Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Radio people suck

By Tony Mazur

In the past few months, CBS Radio has gone through some insane volatility. Many jobs and programs have been thrown to the wolves just to save a few bucks. On December 1st, 2008, CBS announced some changes, specifically in Minneapolis, Chicago, Boston, and Cleveland.

In Minneapolis, the air talent was asked to take a ten percent pay cut. In Chicago, there was an abrupt change in a popular morning show (forgive me for not being prepared with the name). Boston (WBCN) and Cleveland (WKRK) also had a morning show shake-up, with CBS/Sirius XM's Opie & Anthony being cut.

The change at WKRK (formerly known as "92.3 K-Rock") baffles me. CBS fired all of the air talent, and changed some of the music and the logo/moniker ("Radio 92.3").

I became aware of the change via a mass email. The email was entitled "Radio 92.3 HAS ARRIVED!", and it said:

"All of the great music you learned to love...we're not even going to try to explain it. LISTEN FOR YOURSELF!"

I took a listen, since I am an open-minded radio listener. The station has pre-recorded liners peppered into the "alternative" playlist, which ranges from The Police to The Killers. I almost puked. I heard a New Order song, followed by Stone Temple Pilots, followed by Fall Out Boy.

Oh, you're not going to explain it? Well, I'd start explaining now if I were in their shoes.

It's clear that this is a cost-cutting move. Now that they've fired the air talent and possibly board ops, and you cut your syndicated morning show, they must be setting themselves up for grand success! Uh, no. "Radio 92.3" won't be here very long. The people will get tired of it, and the "experts" over at CBS will eventually change the format, sell the station, or even sell the entire Cleveland cluster (which includes WDOK, WQAL, and WNCX).

Now I didn't hear this one, but apparently former CBS staffer and current morning show host at crosstown WMMS, Shane "Rover" French, has taken great pride in that the station went to hell. He claims that not long after he takes the job at 'MMS, "K-Rock" is going under. Again, I did not hear his exact words (or any words, since I have better things to do that listen to a man with a perennially-clogged nose), but Rover and his "Morning Glory" coworkers rejoiced that their competition ceased.

First of all, Shane, you're not the reason K-Rock went under. Of course your show brought in good ratings (which shows how truly embarrassed I am that I live in Cleveland), but haven't you seen the writing on the wall? You can't be that stupid. CBS/Viacom has been in constant turmoil for years. Howard Stern said that his departure is the reason for CBS going downhill. I don't agree with him, either, but he's much more powerful that you, Rover. You got tossed off of so many stations because your show appeals to the inbred fatsos with the I.Q. equivalent to a garden hose that reside in Cleveland.

On afternoons on WMMS, Benjamin Bornstein (a.k.a. "Maxwell") and his obese sidekick Dan Stansbury gloated at the fact that K-Rock" is no more, and they won't have those O&A Pests bullying them around anymore. Bornstein has brought up numerous times that Stansbury is "pound for pound funnier" than Jim Norton. Norton is a comedian. Stansbury is a producer who can't even do his job correctly.

For some reason, radio people, whether they are air talent, program directors, general managers, etc., think that the listeners are stupid. I'm not talking about some of the ear-deafening shows that I've mentioned previously, but they think the average listener is an utter buffoon when it comes to a format flip. Because WKRK will not be able to find their true identity, the station will suffer. But they don't get that. Or maybe they do, they just don't care.

I want to know when all of this hullabaloo (pardon my French) will stop. The common excuse is because of the poor shape of our economy. But the funny thing is, we wouldn't have a bad economy if these companies didn't panic. Okay, take a hit right now, but it will pay off in the long-run.

I would like to end this post by giving a shout out to all of the radio staffers who have lost their jobs recently, and another shout out to those who will receive the pink slip just before Christmas. Happy Holidays. Now get lost.

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