The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

10 February 2010

Lynn Samuels Blasts WABC Management For Canning Coast-To-Coast


Tensions High As Rival Broadcasters Lob Grenades


Who knew a "dying" industry could still provide so much drama?

Over the past several weeks, several rival broadcast firms in the talk radio field have dispensed with professional courtesy and seemingly declared war on one another. And in a related story, one especially troubled outfit is recklessly lobbing grenades internally, as well.

The result: unusual public spats, abruptly yanked programming, sacked managers and hosts, as well as lingering bad feelings.

Tracking the twists and turns can be as confusing as keeping up with Lost's final season, but here's a rough attempt at a scorecard / timeline of the recent turmoil:

In December, it became clear that wildly incompetent Citadel Communications CEO Farid Suleman would remain in place despite his firm's impending bankruptcy. Creditors inexplicably chose to retain the failed manager, despite his ruinous reign over the company.

Clear Channel quietly continued to pull syndicated programming from its Premiere Radio Networks division (Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, Coast-to-Coast AM with George Noory and others) from stations it doesn't own. The plan: create new outlets in these markets, with some utilizing the "Rush Radio" format.

In Raleigh, it's already on the air, while another new talker in Boston is set to debut shortly. In anticipation of this move, Entercom's WRKO 680 AM in the latter city has lost all Premiere programming except for Limbaugh (but that could soon be pulled as well).

Emboldened by his incredible good fortune at the hands of Citadel's creditors, who will control the firm post-bankruptcy, Suleman embarked on an intense firing spree targeting managers, local talkers (WLS in Chicago especially hard-hit) and even syndicated fare (Coast-to-Coast AM yanked at WABC in New York City and elsewhere).

Through WABC Program Director Laurie Cantillo (shown right), Citadel took a shot at Noory's high-rated program, calling it "canned, conspiratorial, and just plain dull." That kind of public statement from a radio manager is highly unusual.

--- This week, Sirius talker and former WABC host Lynn Samuels lambasted Cantillo and Citadel for their behavior. Here's her on-air rant (WARNING -- EXTREME CONTENT):

From here, it's a certainty that Clear Channel will immediately need new homes for all of its Premiere programming, including Limbaugh, in order to escape the unstable environment at Citadel. It was widely hoped that the latter firm's bankruptcy would bring about Suleman's removal, but that clearly isn't going to occur.

That creates a major hassle for Clear Channel, as Citadel unfortunately owns most of the top talk stations in big cities, including WABC, WLS, KSFO, WBAP, WJR, WMAL, KABC and many others. But from a business standpoint, it has no choice but to proceed as quickly as contractually possible.

Stay tuned, as this battle has only just begun.

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  • Why would you yank a highly rated show? Let me see, doesn't Citadel also own Midnight Trucking Radio or whatever its called? Airing at the same time as Coast to Coast?

    By Blogger GeronL, at 10 February, 2010 22:34  

  • Brian,
    Sirius 146 "Liberal" Talker Lynn Samuels ... Aint she Great!
    Unbridled Radio. ROFLMFAO
    Thanks !

    By Anonymous Anonymous One, at 11 February, 2010 02:35  

  • Let Lynn Samuels say what she wants to as profanely as she wants to. She is on staellite radio,YOU HAVE TO PAY TO LISTEN TO HER, & if you don't like it, tune into something else. I've had XM since before Sirius was available, & I will listen to Opie & Anthony, which is also uncencored. I would be a hypocrite to be upset over Lynn Samuels calling someone a C**T.

    This is a free speech issue folks, even though you have to pay Sirius to hear this person's speech.

    By Anonymous danybhoy, at 11 February, 2010 09:21  

  • Is that kind of language supposed to attract the Talk radio demo?

    Just because you can..doesn't mean you have to be gross. Lyn is a great talent, but that does not sound even remotely classy. Sometimes talented people need artificial restraints to keep them from sounding like low class bag ladies.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11 February, 2010 14:05  

  • Coast to coast= best overnight radio show

    thye are clueless at Ciadel

    Lynn Samuels is hilarious, love her too

    By Anonymous Cittadelfails, at 11 February, 2010 14:30  

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