Host Steve Cochran has left Tribune Co.-owned news/talk WGN-AM (720), the station announced late Friday. And mid-morning host John Williams is staying. Cochran's contract expires next week. Cochran will be permanently replaced by former Cincinnati news/talk radio talent Mike McConnell, who is scheduled to arrive at WGN in early August. Until McConnell's debut, a series of guest hosts will fill the 1 p.m to 3 p.m. time slot on WGN that had been occupied by Cochran. Chicago Cubs baseball games also will air on some days.
For now, mid-morning host John Williams is staying on at WGN. But left unclear on Friday was exactly how the station will finally divvy up the 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. time period between Williams and McConnell. "Mike McConnell and John Williams . . .make a great team to take our listeners through the events of the day," said WGN general manager Tom Langmyer in a statement. Langmyer could not be immediately reached for further clarification.
When news of WGN's hiring of McConnell first broke earlier this month, McConnell himself had suggested he would be doing the show on WGN now hosted by John Williams, at least according to one Cincinnati media writer. But WGN management subsequently indicated McConnell couldn't know yet what he would be doing at WGN, because no decision had been made about where McConnell would go in the WGN line-up.
The departure of Cochran is certain to be another jarring adjustment for some longtime WGN listeners who have been upset by the seemingly unending series of talent and programming changes that have hit the station during the past 18 months. Tribune Co. CEO Randy Michaels and WGN program director Kevin Metheny have made numerous changes to give the station an edgier sound and attract a younger, 25 to 54-year-old demographic.