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WLS-AM gambles on re-signing Roe Conn and reaches out to Cisco Cotto

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PX00160_7.JPGNews/talk WLS-AM (890) General Manager Mike Fowler confirmed Friday that he has tentatively worked out a new two-year contract with WLS afternoon drive host Roe Conn, whose Arbitron ratings have slumped badly in recent months. A source close to developments said Conn, who had been one of the last couple of so-called "million-dollar mouths" still working in Chicago radio, would be making around $250,000 a year under terms of his new contract. Fowler said that figure wasn't "even close," but declined to say what he has offered Conn.

Fowler also said he has an offer out to news/talk WIND-AM (560) morning co-host Cisco Cotto to come on board as Conn's co-host. "Cisco is a conservative, and we're a conservative radio station," said Fowler. Cotto previously worked as a news reader at WLS-AM. Before Cotto can join Conn, however, Fowler must wait to see if WIND will match WLS's offer. Fowler said he currently has no plans to change the rest of the talent line-up around Conn, including Amy Jacobson, who does traffic and weather and some reporting, and news anchor Jim Johnson.

The decision to renew Conn's contract represents a big gamble for WLS and Fowler. In the most recent November, 2009, Arbitron book, Conn's afternoon drive show ranked a lowly 26th among adults 25 to 54, a miserable showing for a talent that Fowler insists is a major star in Chicago radio. But Fowler believes Conn is about to rebound. "We've seen some upward movement in the ratings in recent weeks," said Fowler, adding "I think that Roe is starting to have fun again on the show."

13 Comments

The more conservative the show is the better. I hear enough liberal blather everywhere else.. Give me FREEDOM LOVING CONSERVATISM!!!!

Thanks Roe, Love your show.

Good luck Cisco... Knock 'em Dead...

So sad when I heard Cisco was no longer on 560 this a.m. I've been googling to find out what happened since I missed the rest of the show when it was to be explained. Am really looking forward to this match. I like Roe but he was getting a little too liberal for my tastes, so I started keeping the dial on 560. Now I'll check him out again.

I quit listening when they got rid of Christina and Bill Leff. They were so funny it made my ride home and making dinner almost a joy. Amy jacobsen is so annoying I turn off the radio whenever she comes on. She added nothing to the program and the slump in ratings could have something to do with she is not a likable personality. I like Cisco and look forward to the new line up but if they keep Amy Jacobson with her ridiculous comments, I will have to switch to another station. There is only so many times I can hear her say that ...she's tall, her boys have passports, she travel by plane all the time, she's stayed at this ritzy hotel, blah, blah, blah

It was a major mistake to get rid of Christina Filiaggi, Bill Leff and Ron Majors.

Bill Leff was the funniest guy on the show I wish he was still on. Don't get me wrong, I am still a dedicated listener of Roe Conn, but in the past year or two he has become quite a know-it-all. I'll give him credit for being very well informed but he even tries to one-up his expert guests- pilots, attorneys, etc. I think its good to add a new dimension to the show and make Roe share the mic.

I used to LOVE Roe Conn & listened to him faithfully, but then I started realizing how two faced he is. Back in the early '90's he was a conservative host on WLSAM. His opinions were very right winged and seemed genuinely his. NOW - he "pretends" to be towards the center. Why? I guess he thinks he's more appealing that way. He even chides conservatives and their opinions. He is not believable. He also "talks down" to his audience - very condescending. Get rid of him and keep Cisco.

I'm a long time listener of Roe Conn going back to the Gary Meier days. I thought that the Roe, Jim, Bill, and Christina combo was by far the best. The show took a huge hit releasing Bill and Christina and of course the ratings suffered, but I still listened.

Unfortunately, I don't think I'll be listening very much anymore now that Cisco is on board. Roe, while obvious he was a Republican, wasn't really about politics. Even when politics did come up, Roe was always the centrist leaning pragmatic type of Republican as opposed to the more famous conservative radio talkers. I don't dislike Cotto and did enjoy him when he did other things, but he is a partisan, right wing hack. It absolutely does not fit Roe's style.

If Roe wants to go the Glenn Beck road, then by all means, he might as well cash in, but the changes over the past year have ruined a once great radio program. Cisco has got to go.

So sad. Roe was the final straw before I switched to Satellite radio. Now that he's gone (essentially), it looks like I'll be a customer.

What happenned to Roe? He used to be a comical conservative, how did he get so liberal? Bring back Christina and Bill, what a mistake that was.

I use to think that Roe Con was the master. I was a loyal listener of Roe Con & Gary Meier, but when Gary Meier left the show, it started to become crap. There is no Roe without Gary. I tried to listen to the new Roe Con show, but it was so bad that I stopped listening to WLS. Roe Con is a know it all, the new Roe Con show had too many guest, it seem like the show would stalk any celebrity who would visit Chicago. The show had too many personalities on at any given time, which made Roe Con seem like a king holding court. The new Roe Con show wasn't funny any more, the show became boring. WLS lost me as a listener.

I just have lost interest. I understood the Gary situation. Christina and Bill being let go, okay, but to have it recreated with the current group of people it's become mind numbing. The one thing worse than having it all, like Roe once did, is having it all and 'blowing' it.

LIKE SO MANY OF THE OTHER COMMENTS, MY WIFE AND I TOO FEEL LIKE THE ROE CONN SHOW HAS GONE SEVERELY DOWNHILL SINCE LOSING BILL AND CHRISTINA. THE JOVIAL ATTITUDES AND COMEDY LINES MADE IT A TRULY ENJOYABLE SHOW. THE BANTERING BACK AND FORTH WAS FUN, KIDDING CHRISTINA ABOUT HER DRINKING, ETC. IT HAS BECOME A VERY BORING AND SELF OPINIONATED SHOW THAT REALLY IS NO LONGER WORTH TURNING THE RADIO DIAL TO. SAY GOODBYE TO ANOTHER LOYAL PAIR OF LISTENERS, UNTIL YOU MAKE CHANGES THAT CHICAGOANS CAN RELATE TO. ENOUGH ALSO OF RON MAJORS AND HIS RACING HORSE SET. COMMON EVERYDAY WORKING PERSON CANNOT RELATE TO HIS EGO MANIA.

Here we go again....time to officially anoint WLS as The "Ministry of Propaganda" for the far right. This is indeed "trolling for ratings" as keen listeners may have noticed Roe's change in tone lately, back to his 2006/2007 time period when it was fashionable to support the Bush regime even though it was all going bad....it is as if he knew this lineup was coming. Roe is hanging on for dear life.

Don't call Roe pragmatic...he is a wind sock who will do whatever he has to in order to survive...didn't he guest host for Glenn Beck's show on TV before he was famous?

Garry Meir on WGN offers a much more entertaining blend of commentary and humor.

Hey Wesley, and pigs fly :D

Yours truly,
Andre
http://towergateinsurance.info

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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 December 18, 2009 11:21 AM.

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