The “contest” saw Mancow beat out three other competitors. Was the fix in?
Given this is Chicago, you knew the outcome before this was even thought of.
To no one’s surprise, Erich “Mancow” Mueller has won WLUP’s morning personality search (The Chicago Way, of course), beating out three other competitors jockeying for the job: former WKQX jock Abe Kanan; former WLUP personality Liz Wilde; and former American Top 40 host and Hollywood Squares announcer Shadoe Stevens, who agreed to try out after someone else dropped out.
The announcement was made on WLUP’s (The Loop’s) website at 1:30 p.m. Monday afternoon. Taken straight out of a Chicago politics playbook, WLUP (with an assist from the station’s legal department) cleverly added a disclaimer on the bottom of its Morning Show Search page, stating “The Loop Morning Show is not a contest and is for research purposes only”. It appeared Liz Wilde had the edge, but WLUP clearly preferred Mancow, who received the most votes of all four nominees. But the Morning Search site did not say how many negative votes each person received.
Also not known if any dead people voted.
In an already written-out stunt to air Tuesday, Loop midday personality Lyndsey Marie would offer Mancow the job; he would take “several days” to “think about it” (if he “turns it down”, WLUP plans to “offer” the gig to Hulk Hogan.)
Yes, there’s nothing like “failing up” in this business – especially in Chicago radio.
Mancow has been a lightning rod of controversy since he arrived at the former WRCX (now WKSC 103.5) twenty years ago. He became the morning personality at WXQX-FM from 1998 to 2006, where he got into trouble with the FCC and wound up suing then-owner Emmis after he was fired in 2006 (they would later settle out of court.)
In recent years, an ill-conceived pairing with Pat Cassidy on WLS-AM lasted less than two years, followed by his most recent effort- a local TV simulcast of his syndicated radio show, which was canceled five months ago due to non-existent ratings. Mancow has also mouthed off on issues such as hip-hop music and Chicago’s standard of living – quite unfavorably.
Insiders expect Mancow’s show to be light on politics, but heavy on entertainment fare – similar to the first few years of his WKQX show. During his week of tryouts, he invited many of his old cohorts on the air with him. Mancow’s new show is not likely to be syndicated, at least not at this time. His previous syndicated radio program ended when the TV show did.
While Mancow’s fans (the few of them left) are elated to have him back, there was some considerable backlash on social media when the news broke.
Mancow’s hiring continues a trend among local radio stations of playing it safe and hiring more well-known older personalities, one which is receiving considerable criticism. WLS recently added Steve Dahl and Jonathon Brandmeier to its roster, while WDRV (The Drive) hired former WGN Radio personality Pete McMurray and Score and WMVP castoff Dan McNeil for morning drive. WGN meanwhile, nabbed Roe Conn for afternoon drive.
As yours truly recently noted, Chicago radio has nothing become a retirement home for broken-down radio personalities who refuse to leave the spotlight. With radio revenues down ten percent last year and no up and coming stars to attract young listeners away from satellite and Internet radio and their iPods/MP3 players, Chicago radio will likely continue to struggle to survive.
Chicago radio needs a roster that reflects the 21st Century, not an edition of Dancing With The Stars.