Hubbard-owned WDRV-FM – better known as classic rock-oriented The Drive, announced Thursday afternoon the release of Morning Show participant Dan McNeil after sixteen months.
The official press release on McNeil leaving the station can be found here. The announcement was made by Hubbard Radio Chicago VP/Market Manager John Gallagher and WDRV PD Rob Cressman.
The move came as McNeil reportedly got into a heated discussion last month with station management over several issues, including the departure of local Hubbard exec Greg Solk – the person responsible for hiring McNeil and his now-former morning show partner.
Since then, McNeil was suspended for ten days then returned – and was regulated to doing only three-minute sports updates during the morning drive with no interaction with anyone.
For the time being, Pete McMurray is hosting the show solo, though with contributions from producer Scott Miller and newsreader Kathy Voltmer.
Launched in March 2015, The Drive paired up McNeil and McMurray, unofficially known as “McMornings”, given both men last name started with “Mc”. Of course, yours truly connected it to McDonald’s, suppliers of cheap and subpar fast-food to the masses.
But listeners weren’t lovin’ it. According to information provided by Robert Feder, The Drive’s morning show finished a disappointing fifteenth overall and ninth among men 25-54, The Drive’s target audience. A recent report showed the program inching up to twelfth place overall, but it was too little, too late.
In Feder’s article on Thursday, McNeil said the decision to part ways was mutual, with management admitting he wasn’t the right fit for the station. McNeil is hoping for a return to sports talk radio in the future – but could be problematic given his history of bad behavior at WSCR and WMVP, though his recent suspension was at least off-air. It might be a while before we hear McNeil on the Chicago airwaves again, though he could always go the podcasting route, similar to what Garry Meier has done.
As for The Drive, management is signaling it is moving back toward a more music-intensive morning show. It’s what the station’s listeners want and is headed toward the right direction. But whether it will continue with McMurray at the helm remains to be seen.
And so, the “McMornings” experiment would up line the McD.L.T. And I know you all are grateful yours truly won’t have to make anymore fast-food jokes.