WGN Radio makes numerous changes

wgn-am2009

Turi Ryder and Carol Roth both out after only six months

 

Two of WGN Radio’s newest hires are already gone after just six months.

Turi Ryder announced her departure from the Tribune-owned station earlier this week, while Carol Roth’s hour-long noon show was canceled Friday. These are the latest moves from management, led by new head honcho Jimmy De Castro, as he continues to clean up the mess left by previous regimes.

Neither Ryder or Roth seemed to fit in with the rest of WGN-AM’s format. Ryder had been criticized for her lack of skill when dealing with callers, while Roth’s show was supposed to talk about business news and other topical stories, but often drifted into political talk – especially from the right side of the spectrum. The show also suffered from being sandwiched between¬† Mike McConnell’s two shifts – rather unusual for radio.

With both women gone, WGN unveiled additional changes to its weekday lineup: Beginning Monday, McConnell’s show now airs from 10 a.m.- 2 p.m., while the 2-3 p.m. hour is being filled with guest hosts. WGN is also converting¬†WGN Sports Night to The David Kaplan Show, retaining the host of the former show in the process. Kaplan’ s show is also being expanded to five hours (7 p.m.-midnight), replacing Ryder’s old show in the process. The sports format is being retained, but would veer off from time to time on other topics (fun in nature.)

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82 responses to WGN Radio makes numerous changes


  1. GNsince97

    Some Hosts need partners (and not just sidekicks) to keep them at top form. Dave Kaplan is one of them. Brian Noonan did an excellent job of keeping Kap’s ego from inflating to the size of Kap’s sizeable sports knowledge. I don’t think I will be able to bear 5 hours of Kap opinionating, though I liked him a LOT on Sports Night with Noonan and his previous evening show with Tom Waddle.

  2. Jennifer J.

    PLEASE–no additional sports nor cooking shows for WGN. We’ve had enough.

  3. Kay D.

    The frat boys party from 6 to 10 a.m. can go, too. Will not listen until 10 a.m.

  4. Ken M.

    Another revamp, but this time for the better. I’m glad Turi is gone because I could not take her show too much longer. Nothing interesting and weak guests. Not a big Noonan fan either, but one day a week and fill in’s should be fine. I don’t think Kap’s 5 hours a night will last too long either. Kap’s great, but three hours is enough. Since management seems to be reading my mind, I would like to see Nick Digilio take Turi’s old spot or at least shorten Kap’s show on Friday to give him more time to do a show. A 2-hour show equates to about one actual hour of hearing the host. Most of his topics are interesting and I like entertainment stuff. As long as he does not spend too much time promoting his other projects. I still think it was wrong to get rid of Steve & Johnny. They solidified that overnight shift. Bill Leff is fine but he teeters on being like Turi’s show. He’s not much of an interviewer, but his topics are more fun. I don’t get a chance to hear Johnny B., but I used to listen to him back in the 80’s & 90’s. I can listen to Garry all day, but “again” because of all the news, traffic & commercials crammed I, the show is broken up into about four 7 minute segments. Back when he was part of Steve & Garry, it was awesome that they would just talk and talk before you heard any commercials or NEWS & TRAFFIC. Can you tell I hate that. One more thing. Give Garry the extra hour from 2-3. If Kap!!! can get five hours, certainly Garry will bring better numbers than rotating hosts in that slot. Why is that so hard to figure out. Okay, those are my thoughts. See what you can do.

  5. Gerry Hubbarth

    So glad you got rid ofCarol Roth wgn did not need a fox-like political hack with conspiracy therories

  6. Ken M.

    Me again. Just read that Steve Cochran may be coming back. Please, please, please don’t bring him back. You got rid of him for a reason. He is hard to listen to as he tries to be funny all the time but is NOT! Arggh.

    • T Dog

      If Steve Cochran is coming back, it might not be for a while. Looks like his previous employer pulled out the ol’ “no-compete clause”. I’ll have a post up about Cochran later tonight.

      • Linda M

        OMG please do not bring Cochran back! I waited 10 long years for WGN to wise up and dump that fool! Can’t believe he would come back after being promised the Am time slot then it went to John Williams! Drove me nuts he always thought he was SO very funny and he’s not. On my wish list..get rid of Mike McConnell PLEASE!!!

      • Anonymous

        I love Steve and would listen to him every day. Can’t do mornings anymore with WGN. Too much ADHD!

    • Linda M

      SO agree Ken!

    • Anonymous

      Agree. Never liked him, laughs at his own “jokes”. Keep him off!

    • Neil S

      To Ken re Steve C.—Sorry—-you are soooooo wrong!

  7. Sharon

    WGN’s worse mistake – letting John Williams get away although, I don’t think “get away” is accurate. I’m sure he saw the writing on the wall and figured he wouldn’t fit in – what a shame. I have listened to WGN forever so, I’m sure I’m no longer your target market but, I don’t think you know what your target market is. Everyone sounds the same and often talks about the same topics. 6 a.m. to 10 is an embarrassment – all Johnny B wants to do is adjust the microphones and laugh, what a waste. I would prefer Bill Leff in the a.m. spot – when he fills in I listen, when he doesn’t I turn it off. I would try to talk Spike out of retirement- and, revisit John Williams as well – they weren’t always perfect but, compared to the current format they were awesome.

    • Sara

      Couldn’t again more with Sharon…..listened to John
      Williams last week in Minnesota……miss him. Won’t listen to WGN after Bill Leff goes off until maybe noon. Four hours of Mike M. is too much and five hours of sports way too much too.

  8. Bee

    Nick deserves a constant show. He’s a real talent. Relevant and witty.
    Brandmeier must have fried all of his brain cells. I can’t listen to him. He has a subject am hour because he can’t get off one. He has zero programming plan day after day and spend all of his time rehashing a story, repeating a caller or done other subject because he admits “I don’t get it. Tell me again.” Amd every person he talks to “you’re crazy”, that’s the weirdest craziest thing I’ve ever heard.” or the constant, “I don’t understand.” he has nothing to say and nothing to offer. Should be a clue when your newsman is more humorous than your host.

  9. Steve H.

    Personally, I miss Milt, ALOT! I can catch sports talk all up and down the AM dial, but where can you find informative and topical high brow conversation like Milt provided for us for years? Can we please “clone” Milt for a new and younger version? As far as the morning show is concerned, take a listen to Joe and Tina on Star 105.5 in the morning, they’re the WGN I have grown to know and love over all the years, not all this silly blather that really serves no useful purpose for our morning wake ups.

  10. Ann Winckler

    So Happy to hear Steve Cochran this morning, will he be back as a regular? Miss his style also miss John Williams but still enjoy Garry Meyer , Orion and Tom Skilling.

    • Anonymous

      So happy to hear Steve Cochran. Love him. Please get rid of Johnny B. most of us who listen to WGN are not 12 years old. I can’t even listen to him for 30 seconds.

  11. Mike M

    The ideal line -up for WGN
    5-9 Bill Leff – as long as he keeps his liberal politics in check
    9-12 – Mike McConnell
    12-3 Steve Cochran
    3-7 – Garry Meier
    7- 10 Dave Kaplan
    10 -1 Brian Noonan
    1-5 – Nick Digullio – although he’s got to expand his horizons beyond movies and media

    • caroline Brown

      Mike M has the perfect line-up. JB must go I gave up on the 3rd week with the fool. The ridiculous sidekick and that innane laugh is the most offensive on the air. I actually love Steve Cochran, so switch him with Bill Leff. I too switch to wbbm until 1000. Branmeier is nuts, obnoxious,hard to understand always screaming and a waste of airtime. Never talks about anything worthwhile.

    • bobp

      what about kevin matthews

    • Anonymous

      I loved Steve Cochran and hope he does come back. Get rid of Jonathan Brandmeyer

    • Rose Zapel

      I agree; Bill Leff is perfect in the morning and Johnny B is too much; I do try to listen out of habit but have to turn radio off. Mike McConnell is not my fav; but I can put up with him. Love Cochran and happy he is back and like Garry too. I miss Sports Night; the dynamic between those guys were great. I like Dave Kaplan especially when he is talking about things besides sports but he is starting to believe his own press. I never listen late anyway. But at least these are positive changes; so maybe they can get rid of Johnny B or medicate him.

  12. Bill hayes

    Wow-what a nice surprise on Monday morning hearing Bill Leff instead of Brandmeier. I didn’t have to get up and switch to WBBM. Then hearing Steve Cochran this morning was terrific. I would love to hear Leff or Cochran in the 6:00 to 10:00 slot. Thanks for bring Andrea back in the morning.

  13. Lou

    What is wrong with WGN management? Do they not take listeners advice/comments. First they dump Kathy and Judy..Bad move. Then Steve and Johnny leave. Before making those changes their ratings were high. Now they are #4 in Chicago land area. Very sad when for years they were always #1. Now they want to put Kaplan on for 5 hours of sports. Good luck with that.. I want to see how long people will listen in….Not long I’m sure. As for Nick DiJulio, all he talks about are movies, plays or bars in the city. This gets real old, real fast. Why did you bother to bring Turi Ryder on, when you got rid of her after 6 months.. And the worst of all s Bradmeirer. He is so hyper, he’s annoying, loud, abrasive and just plain rude..He’s be good on a radio station geared to pre teens.
    Last but not least, WGN is now a dominated male radio station, which will not make the ladies out there happy. GET YOUR ACT TOGETHER WGN or you’ll be bottom on the totem pole…Sign me a listener for many many years, soon to switch to another station if things don’t go back to the old WGN.

    • Big Shoulders

      Right you are about Nick D. Movies, movies, movies … and Straight Outta Context, which is actually pretty funny. BUT much to my surprise I heard him interview Monica Eng and he did a great job. It was fascinating in the way that I’ve only heard the best do. I’d like to see him receive more behind-the-scenes direction that encourages him to do more long-form, in-depth pieces like the Eng interview.

      I enjoyed Kathy and Judy, Steve & Jonny, and I tip my hat to them that they’re safe, sounds, and drink. Garry and Bababibble crack me up when they’re being funny, and they deliver an intelligent show with a point of view, peppered with the Bibbleian absurdity and giggles. Garry is funny in such a droll way; what a refreshing change from JB.

  14. Jim

    Kaplan on his own will never work. He is too egocentric. It wont be long before his show becomes stale and he starts blasting his callers. I wont be listening.

    You would think that a station that hosts the Blackhawks and the Cubs would be top of the line talent in the sports field.

  15. Gene

    Kudos for launching Turi
    Nick D needs more air time
    Five hours of the KAP will not last but chicago needs a sports talk slot to compete with the boobs at the score . Kaplan Bragging about his fine dining travel kids for five hours ….. Wont last 6 months .Looks like Noonan got it in the moon ….

  16. jo ann alleman

    Please please find a time slot for Steve Cochran. I have dropped daytime WGN since JB came on.I now listen only to Bill Leff,Gary Meier and Lou of course. Today with SC was fantastic. He keeps you laughing no matter what the subject. He’s IS what WGN needs ..a blood transfusion of Cochran personality. Please please offer him a job!!!

  17. Maria Gatz

    Brandmier has got to go. It’s like kiddie hour in the morning. I refuse to listen until 10am and then would tune out again until Gary’s show. Glad to hear Steve today.

  18. I LOVED listening to Steve Cochran this morning! Please find a permanent spot for him!!!!

  19. Phishphan

    Steve Cochran- this guy is awful. He’s the only one laughing at his “jokes”.
    Johnnie B- He’s ok, but so repetitive and his sidekick is awful.
    Mike M.- I like him and Andrea is a good compliment. He’s not the best with callers.
    Garry- Best on WGN right now. Elton Jim can take a hike, don’t need to hear a schoolboy laugh at Garry’s jokes all day.

    Carol R.- I liked her show, but could see it getting political and would have rather she had a decent sidekick and not at the noon hour.

    Nick Degulio is awful, can’t believe that guy is still in the business.

    Kaplan- shoot me now!

    Noonan- He is not too bad, and can pull off a show with a decent partner.

    John Williams- He’s laughing at WGN and Chicago from Minneapolis. I don’t blame him. He did think he walked on water, however.

  20. Retgez60

    Who was Turi anyway? Digilio is a weak link and is only good for late night fill in. He is the only guy who constantly reminds us of “my show.” Meier sounds like an argument waiting to happen and his sidekick is a buffoon. The one I really don’t get is Brandmeier. He seems like in school he was the kid who always tried to be funny and kept getting stuffed in a locker.

  21. adele

    Oh what fun we had with Spike O’Dell, Judy and Kathy and John Williams. I never moved from WGN. Now the only one with that same likeability is Bill Leff. He could grow like Spike did.

    Mike O’Connell is OK, but he’s ALWAYS RIGHT.
    I liked Gregg Jarrett better.
    Steve Cochran thinks he is so clever. Always tries to top everyone else.
    What is with these fast talkers? Always interruptin, talking over others and arguing. so hyper. The only ones bringing some calmness and sanity back are Orion, Steve Bertrand and Dave Ennet.

    Nice try to bring back some women, but they’e no Kathy and Judy.

  22. Dee

    I agree with Bill Hayes. I’ve been a looooong-time WGN listener. But when that nonsense in 2008 began, I started exploring other stations. Some of the more recent changes have brought me back to WGN for some segments, but the 6 to 10 a.m. slot means it’s time for WBBM. At the start of the day I want to know what’s happening; I don’t want to listen to that rambling lunatic. This week is a pleasant change; I listened to WGN both mornings. Brought back fond memories. Please replace Johnny B. with either Leff or Cochran — or Rick Kogan.

  23. d. woods

    So happy to hear Steve Cochran back on the air!

  24. Sheridan35

    I was dismayed to hear on Bill Leff’s show this morning that newscaster
    extrodinaire Paula Cooper, is no longer with the station. Is there any explanation?
    Cutbacks? I will miss her & wish her the best.

    • T Dog

      Paula Cooper worked overnights and no replacement was named, so I believe it was a cutback.

      • DeeH

        what a wonderful person, Paula was, really thought she was a good fit with Bill. Never heard a peep from Paula, etc when Steve & Miss know it all hogged all the the air time.

        miss

  25. jay jay

    Glad to see Steve Cochran back, Turi GONE! Now maybe could talk John Williams to move back. And 5 Hours of Kap PLEASE! What are you thinking??????? He could not make

  26. Chris B.

    I can’t believe GN is bringing back the smarmy Cochran. I can’t listen to Brandmeier either. I really enjoy Garry and have a hard time switching the dial to the sports talk shows in the afternoon. I’m OK with Kap, but he needs a sidekick — don’t care for Mark Carman — he’s always right. Not sure where Brian Noonan fits in on the schedule, but he’s a talent and geniunely funny.

  27. Cindy Derdiger

    Glad to hear Steve Cochran again. Intelligent way to wake up in the morning. Tired of Johnny B and his loud nonsensical rants. Bring back quality radio!!

  28. Bobbie Ziegler

    Sooo happy steve cochran is back. Brandmeir nice but way to hyper and really another sports station all the time longtime gn listener

  29. G-Man

    I have listened to JB since the 80s, but have to agree his “bits” don’t work in the morning anymore. Maybe later in the evening.

    The ideal line-up:

    5:00 – 9:00 Steve Cochran
    9:00 – 12:00 Bill Leff
    12:00 – 3:00 Brian Noonan
    3:00 – 7:00 Garry Meier
    7:00 – 10:00 Dave Kaplan
    10:00 – 1:00 Johnny B
    1:00 – 5:00 Nick D

    • Kate

      I think this is a perfect line-up! I was a big Brandmeier fan back in the day, but I’ve “grown up” and had hoped that he had as well. Unfortunately, his show is pretty much the same as it was 20 years ago. Garry is the best on WGN right now….absolutely hate to miss it. I loved Kap and Noonan together, but cannot see listening to Kaplan for 5 hrs! Brian Noonan is great on his own and deserves a regular spot.

  30. Pat R

    So happy to hear Steve Cochran back on the air!
    Johnny B has to go !!

  31. maddux

    I agree, Johnny B has got to go

  32. Mike M.

    I cannot handle Johnathan Brandmeir. WGN is not the loop. Why not beg Spike to come back. Put Noonan on overnight and have Cochran after the morning drive. Have a noon show on Saturday with Max and Orion. You have forgotten about rural America they were loyal to you so you would have two shows Orion and Max are talented. FIX IT

  33. Edie

    Having Johnnie B on WGN is an embarrassment to the station! It was great to listen to Steve in his place. I can not help but wonder how the company decided to fill the morning spot with that type of person. All he is good forks giggling for no reason!

  34. Debbie Jo

    It would be great to have a good female host, but thank God you got rid of Turi and Carol Roth, they were awful!!!

  35. jeanie mcintyre

    I think wgn is the most boring station as if now. Sports and the men talking and talking and boring the intelligent types, is ad nauseum. Whoever mr. Castro is, fire him also. Some people prefer talk about anything other than kissing the stanley cup. What other cups do guys want to kiss. Thank God the brilliant Nick de Julio is still with wgn or I’d give up altogether. To hear men laugh and exalt about a ‘high fly’, again and again, oi! What’s the matter, r. Castro doesn’t like women? Just sports ‘balls’? It isn’t 1950, or is it. Boring.

  36. Karen

    I’ve got a question. With all the negative comments I’ve just read about Johnnie B, why is he still on the air? I tried to do what Bob Collins used to say when a new personality came on WGN. I tried to give Johnnie B a fair chance. Couldn’t make it past the first week. I turn my radio on at 5:55 (for news & Weather) and turn it off at 9:08 when JB starts. I am so thankful the powers that be kept Lou M Saturday 6 to 9 at least I can listen to him. I’m am however getting cramps in my fingers from keeping them crossed that WGN wises up and dumps JB. Even writing his name nauseates me.

  37. Robin

    I love Buzz and Johnny….I love them BECAUSE of the ADHD…they are funny and when Buzz starts his laugh it is hilarious! Wish I could wake up earlier just to listen to the whole show! Do NOT like Mike McC…..he is boring to me. Carol Roth was so monotone…also boring. Love Garry Meier…he stays on track, but when Elton Jim gets him going, watch out! They are hilarious! Love his segments with Tom Skilling too. Like Kap, but he really is very egotistic….Brian Noonan is good. Funny, but not always trying to be like Steve Cochran.

  38. Rhonda

    Haven’t listened to WGN since John Williams left.

  39. Dave

    Working overnight it is a real pleasure to listen to Bill Leff. He can handle a serious interview as well as lighter topics. I simply can’t stand Nick D when he fills in. When he is on, my radio is off WGN. Instead of using Bill L to fill in for JohnnieB (he should go anyway) leave Bill on latenights and use Nick. That way I don’t have to listen to him at night. Also agree too much Kaplan. Former combo was OK. Finally I wish Paula Cooper was still around. Bill,Paula, and Ted seemed to work well together,

  40. Neil S

    Ok all you program director wannabes—read all the comments and try to find a consensus of WGN on air “talent.” One person’s “diamond” is another person’s “dust.”

    Just a sub note to Nick D—using “Man” as in “thanks man” etc.—STOP!

    Good luck management!!

  41. Mojo

    I love Johnny B. in the mornings. Also, really miss Brian Noonan and Andrea in the evenings. Brian is extremely likable. Funny on his own and allows others to be funny too. My husband found it amusing that I listened regularly to a “sports” show, but it was so much more than that. Kaplan on his own is embarrassingly egotistic. When paired with Brian N., Kaplan was fine. I’ve changed stations for that time slot. I agree with an earlier comment, you’ve lost female listeners in the early evening time slot.
    Thanks.

  42. Silver

    Great move bringing Steve back. Meyer good not as good as Williams.Cap good move but only needs 2 hours. Mike ok . Dont know who the dude is 6 am . Im like others dont listen untill 10am.. I was avid listener for 10 years until boat started to sink. Glad to see a glimmer of hope with changes.

  43. K S Keane

    J.B. OK in smaller doses…6-9 am? McConnell could be more measured in his responses to listeners. I get the impression his mind is made up before he hears all of the listener’s comments . Liked hearing Steve Cochran was back for a fill-in. He needs more than an hour though. Enjoyed Brian Noonan. He’s funny, smart and engaging. He should have a daily show. Garry is smart, entertaining & shows flashes of depth of character, but some of his suggested solutions to city’s probs. are simplistic. He can be acerbic & sarcastic. WGN needs a balance between liberal & conservative viewpoints. Where is the woman’s viewpoint? Love Lou & Steve Dale. I, too, am a long-time listener. Steve & Johnnie were great.
    Milt was great. Like Nick D. Too.

  44. Gentianvio

    I agree with Mojo. Kaplan was best with Brian and Andrea there to keep him in check and keep things interesting with topics other than pure sports, and they provided much needed balance. No more listening to ‘GN after 7:00 PM for me, in addition to not listening during morning drive. It’s a shame.

  45. j. smith

    I can’t stand Johnny B so I switch to WBBM for most of the day. Garry Meier is great in the PM drive slot. Bill Left should replace Johnny B. All Nick D talks about is movies. Thank goodness my 8-track tape deck still works in my car!

  46. Pat E.

    Have listened to WGN since high school. Can not tolerate JB. What an insult to the ears. I miss intelligent morning radio. Love Garry Meier. Have switched to Channel 7 for morning information.

  47. Donna K.

    This week it took John B four days to kill time with his zombie guest, Bill, and there is still tomorrow. The repetition is insulting. John B is missing a brain and that is why I switch the station everyday.
    Steve Cochran is boring !!!!! I switch him off, too.

  48. Diane

    I like some of the changes it is finally starting to go back to a great talk radio station. Yes I agree with many that John Williams should not have gone. He was a great part to the station. I am also very glad to hear Steve is back he is a great interviewer. I wish he had a steady schedule. Now as to the ones I don’t feel should be on WGN are:
    Johnny – he is a terrible interviewer and teases and shames the people he talks to. That to me this is not WGN. As to Gary he is always a downer and cuts down alot of people he talks to. Everything has to be his way of no way. I know that is my opinion but I have to admit I use to listen all day long and now I seem to turn the radio off during the early morning and late afternoon hours. What a shame. WGN needs to go back to respecting the people who call in and who also listens and who they interview with. Respect !!!!

  49. Sandy

    Finally, someone in charge who seems to remember why WGN used to be a top station in town! I like many of the latest changes–especially getting rid of Johnny B. Between him and Mike M, I had given up listening to WGN until Garry’s time slot. Biggest disappointment now is having Dave Kaplan on for so many hours in the evening. Who needs that many hours of sports talk when it is already all over the air waves day and night?! One hour would be enough. Also, Brian Noonan was funny and kept Kaplan’s ego somewhat in check.

    So glad Kathy and Judy will be back, but why just a short Saturday slot? Would love to hear them every day. I do like Nick D–he’s professional and a good interviewer, so would like to have him change the format of his show. As it is, just a bit too sophomoric–shades of Johnny B. Like many others, I really miss John Williams–always my favorite–an unfortunate loss for WWN.

  50. pelotonchicago

    I miss Mike M. He discussed interesting (and sometimes) controversial topics. But he seemed open minded and fair, even if opinionated. Nothing wrong with that.

    And WGN needs to get rid of Sirott and Murciano. Nothing against them personally, but listening to them on air is like being a third wheel on a date.

    • Ann OBrien

      I love Mike Mc. I lean to the left and my husband leans to the riight, as far as politics go, and Mike has the ability to make us go aha on a lot of issues. I can’t wait until he is on again. Also I am so excited about Kathy and Judy, yaa.

  51. r little

    Little About Time.

  52. Jan

    I can’t keep up!!! Can you please try to get a decent lineup going for once and for all! WGN will never be the same since John Williams and Kathy and Judy left. Where is women’s input??? Get rid of Mike Mc. He is so high on himself, doesn’t EVER say someone else just might be right! Where oh where is WGN going? I don’t think they even know. When you get it figured oust I MIGHT listen again.

  53. Melissa

    Weekend overnight with Brian Noonan was amazing! I stayed up just to listen. They seemed to get sleepy, and Brian, Christopher Michaels and Cody were soooo funny. I love Brian Noonan. Listen to WGN. From Phoenix, listen to Nick and Brian.

  54. Marge

    Please bring one of the ladies back to Dave Kaplans show they brought some interest for women listeners, I have to switch to anotherstation it just is too much also Please bring bavk BRIAN NOONAN he is truly missed Thanks

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