Cumulus pulls plug
Sometimes, you can’t relieve your former glory.
Ask Arsenio Hall, who saw his late-night revival effort go down in flames after a year on the air. Now Jonathon Brandmeier, who rode to success as a morning personality for WLUP-FM in the 1980’s and 1990’s, is seeing his radio comeback once again cut short.
Cumulus Radio canceled his three-hour “radio showgram” after just two years. This is Brandmeier’s third failed comeback in many years: in late 2011, he became WGN-AM’s morning personality only to be regulated to WGN’s Internet feed and then to little-listened sports radio station WGWG-LP “The Game”. In 2005, Brandmeier returned to the morning shift at WLUP, but his second stint at the Loop wasn’t as successful as the first, and he exited four years later.
Brandmeier posted a press release on his website, making the announcement in the only way he knew how:
Bulletin…bulletin…we have a bulletin…Bulletin…bulletin…we have a bulletin…
I always say we’re not here for a long time – we’re here for a good time! And now you know why…
Our syndicated radio deal with Westwood One officially ends in early 2017. They decided not to renew and I completely agree with that decision. I truly believe this is the best move for all involved. It was only a matter of time, and there are no hard feelings.
When I was offered this shot at attempting to “change talk radio”, I couldn’t resist. However, I quickly realized talk radio is not ready to be “unhinged”.
Still, I don’t regret the risk. I met some good people at Westwood One, we picked up new listeners from across this great nation of Murica, and I realized what has always driven me in this business was missing: the spirit of JUST HAVIN’ FUN. It’s time for me to get back to that.
We plan to honor our agreement and continue on the air until it’s officially over – or until they literally pull the plug.
I have no idea what the future holds, but I’m as pumped as ever to create content for the people of earth.
Please do not tell my radio pals Buzz, Gino or Hectorrrrrr…. they will be scared.
I’m Jonathon Brandmeier and I approve this message.
Oh, Good Grief.
In Chicago, Cumulus’ WLS-AM only aired two hours of Brandmeier’s program from 9 to 11 a.m. due to a contractual commitment to carry Rush Limbaugh’s show at 11 a.m. Chicago listeners could only hear the show online. Other stations also opted to take the two-hour version, with many of them (such as KABC-AM in Los Angeles) airing Brandmeier on a delayed basis.
No word on who would fill the time slot on WLS once Brandmeier ends his show in early 2017. WLS acquired Brandmeier to make a push away from conservative talk into more of a general-market format.
Initially, Brandmeier’s program reportedly cleared around one hundred markets, but lacked several major-market clearances. Also, Brandmeier’s program was not a good fit for many stations who carried them, as like WLS, are AM stations with a conservative talk format. Brandmeier recently added some political content to his show (with an emphasis on Donald Trump), but you can tell he wasn’t comfortable taking about the subject.
Given all the failed comeback attempts, maybe it’s time for radio programmers to realize you can’t dip into the same well so many times. While rebooting television and movies are having some measure of success, rebooting radio personalities is another matter. From the inane message above, it proves Brandmeier’s humor hasn’t changed in 30 years, and it was about as funny as an episode of Son Of Zorn (of course, his humor didn’t translate well into TV either, given his 1991 late-night TV show flopped – though another attempt, Brandmeier for NBC’s WMAQ-TV in 2011 and 2012, was better.)
As yours truly noted before, there are a few past-their-prime radio personalities who don’t know when to get off the stage. The radio version of Wil Wheaton didn’t want to leave the stage. Someone had to force him off.
Make radio fun again? I would really like radio to make sense again.