On Monday, we complained about the latest moves made by the inept management at WGN Radio.
And this is one of them: after 39 years, Milt Rosenberg and his late-night Extension 720 show are out at WGN Radio.
The 87 year-old Rosenberg was the staple of the Tribune-owned talker as he discussed numerous subjects and welcomed distinguished guests (among those who he interviewed includes David Brinkley, Jimmy Carter, Colin Powell, Margaret Thatcher and many more, according to WGN Radio’s website.) His show comes to an end on Thursday with a retrospective reflecting on four decades and show highlights.
The move comes despite Rosenberg’s show topping the ratings and was one of the most downloaded podcasts in Chicago, outside of WBEZ’s This American Life.
Rosenberg’s departure from WGN Radio is part of a bigger shakeup at the station, which also see the exit of John Williams, who is moving to a full-time hosting gig at CBS-owned WCCO-AM in Minneapolis. Previously, he split shifts between WCCO and WGN Radio. Williams announced his WGN Radio departure two months ago.
Beginning in January, WGN Radio’s new weekday schedule consists of Jonathan Brandmeier from 6-10 a.m.; Mike McConnell from 10 a.m.- 3 p.m. McConnell gets an hour paid lunch at noon, with newcomer Carol Roth taking over at 1; Garry Meier from 3 to 7 p.m.; WGN Sports Night from 7 to 10 p.m.; former WLS-AM host Turi Ryder from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m.; and Bill Leff taking the overnight shift from 1 to 6.
Rosenberg’s exit wasn’t met with glee on comment sections and local radio message boards, with many suggesting he was forced out.
While its understandable WGN Radio is looking to get the most bang for its buck, you wonder why the station sticking with low-rated (at least in the 25-54 demo) Brandmeier and McConnell (did WGN get advice from Fox, who keep Mindy Kaling and the cast of Ben & Kate employed for some reason?) And worse, McConnell now gets an hour off at noon everyday? Since when he became a member of the lunchpail crowd? That’s for people who work in cubicles, not for radio talk show hosts (even yours truly doesn’t get an hour lunch at his job.)
And pushing out an institution like Rosenberg? A complete dick move.
On the plus side, adding two women to the lineup (Roth and Ryder) is a plus – especially Ryder, who is a seasoned veteran. Unfortunately, this is about as diverse this is going to get.
All of this will certainly fuel discussions about WGN Radio on local message boards, where such talk is already in annoying overdrive: every move station management makes is watched and posted by people who basically have nothing else better to do.
And of course, if this new schedule doesn’t work out, look for WGN radio to fill its vacant General manager position with soon-to-be-former Bears coach Lovie Smith- or hell, even New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan with Tim Tebow as your new program director. After all, Tribune management is much like both football teams – inept and stupid.
Get ready WGN Radio listeners: it’s Tebow Time.