T Dog’s Grab Bag: Don’t come back, y’all

Jacobson loses lawsuit; Rover gets busted; Birmingham format flip goes awry

As first reported by the Chicago Tribune Wednesday evening, a Cook County Judge threw out a lawsuit from WIND-AM morning co-host Amy Jacobson against CBS. She was fired from NBC-owned WMAQ-TV in 2007 after a cameraman from WBBM-TV caught Jacobson at a pool party at Craig Stebic’s Plainfield home. Stebic was a suspect in his wife Lisa’s disappearance; no charges were ever filed. The judge in the case said the plaintiffs did not show CBS 2 orchestrated a smear piece on her. He also pointed out the material in the CBS 2 piece were “constitutionally protected piece of opinion.” Jacobson legal team plan an appeal, based on her not being a public figure at the time.

Judging by the reaction in the comments section of the Tribune story, no one really cares about this story anymore – it was six years ago and its time to move on. If Amy Jacobson still thinks she’s going to win this case based on some “public figure” designation, she is totally delusional.

Roll over, Rover: Former Chicago radio personality Shane “Rover” French was arrested in his hometown of Cleveland for disorderly conduct in the early morning hours of July 5, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Rover, who hosts Rover’s Morning Glory at heritage rocker WMMS-FM, was accused of shooting off fireworks at an off-duty cop and subsequently shoving him. French and another man were intoxicated and both were placed in police custody.

Before returning to Cleveland, French hosted Rover’s Morning Glory on WCKG-FM in 2006 and was one of the biggest morning show flops in history, lasting just eight months. Shortly thereafter, Rover was also dropped in Detroit. Rover returned to Cleveland and headed to CBS’ WXRK-FM, but left after a contract dispute and landed at Clear Channel’s WMMS.

Just two weeks ago, two other Cleveland media personalities also ran afoul of the law: Sportstime Ohio talk show host Chuck Galeti and WJW-TV morning personality Kenny Crumpton were both busted for DUI.

Watch for Rover, Saleri, and Crumpton to appear in Cleveland’s answer for justice: The Puppet’s Court.

Could this be the worst format launch in history? Early Friday morning, a Birmingham, Ala. station flipped to a Variety Hits format reminiscent of Nine FM and Jack FM, branded as “Y’all 97.3”, complete with a southern accented woman providing voiceovers and the same songs playing in a two-hour loop (which continues as of this writing.) One block of music consisted of a Four Tops song seguing into Warrant and then The Backstreet Boys. Another block had Lynyrd Skynyrd segueing into an Outkast song. Yikes.

The station (known as WZNN) previously had a sports talk format from ESPN, but was dropped shortly after Cox Communications sold WZNN and several other radio stations to Summit Media. After dropping ESPN on June 28, WZNN stunted with Hawaiian music for a week, and played patriotic music on July 4.

Even though the Birmingham News stated this was the permanent format (they have GOT to be kidding), there is more confusion: there is no web or social media presence (aside from the listen live button on WZNN’s old wesbite and Tune In), suggesting this too is a stunt, given twenty other domain names with a variation of 97.3 were registered.  Operations manager Dave DuBose stated the new station has “no disc jockeys – just the music”… not exactly a message you want to send in a struggling media market such as Birmingham, with a somewhat-high unemployment rate in Birmingham proper and Jefferson County mired in bankruptcy for the last two years. In fact, the flip from all-sports at WZNN put several staffers out of work.

If you listened since Friday, and hear the same Metallica-Billy Ocean-Johnny Cash-DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince segue every two hours, then you know DuBose didn’t deliver on the format’s “quality”. This is reminiscent of what Merlin Media did two years ago before launching FM News on the 101.1 frequency in Chicago: they stunted with a slapped-together-at-the-last-minute Hot AC format, with a trainwreck of a playlist and technical glitches galore. Believe it or not, Merlin’s temporary format was actually presented more professionally than what WZNN hobbled together.

Frank Sintara seguing into 50 Cent, with a woman going “woooooo” in a southern accent? That is lame, Y’all.

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