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Lewis Lazare follows Chicago media and marketing news

Recently in CBS Radio Category

Jim Ryan has been named vice-president, adult contemporary programming, for the CBS Radio chain's 14 stations that have an adult contemporary format. In addition to his oversight responsibilities for all of CBS Radio's adult contemporary stations, Ryan will serve as hands-on program director for WCFS-FM (105.9) in Chicago and its sister station in New York.

Ryan will be responsible for increasing brand awareness and gaining listenership and ratings for CBS Radio's AC-formatted stations. "CBS Radio is known for being a destination where the industry's strongest programmers grow and thrive," said Ryan of his new role within CBS Radio. Ryan most recently was head of his own consulting company, Jim Ryan Media, where he advised top radio stations, including outlets in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Houston. In addition Ryan provided portable people meter analysis to influential clients in the talk radio industry

Bill Gamble has departed his dual post as program director for WUSN-FM (99.5) and WCFS-FM (105.9), both CBS Radio Chicago outlets. Gamble lasted about 10 months on the job, during which time WUSN-FM continued to be a top-10 performer in the 25-to-54 adult demo in the Arbitron ratings. WCFS-FM has shown some success in attracting more women listeners, but just days before his exit Gamble conceded more work needed to be done to get that station where it needs to be in the ratings. CBS Radio has been aggressively running ads promoting WCFS in recent months.

WCFS had been rumored in recent months to be the outlet CBS Radio might use to simulcast sports talk WSCR-AM (670) on the FM band, but sources within CBS Radio Chicago say there are no plans to do that on WCFS or any other CBS Radio FM outlet in the Chicago market at this time. Sources also said CBS Radio market manager Rod Zimmerman may opt to bring in separate program directors for WUSN and WCFS or possibly go with one PD for both stations again.

Mike LeBaron exits WCFS-FM

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Mike LeBaron has been relieved of his duties as adult contemporary WCFS-FM (105.9) morning drive host, effective immediately, according to Bill Gamble, the station's program director. LeBaron had been in the job since 2007. While Gamble looks for LeBaron's replacement, midday host Rick Hall will take over LeBaron's former post as morning drive host. Gamble said he expects one of his yet-to-be-determined weekend talents to fill in for Hall middays starting Monday.

LeBaron's departure comes some two-and-a-half months after Gamble arrived as WCFS's new program director. Gamble also serves in the same capacity at country WUSN-FM (99.5), and both stations are part of the CBS Radio Chicago portfolio. Gamble declined comment on the reasons for LeBaron's departure, nor would he say what type of new talent he might be looking for to replace LeBaron. In the most recent August Arbitron ratings book, WCFS was in a tie for 19th place in the 25-to-54-year old demo in morning drive, and the station was in 21st place overall Monday through Sunday.

There's just about nothing -- and we mean NOTHING -- that has gone unshuffled in the Chicago radio business over the course of the past seven or eight months. And though the frequency of the shuffling has markedly decreased in recent weeks, it isn't gone altogether.

The latest rounds occurred Tuesday in the sales departments of four CBS Radio outlets in Chicago under the direction of Market Manager Rod Zimmerman. In essence, Zimmerman decided to merge what had been four discrete sales units repping four, differently-formatted radio stations into just two units, with each sales unit responsible for selling two radio outlets. Zimmerman has merged the sales forces of all-news WBBM-AM (780) and adult hits WJMK-FM (104.3) and made Mark Day the general sales manager in charge.

The previously separate sales teams repping country WUSN-FM (99.5) and adult contemporary WCFS-FM (105.9) were also combined, with Gabe Tartaglia the general sales manager in charge.

While the synergies of joining sales forces for WBBM and WJMK are less obvious, Zimmerman said that because of the strong core female demo for both WUSN and WCFS, the sales force merger made a lot of sense. Zimmerman believes the overall restructuring will offer greater efficiency and make for quicker responses to client needs. But for the local CBS Radio staffers involved, the best aspect of this latest restructuring is that it meant no reduction in forces -- a minor miracle, everything considered.

CBS Radio-owned sports/talk WSCR-AM (670) made its debut in HD this morning. It is being simulcast at 104.3 HD2, a HD channel attached to CBS Radio's adult hits WJMK-FM (104.3). Fans of WSCR who have HD-equipped receivers will now be able to hear Score programming with a much clearer sound. A source at WSCR said there are still no plans, however, to simulcast WSCR on WJMK, a move that would mirror what CBS Radio has done with some of its AM sports outlets in other markets, including Detroit.



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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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