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Thread: Mike McConnell leaving 700 WLW...

  1. #121
    Titanic Struggles Caveat Emperor's Avatar
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    Re: Mike McConnell leaving 700 WLW...

    Quote Originally Posted by Sea Ray View Post
    If the main reason he got the job was because of "who he knows" then he doesn't deserve to keep it. Despite the exit of Michaels, WGN folks had 3 yrs to hear Mike and study his ratings. If after all that they still decide to can him then I'll have to believe that his flavor doesn't go over well in the Windy City. Furthermore, I don't think he'd be any more popular anywhere than in Cincinnati
    Most people get their job because of who they know -- that's especially true in broadcasting. And, in broadcasting, lots of people see the patience run out as soon as their "patron" gets bounced.

    I don't think there's much doubt that McConnell at least deserved the shot to move up to a bigger market. He was a huge pull here in Cincinnati (not exactly a small market) that drew major advertising revenue for WLW and had a very loyal listener base. It didn't translate to Chicago -- it happens.
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  3. #122
    Member Sea Ray's Avatar
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    Re: Mike McConnell leaving 700 WLW...

    Looks like the land of Obama doesn't like Mike:

    ...McConnell's in-your-face, politically conservative show was programming that was opposite of what the rest of the programming on the station offered. As it turned out, it was opposite of what listeners wanted to hear. Ratings hit deep lows during McConnell's show and advertisers avoided it. When word leaked out that Kevin Metheny was begging friends and Tribune employees to call in to the show, since it was not generating callers on its own, the public embarrassment hurt the show's chances of success even more.

    Later in 2010, Randy Michaels was forced out as CEO of Tribune Company. Within a matter of days and weeks, many of his radio cronies, including WGN-AM Program Director Kevin Metheny were fired, as well. With Metheny gone, McConnell attempted to change his show to be more like what the average WGN Radio listener wanted to hear. He stopped being rude and argumentative with callers and avoided purposely creating controversy. Even with his attempts at pleasing the audience, it wasn't until late 2012 that his ratings began to noticeably improve. He was finally beginning to grow on some listeners, even though the overall consensus on his work was negative on social media, websites, and message boards.

    McConnell's contract allows him to take numerous vacation days per year and has him doing a large amount of his daily shows not from WGN Radio's Chicago studios, but via an ISDN line set up in his Cincinnati area home.

    Starting out on the air as a rock DJ named Alan McConnell in Dayton, Ohio in the mid-70s, he switched to the on-air name Mike McConnell after a few years. In 1982, he moved to Cincinnati, where he he spent the rest of his radio career before coming to Chicago three years ago. The only exception was a few months he worked in Miami, FL radio before quickly returning to Cincinnati. At WLW-AM, he replaced another political shock jock host, Randy Michaels, who left working on the air to become management in the mid-80s. McConnell hosted middays on WLW-AM in Cincinnati for nearly 25 years and developed a large following there.

    For less than two years, McConnell had a nationally syndicated weekday talk show with Clear Channel, which was canceled due to lack of interest. He also had a syndicated weekend show, which was canceled when he left Clear Channel to join WGN-AM.

    Earlier this year, McConnell entered himself for consideration for Illinois Broadcasters Association's annual Silver Dome Award. Among the three entries the IBA received, McConnell's was judged to be the favorite and he was named as Best Radio Personality at the IBA2013 conference...
    http://chicagoradioandmedia.com/news...be-online-only

    Interesting that he still has a home here

  4. #123
    Beer is good!! George Anderson's Avatar
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    Re: Mike McConnell leaving 700 WLW...

    I am very familiar with this blog in that I posted on there frequently defending Mike but the reality is people on this site especially the site owner did not like the fact that Mike was from out of town and from all places an unwashed part of the country like Cincinnati (their views, not mine) and didn't hold left wing views which lets face it are popular in Chicago.

    Mike has responded via Facebook below but the owner of the blog refuses to respond or allow any more pro McConnell posts on his message board. He put up a hit piece that Mike responds to but now the owner total ignores it and refuses to respond. Quite the coward IMO.

    Below is Mikes response on FB the blog post from above.

    Take the time to read this link. This comes up on the show from time to time, and it has to do with the difference between a reporte...r and a blogger. I know many of you are aware of this but not all, so I don’t want to insult anyone’s intelligence. A reporter works for a publication, online or otherwise, with a reputation to uphold. Bloggers blog. I typically ignore things that are written about me but I think I’m in a position to use this as a ‘teaching moment’. (I hate that term almost as much as typing)

    I am doing a podcast online but not from 10am to 2pm. A podcast is done in sections then edited for downloading by 3pm. The plan is to do a live segment at 11am where I can take calls. This blogger states that you can listen by calling the station and asking to be put on hold. Not on this planet. And likely on none of the other planets either.

    I was indeed hired to come to WGN in 2010. I’m referred to as the ‘controversial’ McConnell. At this point, a reporter would cite an example of something controversial that I had once said or done. The same can be said for my supposed ‘in your face’ style. A reporter might give an example of my ‘conservative’ show as this would help me save face with the conservatives who think I’m far too liberal. I tend to lean much more Libertarian than anything else.

    As far as ratings ‘hit deep lows’ on McConnell’s show, a reporter might point out something that’s quite closer to reality and typical in the industry, and that is that I was brought in because the ratings were in deep lows. It’s really quite common. As to advertisers avoiding the show, no, we were running a full load other than typical seasonal dips. But if so, a reporter would make it a point to name one.

    After Kevin Metheny left, I also heard he had asked others to call the show. I have no idea why Kevin would have thought I was short on callers as he was never in the studio. But I would have called him out on it. Believe me, callers were never a problem -- everyone wanted a piece of me back then. We can skip past rude and argumentative (same as above, no examples).

    As to my numerous vacation days, a reporter might want to find out how many qualifies as ‘numerous’. I get 5 weeks of vacation which is pretty typical for someone who’s been in this line of work for 35 years. I’ve been told that a colleague of mine at WGN gets 6 weeks. And if that’s true, I say ‘more power to him’.

    I am able to do my show on occasion from Cincinnati. But how many is a ‘large amount’? That’s up to you. So far this year, in 30 weeks I’ve worked 6 weeks of that from Cincinnati, and some of that includes vacation days. It’s not difficult. I read the Trib and Suntimes online, watch tv news and listen to the radio along with the usual online prep. I’d much prefer spending all my time in Chicago but the explanation is simple. My girlfriend’s business is based in Cincinnati. She can’t be in Chicago all of the time, and we kind of like being together. So, that’s part of my deal.

    I did go by Alan McConnell at my college radio station. At my first job after college at WTUE in Dayton, THEY changed my name to Mike McConnell. There was already an Alan working there and they didn’t want two.

    My daily syndicated show was cancelled after 2 years. A reporter may have discovered it was cancelled by me due to my lack of interest. I appreciate all of the affiliates who carried it but not enough were carrying it live, which doesn’t lend itself to a good mix of callers. I set the date by which I wanted a certain percentage of ‘live clears’, as we call them. When we didn’t hit that number, I pulled the plug. I did also have a syndicated weekend show which the blogger says was cancelled when I left. This would come as a shock to Joe Pags whose hosting the show to this day. A reporter would have Googled that – I did.

    The blogger says I entered myself for consideration for the annual Silver Dome Award. Other than buying the occasional lottery ticket, I’ve never entered a contest in my adult life. My producer Kristin Decker has entered me for the last couple of years. And apparently this time they heard something they liked. As to how many total entries they received I have no idea. But I can find no good reason to take this bloggers word.

    I’m not suggesting that this blogger is any worse than many of the others. Unfortunately he is all too typical. I enjoy reading blogs myself. It’s interesting to see what information is lacking -- i.e. facts, quotes and attributions. Other than that, it’s just like reporting.


    Talk to you online.

    Mike
    Last edited by George Anderson; 08-20-2013 at 10:23 AM.
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  5. #124
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    Re: Mike McConnell leaving 700 WLW...

    Quote Originally Posted by George Anderson View Post
    I am very familiar with this blog in that I posted on there frequently defending Mike but the reality is people on this site especially the site owner did not like the fact that Mike was from out of town and from all places an unwashed part of the country like Cincinnati (their views, not mine) and didn't hold left wing views which lets face it are popular in Chicago.

    Mike has responded via Facebook below but the owner of the blog refuses to respond or allow any more pro McConnell posts on his message board. He put up a hit piece that Mike responds to but now the owner total ignores it and refuses to respond. Quite the coward IMO.

    Below is Mikes response on FB the blog post from above.
    Thanks for that update. It was quite obvious that the blog on Mike was painfully biased against him. Us Cincinnati folks know the guy. He can't fool us. The only thing Mike didn't address is why he was demoted. He says it wasn't due to ratings, callers or advertisers. Be that as it may, Mike's response certainly is enlightening

  6. #125
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    Re: Mike McConnell leaving 700 WLW...

    Perhaps he was demoted at his own request???? I don't know the ins/outs of the radio business like many, but it seems like rarely are people moved from on a regular on air talent job to something below the level of a regular on air talent job at the same station. If the podcast is going to work, I'd generally think that means he has a pretty good fan base that will follow him to that format. not having a daily platfrom limits your exposure.

    At any rate, I've never listened to WGN radio (well I guess rarely) I followed Mike over there for about a week, but quickly realized I didn't care enough about Chicago related news to stick with it. Which is a shame, b/c Mike has been my favorite radio personality I've ever listened to. I know a certain part of any radio gig involves a certain amount of Schtick to it, some of it perhaps even using "fake" callers like Ms C or Richard from Indian Hill, but I always felt like Mike was "giving it to me as he saw it" on issues, even if he was using Ms C or some variation there of to make his point. I know he leaned right, but he wasn't hardcore right like a Sean Hannity that often can't see the contradictions in his opinions. He also had a knack for breaking down a complicated situation and presenting a simple solution.

    anyhoo, I recall reading on here somewhere, perhaps even early in this thread that clear channel basically offered him a contract that pretty much begged him to take the the WGN gig. Interesting that he's kept the house here, also interesting that he was on 700 for a segment a few months ago. Perhaps there's room for both sides to come back together.

  7. #126
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    Re: Mike McConnell leaving 700 WLW...

    Quote Originally Posted by medford View Post
    Perhaps he was demoted at his own request???? I don't know the ins/outs of the radio business like many, but it seems like rarely are people moved from on a regular on air talent job to something below the level of a regular on air talent job at the same station. If the podcast is going to work, I'd generally think that means he has a pretty good fan base that will follow him to that format. not having a daily platfrom limits your exposure.

    At any rate, I've never listened to WGN radio (well I guess rarely) I followed Mike over there for about a week, but quickly realized I didn't care enough about Chicago related news to stick with it. Which is a shame, b/c Mike has been my favorite radio personality I've ever listened to. I know a certain part of any radio gig involves a certain amount of Schtick to it, some of it perhaps even using "fake" callers like Ms C or Richard from Indian Hill, but I always felt like Mike was "giving it to me as he saw it" on issues, even if he was using Ms C or some variation there of to make his point. I know he leaned right, but he wasn't hardcore right like a Sean Hannity that often can't see the contradictions in his opinions. He also had a knack for breaking down a complicated situation and presenting a simple solution.

    anyhoo, I recall reading on here somewhere, perhaps even early in this thread that clear channel basically offered him a contract that pretty much begged him to take the the WGN gig. Interesting that he's kept the house here, also interesting that he was on 700 for a segment a few months ago. Perhaps there's room for both sides to come back together.
    I'm getting the vibe from Mike's comments that he's not cool about his demotion to podcasting. Why would he prefer it to being on the air anyway? I agree with your other comments on him and I'd like nothing better than to hear him back on Cincinnati airwaves

  8. #127
    Member medford's Avatar
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    Re: Mike McConnell leaving 700 WLW...

    I don't listen to him, so I don't know what his vibe is. I'll assume you are correct, but what I don't understand, was if WGN wasn't happy w/ what they were getting for his "on-air" skills, why not just release him all together? I would assume theres some form of exit clause in his contract, perhaps he made it so air tight that they have to pay him his complete salary no matter if he's on the air or not.

  9. #128
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    Re: Mike McConnell leaving 700 WLW...

    Quote Originally Posted by medford View Post
    I don't listen to him, so I don't know what his vibe is. I'll assume you are correct, but what I don't understand, was if WGN wasn't happy w/ what they were getting for his "on-air" skills, why not just release him all together? I would assume theres some form of exit clause in his contract, perhaps he made it so air tight that they have to pay him his complete salary no matter if he's on the air or not.
    I'm sorry I wasn't more clear. The vibes I was referring to wasn't anything he said on air. I haven't listened to him for yrs. It was this:

    Hello friends,

    Were starting something new today. A PODCAST! Some of the show will be prerecorded and some live. The live portion will stream at 11:00am cdt (noon Cincinnati EDT) and your calls are welcome.

    The phone number is WGNs old number 312-591-7200. When you call you will go directly on hold and hear the stream. There is no call screener and for now Im experimenting with how to best put it together. The show will then stream in its entirerty at 3:00pm cdt (4pm EDT).

    I typed this whole damn thing myself believe it or not. Just part of my commitment to the listening public. Talk to you later. Mike Mc

    Chicagoradioandmedia says WGN-AM made the move after months and years of rumors and unfavorable comments from listeners. The WGN-2 stream is the same, rarely used stream that WGN Radio utilizes when it has a two live sporting events or programming conflicts happening simultaneously. It can be heard via the WGN website, via the updated WGN Radio mobile app, or by calling the station and asking to be put on hold. However, sometimes clicking on the WGN-2 stream will still bring up the main WGN-AM stream, making hearing the WGN-2 programming difficult.
    http://cincinnati.com/blogs/tv/2013/...-heard-online/

    Tell me what you think...

  10. #129
    Beer is good!! George Anderson's Avatar
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    Re: Mike McConnell leaving 700 WLW...

    Quote Originally Posted by medford View Post
    I don't listen to him, so I don't know what his vibe is. I'll assume you are correct, but what I don't understand, was if WGN wasn't happy w/ what they were getting for his "on-air" skills, why not just release him all together? I would assume theres some form of exit clause in his contract, perhaps he made it so air tight that they have to pay him his complete salary no matter if he's on the air or not.
    That is alot of the rub with the Chicago radio locals is that Randy Michaels gave McConnell a huge contract to lure him to Chicago. Rumor on the street is the buy out is very large so WGN is trying to get McConnell to quit by making him do a podcast instead of actually broadcasting on WGN. WGN is basically saying we will still pay you your huge salary because we have to but we are going to make you suffer, you Cincinnati hick.
    "Boys, I'm one of those umpires that misses 'em every once in a while so if it's close, you'd better hit it." Cal Hubbard

  11. #130
    Member Sea Ray's Avatar
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    Re: Mike McConnell leaving 700 WLW...

    Quote Originally Posted by George Anderson View Post
    That is alot of the rub with the Chicago radio locals is that Randy Michaels gave McConnell a huge contract to lure him to Chicago. Rumor on the street is the buy out is very large so WGN is trying to get McConnell to quit by making him do a podcast instead of actually broadcasting on WGN. WGN is basically saying we will still pay you your huge salary because we have to but we are going to make you suffer, you Cincinnati hick.
    I'm not in on the street "rub" like you seem to be but that's the way it's coming across to me as well. They're going to make it very stressful for him to go to work everyday. Problem is that WLW has cut expenses so much that I'm sure they can't come close to his WGN money. My guess is they'd love to have him back but at Walmart prices

  12. #131
    Titanic Struggles Caveat Emperor's Avatar
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    Re: Mike McConnell leaving 700 WLW...

    Quote Originally Posted by George Anderson View Post
    That is alot of the rub with the Chicago radio locals is that Randy Michaels gave McConnell a huge contract to lure him to Chicago. Rumor on the street is the buy out is very large so WGN is trying to get McConnell to quit by making him do a podcast instead of actually broadcasting on WGN. WGN is basically saying we will still pay you your huge salary because we have to but we are going to make you suffer, you Cincinnati hick.
    I'd guess this is very accurate.
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  13. #132
    Member Jerry Narron's Avatar
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    Re: Mike McConnell leaving 700 WLW...

    Anyone know the salaries of guys like Jim Scott, Sloan, Cunningham, Fingers and Jones? Are they significantly below McConnell's?

  14. #133
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    Re: Mike McConnell leaving 700 WLW...

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Narron View Post
    Anyone know the salaries of guys like Jim Scott, Sloan, Cunningham, Fingers and Jones? Are they significantly below McConnell's?
    Willie is in another stratosphere compared to just about everyone else in Cincinnati radio.

    He turned down Randy Micheals offer to work at WGN to stay in Cincinnati and sign a new contract with WLW. That should give you an idea of his compensation level, currently.
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  15. #134
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    Re: Mike McConnell leaving 700 WLW...

    FWIW..last few days on Cunningham's show he has been making remarks that make it sound like something may already be in the works about him coming back to WLW.

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  17. #135
    Rally Onion! Chip R's Avatar
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    Re: Mike McConnell leaving 700 WLW...

    The Rally Onion wants 150 fans before Opening Day.

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Rally-...24872650873160


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