstrom, NBC. Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Mayor Of Hell photoshop: David A Lunde for the Radio Equalizer


  • Standing by for Justin to tell us how this is actually a sign that libradio is vibrant and thriving.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 02 July, 2006 12:24  

  • For Homer's sake, I hope they take their present engineering staff with them when they go to 1530. Those idiots at 1530 played multiple simultaneous audio feeds so many times, sometimes for periods approaching 30 minutes, that listening to the station became ridiculous. It was so bad (engineering-wise) I really question whether they actually tried to make it succeed. Of course it also didn't help to have the entire overnight time slots filled with some preacher's rantings...every night.


    The only thing worse than Liberal Talk having no Liberal Talk Radio. Theres just no other place around to hear the other side of the 'story'.

    By Blogger ohio, at 02 July, 2006 22:56  

  • >>just no other place around to hear the other side of the 'story'.

    Time to bring back that Jay Leno joke about the liberal media? "According to the New York Times, a group of liberal venture capitalists are in the process of developing their own liberal radio network to counter conservative shows like Rush Limbaugh. They feel the liberal viewpoint is not being heard -- except on TV, in the movies, in music, by comedians, magazines and newspapers. Other than that, it�s not getting out!"

    Not the only AAR station to switch to sports. In Burlington VT/Plattsburgh, NY, WTWK 1070 flipped from AAR to ESPN, leaving AAR to the weaker AM 1390.

    By Blogger raccoonradio, at 02 July, 2006 23:12  

  • The only thing worse than Liberal Talk having no Liberal Talk Radio.

    What, NPR doesn't have an affiliate in Cincinnati?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 03 July, 2006 08:16  

  • Brian, keep up the good work. You've been ahead of the curve all along. Your investigative reporting is super. The mass media does not want to touch this sort of news with a ten-foot pole. And the usual rantings from the liberal lurkers on this site seem strangely AWOL.

    By Blogger The Benson Report, at 03 July, 2006 12:23  

  • V The K:

    Cincy does have an NPR station--WVXU 91.7. And if youy check their website, they have partnered up in news with WCPO-TV 9 (ABC). I checked NPR's website for the info and that led me to their site.

    By Blogger The Real Bob Anthony, at 03 July, 2006 14:30  

  • Isn't it about time that the lefty trolls told us about how well libradio is doing in Seattle, again.

    Oh yeah and call Brian Baloney again. Cuz that is so funny and so original, forgeting how similar that behavior is to what they did in sixth grade.

    By Blogger Seriouslyunserious, at 03 July, 2006 18:16  

  • Parks said, for now, Cincinnati Clear Channel is still committed to the liberal talk format, although he thinks it could use some tinkering.

    So THAT"S why Clear Channel is hosing down kfbk in Sacramento's 50K watt station?? To be fricken liberal??

    Ugh.....bruce hyman could put a dead man to sleep, his ' talk ' show sucks, and he's lucky to get his own STAFF to participate in conversation.

    Get a grip.........

    By Blogger LNaranjoiv, at 03 July, 2006 20:38  

  • I have to agree that Springer's show is extremely boring. But Springer realy enjoys doing talk-radio so I think there are contractual concerns between Clear Channel and thats why he remains on the air. They just aren't ready to buy out his contract yet. The problem is that his folksy manner is better suited to a local talk show, certainly not a national one. His pacing is just too slow.

    The only way a national show can really appeal intectually is by having guests with something intelligent to add; thats the only reason Franken's show is hanging on. He gets some pretty well-spoken guests who give the 'other side of the story.'

    By Blogger ohio, at 05 July, 2006 13:00  

  • The people at Clear Channel did a lame job of presenting this format. They kept airing the same old tired show promos over and overand over again (Lionel "don't just pull it out of your butt", Al Franken "I'm not a hippie, a yuppie maybe"). The religious shows at night are horrible. I'm listening to 1530am now at 12:15am 7/6/06. They have an awful church program with reverb blabbing on about which stations air their lame program. They also have a lot of problems with their automation. Dead air, two things at once, etc. They need someone who knows what they're doing to take care ofthe computer duties. I live in mid Michigan, and WCKY is the only station I can receive with Air America and Lionel. I know they don't care about me (not in their Arbitron area). Thanks Clear Channel, just what the country needs, another sports blather station (from Websters - blather; boring or unimportant talk). I just hope you destroy it with the same technical problems and overnight religious crap that killed the liberal talk format.

    By Blogger Mich Listener, at 06 July, 2006 00:29  

  • couple interesting posts to the Cincy board.

    "Arbitorn" says: "Ask your liberal friends if they've listened to it. Every time I ask, I get the same answer: no. They say they don't listen to the radio at all, only listen to NPR, or tried it and hated it. When I ask why they didn't like it, they said the hosts are too mad and while they agree with much of the opinion, they don't want to hear it ad-nauseum. When prompted, they realized they wished the hosts sounded like they were having more fun. "

    keys2 said: "Most libs I know don't listen either. As you said, they tend to not like the angry, hateful approach of most libtalk radio. They lean more toward NPR. And as I always say, there's no shortage of liberal bias and opinion out there in the mainstream
    . Left-wingers pretty much have their views validated just about everywhere else, from sitcoms and hollywood tripe to the network evening newscasts and everything in between."

    By Blogger raccoonradio, at 06 July, 2006 12:39  

  • Mich Listener is exactly right. The promos for the 1530 talkers are completely lame and are actually annoying to hear repeated over and over. Their board engineers were either clueless or non-existent.

    You would almost think that their budget was originally set up with the thinking that they didn't think it would last. (Maybe that is why they havn't made any new promos in months).

    It sure look like it is an assembledge that is fragile at best with no one wanting to risk anything because they think its going to fail.

    Hope not.

    By Blogger ohio, at 07 July, 2006 12:51  

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