Radio host going nationwide
BY JOHN KIESEWETTER | ENQUIRER STAFF WRITER
'The nation's station" lives up to its slogan again when WLW-AM's Mike McConnell begins national syndication Monday of his 9 a.m.-noon talk show.
The laid-back 20-year talk veteran debuts on "a handful of stations," he says. The Philadephia native and University of Dayton graduate played rock music at Hamilton's old WSKS-FM (96.5) before joining WLW-AM in 1984 as the commercial production director.
McConnell, 51, of Blue Ash, has built a national reputation in the past three years hosting "The Weekend" Saturday afternoons on 120 sister Clear Channel stations. WLW-AM talk shows also have aired on XM Satellite Radio Channel 173 since March.
Slight change: It shouldn't be dramatically different to WLW listeners. My show hasn't been more than 25 percent local (topics) for some time. I don't think my listeners will mind.
Breaking news: If something big happens here, we can run something different on the network. We will have several hours of interviews in the bank. You can interview someone and not take calls, so it doesn't sound that much different (from a live show). If there is a major story - like a riot again - then someone will have to work for me locally on WLW.
Starting small: We're launching with a handful of stations because not everybody is going to drop a show one day and pick up somebody new the next. A month or two from now, the number of stations could be significantly higher.
Politics: I'm a little right of center, and a little bit Libertarian - whatever makes sense - which usually leans to the right most of the time.
Raised on radio: I'm one of those kids who went to sleep with the radio on, flipping around the dial to see what distant stations I could get (from suburban Philadelphia) - WLW, WOWO in Fort Wayne, WABC in New York, WLS in Chicago.
Catch the wave: I resisted doing a network show at first, because it cuts down on the things you can talk about, local topics. But it became obvious as the wave of the future - and you either catch on, or you drown. I finally agreed to do "The Weekend" with an eye to do a weekday network show at some point.
Just do it: I compare this to getting a master's (degree), going back to school late in life. You just got to buckle down and do it. I don't plan to take any time off until the end of the year.
Big ambition: My goal is to win. I think it will take about two years to be No. 1 among the morning syndicated talk shows. The competition includes Glenn Beck (a Clear Channel talker dropped by WKRC-AM in January), Laura Ingraham and Dr. Laura Schlessinger. It's not like I'm going against Rush Limbaugh, which would be stiffer competition.