WLS-AM drops Bob and Marianne for Chris Plante

Chris Plante

Dropping homegrown talent for syndicated fare; enables Rush Limbaugh to be live again in Chicago

As first reported by Robert Feder Wednesday, longtime Chicago media personalities Bob Sirott and Marianne Murciano were shown the door (again), this time at Cumulus Media’s WLS-AM as the station canceled their 10 to noon morning show after only one year.

WLS had high hopes for the duo when the hiring was announced in December 2016, after a short stint at WGN-AM. But ratings were poor and weren’t a good fit between Big John Howell and Ramblin’ Ray Stevens morning show and Rush Limbaugh’s syndicated show.

Replacing them is a syndicated show hosted by Chris Plante. A Chicago native, Plante covered the military and Pentagon beat for CNN. He joined WMAL-AM in Washington, D.C. with a conservative/libertarian leaning talk show, and in 2016 became syndicated through Cumulus’ syndication arm, Westwood One.

“I look forward to being the Washington embed, giving a first-hand description of what’s happening in Washington and what it can mean to my hometown of Chicago, where I grew up listening to WLS!”, Plante said in a press release announcing the move.

As a result of the change effective January 1, Rush Limbaugh, syndicated by rival iHeartMedia’s Premiere Radio Networks, returns to a live 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. broadcast, as Sirrott and Muricano’s hiring pushed into a time-delayed noon- 3 p.m. time slot. Steve Dahl’s show moves up an hour, from 2 to 6 p.m., and Big John/Ramblin’ Ray shifts from 5:30 a.m. to 9.

Operations manager and program director Peter Bolger said the changes were made because listeners preferred to hear Limbaugh live and not on a delayed basis.

The move marks the first change under new boss Marv Nyren, who was named Cumulus vice president and market manger last month. It appears the station is shifting back toward conservative talk after drifting toward a more general-format genre the last few years (similar in style to WGN), but results have been disappointing as Jonathan Brandmeier and now Sirott/Muricano have each struck out, with neither of them known for political talk. With the departure of the husband-and-wife team, Cumulus can take two salaries off the books as the Atlanta-based company recently filed for Chapter 11.

In addition to the above, WLS runs conservative talker Mark Levin in the evening when there isn’t a White Sox or Bulls game.

While the press release notes the station is happy to include Dahl in the lineup, he isn’t known as a big political talk personality. It would be interesting to see how Dahl meshes in with the rest of WLS-AM’s decidedly more right-leaning direction.



4 thoughts on “WLS-AM drops Bob and Marianne for Chris Plante

    • Bob and Marianne’s program aired from 10 AM to 12 Noon, not 9 to 11 AM as stated in this article.

    • WLS for some strange reason has been trying to abandon the time tested conservative talk radio format to become yet another sports station which already seem to dominate the AM dial. No matter what time I tune in the show seems to get interrupted for obscure colleges roundball or whatever. Whatever happened to conservative talk? 20 years ago as I’d drive the interstates across country I’d just hit scan on my AM radio, as I drove out of some towns range, and within a few minutes I’d come upon some other towns talk radio format no matter what the hour. Heck, even the Bruce Willis lookalike actor who played the security guard on Babylon 5 had his own show. Now I can probably find Limbaugh but that’s it. If I do find some talk it seems they run this boring Dave Ramsey guy in every town I drive through when Savage used to be on. How is this Ramsey on all these stations all the time talking about his curmudgeonly ways giving miserly advice? Doesn’t a show about debt belong with all the other niche shows on the Saturday morning time slot with “The Home and Garden Show” and “The Computer Commando?”

      As far as this Chris Plant show it’s absolutely horrible. This guy has the gall to base his show on the schtick you hear from the occasional intellectually dishonest conservative pundit that “the democrats are the real racists!” Bringing up completely irrelevant stuff from a century past over and over again. “The War of 1812 brought to you by the democratic party.” “The Civil War was started by the democratic party.” “Jim Crow brought to you by the democratic party.” Not true al all, Jim Crow was implemented by white southerners who abandoned the democratic party wholesale when it had a “format change” in the middle of the twentieth century. As if any black person would be influenced by this guy’s retarded logic? They could see right through it and know those same white southerners are all in the republican party now. That dismal classic rock genre has been station just changed formats too. His logic would berate christian rock fans who listen to a station “that played Ozzy Osbourne and AC/DC on August 22nd 1992.” Ignoring the complete format change and the fact it is the same station in name only from decades back. Terrible show.

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