WGN Radio changes: Williams in, Meier out

John Williams returns to WGN-AM - and keeps his WCCO gig, too.

John Williams returns to WGN-AM – and keeps his WCCO gig, too.

Williams returns to 720; Meier sent to WGN.FM

With the season finale of Survivor Wednesday night, Tribune’s WGN-AM decided to play its own version of the popular CBS show earlier in the day with Radio Tribal Council.

And at the end, it was Garry Meier who was sent packing and sent to WGN’s version of Redemption Island – WGN.FM.

In a move that was first reported by Robert Feder – and surprised everyone in the industry, WGN Radio shook up its weekday schedule – bringing back John Williams, and moving Garry Meier to its WGN.FM Internet radio station. Replacing Meier in afternoon drive is duo Bill Leff and Wendy Snyder, who were paired together at WLUP-FM (1994-96) and WKQX-FM (1996-98). In addition, Steve Cochran gets an additional hour, which his morning show expanding to 10 a.m.

The decisions were made by WGN Radio President and General Manager Jimmy deCastro and Vice President of Content and Programming Todd Manley.

Beginning Tuesday May 27, WGN’s new weekday lineup will be:

5-10 a.m. Steve Cochran

10 a.m.- Noon John Williams

Noon-3 p.m. Bob Sirott/Marianne Murciano

3 p.m.-7 p.m. Bill Leff/Wendy Snyder

7 p.m.-11 p.m. Pete McMurray

11 p.m.-2 a.m. Patti Vasquez

2 a.m.-5 a.m. Nick Dilligio

Williams, who moved to WCCO-AM Minneapolis-St. Paul full-time in 2012, continues to be heard on the CBS-owned radio station and will continue to work in the Twin Cities. Williams previous stint at WGN lasted 15 years, covering morning and afternoon drive and middays.

Also receiving a slot at WGN is comedienne Patti Vasquez, who now takes over the 11 p.m.-2 a.m. slot permanently. She has been a time period fill-in for the last few months.

Garry Meier. (WGN)

Garry Meier. (WGN)

But the biggest move was the surprise demotion of Garry Meier, who has held the 3-7 p.m. time slot since April 2010. Meier will take over afternoons at WGN.FM on Tuesday, joining Jonathan Brandmeier, Kevin Matthews, and an assortment of brokered programming.

Last year, WGN demoted former host Mike McConnell to WGN’s Internet stream, later buying out his contract. Meier reportedly has a year and-a-half left on his current deal.

During April 2014, Meier finished with a 4.1 rating overall, good enough for seventh place in afternoon drive. Meier also did well in key adult 25-54 and women 25-54 demos (though the achievement is embellished too much by one site.) Either way you cut it, the move is puzzling.

Here’s some reaction to Meier’s move:

Regardless of what you think, WGN-AM’s newest schedule – without Meier is sure to generate discussion in local media circles (and on message boards) for weeks, even months to come. Obviously, in Radio Survivor, you need much more than an immunity idol to survive.

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3 responses to WGN Radio changes: Williams in, Meier out


  1. John Oslin

    WGN remains unlistenable to me, regardless of who they stick in their time slots. Radio in general is unlistenable. Furthermore, I am surprised that anybody under 30 listens to talk radio, since there isn’t anybody under 30 on the air.

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