Chicago media just keeps serving up the has-beens

On the old PI Feedback forums at the former Mediaweek.com, a poster named “Twins12” often referred to the hit reality TV series Dancing With The Stars as Dancing With The Has-Beens, noting the program’s inability to land A-list celebrities, but those whose best days were behind them.

In Chicago media, being a has-been can be beneficial – even if no one listens or watches you anymore.

It’s The Chicago Way.

Erich “Mancow” Mueller, who hasn’t had a widespread local clearance for his syndicated morning show since 2006 when the old WKQX canned him, figured if he couldn’t get on the local radio airwaves, he might as well get on the local television airwaves.

Beginning this fall, Fox-owned WPWR-TV plans to simulcast two hours of Mancow’s syndicated radio show from 6 to 8 a.m. every weekday morning, according to a report in the Chicago Tribune. The show would be broadcast live from the studio where Mancow does his show.

If the deal is finalized, Mancow would be the second Chicago-based radio show to have a simulcasted video component. Currently, three hours of Roe Conn and Richard Roeper’s WLS-AM’s afternoon show is simulcasted on WMAQ’s Non-Stop Channel from 3 to 6 p.m.  each weekday.

Fox executives would only say a deal would be finalized in a few weeks. The deal would bring local programming back to WPWR, which has been sorely lacking since Fox purchased the My Network TV affiliate from Newsweb Corp. ten years ago. But wow, are they this desperate?

Yeah, great idea signing a mostly forgotten idiot most Chicagoans love to hate, since his morning show airs on a 760-watt station (WJJG-AM) most listeners in the Chicago area can’t even get.

Meanwhile, it looks like Mike North and Dan Jiggetts could have a new home as well.

According to a report in Chicagoland Radio and Media, the duo is holding down the fort at WIQI-FM from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. shift for two days, both Thursday (July 5) and Friday. But don’t look for any sports talk from the two. Instead, both North and Jigetts are expected to talk about news issues since… well, they are a news station.

The duo have tackled news issues before on WBBM-TV’s Monsters and Money and the Morning, a show nobody watched. And now, they’ll do so again on a radio station nobody listens to (I suppose a weekly public affairs show on The CW isn’t too far off?) Both North and Jigetts are trying to recapture their magic from their WSCR-AM (Score) heyday from the 1990’s when indeed, they were the best radio pair in town.

This is another one of those tryouts WIQI have held in the last few weeks as the station is transitioning from all-news to news-talk. Other tryouts featured the all-too familiar likes of Kevin Matthews (wow, he’s still around?), Geoff Pinkus, Jim “Don’t Drop The Soap” Laski, and yes, Mancow, who is still in the running to have his own afternoon show (you know he’ll get it.)

Fortunately, WIQI has given some fresh voices some air time: Rob Hart and James Czahor have been given slots at the station, while adding Greg Jarrett in the mornings adds some cred. But in the cases of Mike North and Mancow Mueller, these are polarizing dumbasses who long have wore out their welcome in the Windy City. Why execs think these guys still can find an audience is baffling (there are exceptions though… Jonathan Brandmeier has proven at least a has-been can still draw an audience…)

But why stop there? In addition to Mancow and North, Chicago media execs can go after other has-beens – how about Omorosa from The Apprentice or Johnny Fairplay from Survivor?  Recent disposed sitcom “star” Rob Schneider can become the new morning personality at Q87.7. I mean, if Khloe Kardashian and the Blackhawks’ Dan Carcillo can somehow manage to get radio gigs…

And now comes word that WFLD is planning to renew the contract of 9 p.m. news anchor Robin Robinson for another year despite the newscast getting lower ratings than reruns of Garfield and Friends and infomercials featuring Victoria Principal. I didn’t know The CW management was also running WFLD’s news department (is local Fox management deliberately trying to piss off viewers by signing Mancow and re-signing Robinson?)

So being a has-been in Chicago media – even if you no longer attract an audience – has its benefits. And fortunately for them, too many execs in this business are idiots.

And in Chicago, most of those idiots work either at Fox, Tribune Co., the Chicago Sun-Times, or Merlin Media.

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