Chicago Sun-Times
Lewis Lazare follows Chicago media and marketing news

WGN-AM ponders options for mid-afternoon slot

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So now that Jonathon Brandmeier has signed on the dotted line to stay at WLUP-FM (97.9) for at least one relatively brief year, the question now is: what does news/talk WGN-AM (720) do to fill its vacant mid-afternoon host slot? Garry Meier has been mentioned repeatedly as one possible candidate for the job.

But now that WGN management has waited so long to fill that slot in the hopes they might somehow find a way to accommodate Brandmeier, the station finds the annual baseball season fast approaching. That could make naming a permanent replacement less urgent, because the 1 to 4 p.m. slot will be filled with ballgames on many weekdays over the next six months. So it would be hard for any newly-installed talent to gain quick traction if his or her show were repeatedly pre-empted by baseball.

Though negotiations have not always gone smoothly,WGN executives have certainly been talking to Garry Meier and his agent (who is also his wife) about a deal for the mid-afternoon gig. But they could wind up turning to an alternative talent that won't demand the big bucks a number of big names in the radio world could command not that long ago.

Executives running radio stations today, however, know the business can no longer readily support million-dollar salaries. But sources say Meier apparently isn't yet convinced he can't get a big-bucks deal out of WGN's bankrupt parent Tribune Co. If they feel they need to put a host in the mid-afternoon slot sooner rather than later, WGN executives could pass on Meier and go with another, potentially lesser name who is competent and can be had at a price WGN can live with. Stay tuned, as they say.

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Lewis Lazare has written the Media Mix column for the Chicago Sun-Times for the past seven and a half years.

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This page contains a single entry by Lewis Lazare published on March 18, 2009 3:34 PM.

Randy King out at Weigel Broadcasting was the previous entry in this blog.

Rita Cosby does the fill-in thing on WGN-AM is the next entry in this blog.

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