Garry Meier’s move to Internet radio won’t revolutionize it

Garry Meir heads to WGN.FM on Tuesday.

Garry Meier heads to WGN.FM on Tuesday.

If one thought positively about Garry Meier’s move from WGN-AM to WGN’s Internet feed, one could think he would do for Internet Radio what Howard Stern has done for satellite radio. It could be “revolutionary”.

Um, no.

WGN’s decision to move Meier from its AM terristial station to WGN.FM could rank as one of the biggest blunders in Chicago radio history, behind the ill-fated “FM News” from three years ago.

The move is akin to what the broadcast networks used to do when they canceled TV shows: dump them on the Internet. Keep in mind this is what WGN did to Mike McConnell last September when WGN management decided to banish him to an online stream until they bought out his contract.

And the same thing is happening to Meier, with him moving to WGN’s Internet feed until either his contract expires or is bought out. There is nothing “revolutionary” about it.

WGN can tout its Internet radio feed of talent with Jonathan Brandmeier and now Garry Meier all they want, but Internet radio doesn’t have the reach that terrestrial has. WGN President and General Manager Jimmy deCastro – who has to be the most overrated radio executive of all time – should know this. If not, he should head back to retirement.

Keep in mind it was deCastro who encouraged radio consolidation back in the 1990s when he sold his Evergreen Media (then owners of WLUP) to Chancellor, which in turn became AM/FM, before merging with Clear Channel Communications. In terms of ruining radio, he picked up where he left off when he joined WGN.

Make no mistake – yours truly loves Internet radio and is stronger than ever, thanks to iHeart Radio, Rdio.com, Pandora, and other streaming services. But the medium is still not a ready for primetime player due to its reach issues. And its future is still iffy due to continuous royalties battles with the U.S. Copyright Office (through SoundExchange) and now the demise of Net Neutrality, which could put the whole Internet in jeopardy.

Tribune Broadcasting of course, is looking to purchase two FM stations in towns once it spins off its newspaper division this fall – one for sports talker The Game (now on 87.7 FM, whose frequency signs off in September 2015) and another for WGN.FM.

I hope deCastro has a back up plan, because two big FM sticks aren’t coming on the market anytime soon.

deCastro doesn’t have a backup plan, does he? Of course not.

Meanwhile, you’re probably wondering how WGN responded to complaints about Meier being moved to its Internet feed?

Well, they did so – in the most asinine way possible.

The "memo" WGN put on its Facebook page (click the photo to read)

The “memo” WGN put on its Facebook page (click the photo to read)

Late Thursday afternoon, WGN put up some kind of FAQ on its Facebook page addressing the Garry Meier move. Some of you might have trouble understanding the memo, but since I’m quite fluent in snark, let me translate what this move really means for Garry Meier and his fans:

1. Why did you kill Garry Meier? Look, we didn’t kill him. We just shoved him onto a hard-to-listen to platform. You losers will have to rough it now. Ha Ha Ha.

2. Why did you kill Garry Meier’s show? Hey, we didn’t kill his show. Despite high ratings, we decided to shift his show to the Internet since we now consider him a lame duck property. We now have an excuse to dump him and his salary when October 2015 arrives. We also give you a guide to three of our wonderful “radio” properties, in which only one has an audience. For now.

3. How can I listen to the Garry Meier show? We told you the many ways, but had to look it up on Google because we don’t know offhand.

4. Why do you want to anger your listeners by changing your lineup? Because we at WGN Radio feel we can do what we very well please because our owners are a Big Media corporation and we at Big Media don’t care what the listeners think – only our advertisers, which consists of shady car dealers and businesses rated F by the Better Business Bureau. We don’t have to answer to anybody. That’s why we have deCastro on our side. So f*** you.

5. What if I don’t have a computer, tablet, or smartphone? Then, you are a worthless member of society. Move your poor ass to Mississippi.

Ironically, the copier machine cut off the last question of this FAQ, but yours truly somehow was able to obtain it:

6. Why are you wasting time writing this drivel? Because when it comes to addressing our actions to our audience, being a total dick is the best way to go, using memos we think is clever. It’s something Randy Michaels and Kevin Metheny taught us when they were here.

Well, no wonder. It’s like they never left.

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