Even though iHeartMedia and other radio companies are either furloughing or laying off employees due to the loss of advertising revenue caused by COVID-19, one station did manage to announce a promotion: iHeart’s WGCI announced last Tuesday that Zach Boog is the new evening personality at urban contemporary WGCI-FM.
A stand-up comic who graduated from Tennessee State University, Boog joined WGCI as a part-timer in 2017 from Nashville urban contemporary station, WUBT-FM (The Beat.) Prior to his promotion, Boog was doing fill-in and weekend work at WGCI. He replaces DJ MoonDawg (Michael Muniz) who was laid off in January after six years as he became a victim of iHeartMedia’s restructuring process. More than one hundred personalities were laid off nationwide – including top-rated personality Chris Michaels at sister station V103 (WVAZ-FM), whose evening slot was replaced by a syndicated show hosted by Keith Sweat.
“I grew up listening to 107.5 WGCI. It is a dream and an absolute honor to take over nights at this legendary station. I couldn’t be more excited for what the future holds.” Boog said in a statement. Boog is a native of Gary, Ind., home to musical artists Deniece Williams and of course, the Jacksons.
On a separate note, iHeartMedia Chicago has launched “Healing Chicago Together”, an initiative to help nonprofits, businesses, and restaurants during the coronavirus crisis. All have been affected as stay-at-home orders have crippled the local economy.
The Brandmeier Broadcast System is back on the air: yes, legendary Chicago radio personality Jonathan Brandmeier, re-launched his website recently and tested the waters for a possible podcast last weekend with a three-hour live-streamed program Saturday morning, now available on-demand titled “Showcast Episode 1 – The SH*t Show” – which can used to describe… well, let’s just say a lot going on right on.
Here’s what the website described: “You weren’t dreaming…Jonathon Brandmeier WAS streaming. And now it’s a podcast. Here’s what happened, unfiltered and unedited, as we tested the all new Brandmeier Broadcast System.”
Is there going to be more podcasts on the way? Brandmeier told Robert Feder “More, more, and more is coming.” And this weekend, Brandmeier delivered with a second live-streamed show and podcast. Titled “Woo Woo”, it featured Cubs fan Ronnie “woo Woo” and an archived segment featuring the late George Carlin.
Brandmeier was best known for his stint at The Loop (WLUP-FM) from 1983 to 1996 and again from 2005 to 2009. The Radio Hall of Famer was also employed at WGN-AM and WLS-AM, where he left in 2016.
Ellen DeGeneres returned on April 6, stating she hopes her Warner Bros.-distributed show can serve as a distraction from what’s going on in the world. “I wanted to start doing my new show as soon as possible because it’s really for people who are stuck at home,” she said. “Especially my staff and crew. I love them. I miss them, and the best way I can support them is to keep the show on the air.”
Others who decided to return – albeit on a limited basis include Kelly Clarkson, who is shooting segments of her show from her ranch in Montana, and Rachael Ray, who is doing at least a few shows per week from her home in upstate New York. One of the oddest returns? Wendy Williams, who did her show April 6 from her New York City apartment amid a chirping smoke alarm and her two cats running around all over the place.
The rush to return has come as homes-using-television levels have surged in daytime and many shows – on the three major networks and in syndication are scoring numbers not seen in years. For one, Live With Kelly and Ryan topped all talk shows in syndication last week with a 2.6 rating, despite airing predominately in mornings at either 9 or 10 a.m. and is not subject to pre-emptions from press conferences later in the day. But so far, the constant interruptions hasn’t had much of an impact on the ratings for syndicated daytime fare as Judge Judy – whose show is ending in its current format next year- remained on top, despite President Trump pre-empting the show in Chicago and elsewhere.
Is there trouble ahead for Tamron Hall’s talk show? Two weeks ago, Bill Geddie departed his position as executive producer of the Disney-ABC syndicated talk show, and replaced by The View’s Candi Carter. According to the New York Post, Geddie – also a veteran of The View – did not see eye-to-eye with Hall on how the show is run. The tensions reportedly arose over Geddie wanting to pursue former Fox News Channel host and Inside Edition anchor Bill O’Reilly as a guest.
Also out is co-exec producer Talia-Parkinson-Jones.
Like all talk shows, Tamron Hall is on production hiatus but has been doing her show from her home (like others, as noted above) with several segments airing on the syndicated program. But on April 6, Chicago viewers had to tune in earlier to watch as CW 26 (WCIU) moved Hall’s show to 10 a.m. and restored Warner Bros.’ The People’s Court at 4 p.m., the show Hall replaced last September as it’s believed she was drawing lower ratings than Court did in the early fringe time period. Worse for her, Hall’s show is now on opposite The View, Wendy Williams, and Rachael Ray.
Hall’s show remains in prime-time at 8 p.m. on The U (WCIU 26.2/WMEU 48.1), but is not available to all Chicago viewers without an antenna.
Tamron Hall was renewed for a second season back in December despite so-so ratings (1.0 in the last Nielsen ratings report, ranking near the bottom of the syndicated talk show category.) There is no word if CW 26 was among those who renewed the show, and if it turns out Weigel declined to bring Hall back for a second season, Nexstar’s WGN-TV does have an 1 p.m. slot open, soon to be vacated by the now-canceled Mel Robbins Show.