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X00023_9.JPGThe filling-in goes on. News/talk WGN-AM (720) has tapped Emmy Award-winning journalist Rita Cosby as the latest fill-in host for its mid-afternoon radio show, which has been without a host since John Williams moved to the station's morning drive slot late last year. WGN describes Cosby as a "veteran TV host, radio host and best-selling author." She's currently a special correspondent for CBS' syndicated prime time show "Inside Edition," where she interviews newsmakers and key political figures. She also has been a guest host on several nationally-syndicated radio programs. Though she has name recognition, Cosby would be an odd candidate for a full-time gig at WGN. Cosby reads more Hollywood than midwest, and that might not be such a good read for WGN listeners. But Cosby will have a whole week on WGN to bond with listeners. She is set to fill in from Mar. 23 through 27.

PX00201_7.JPGIf WGN-AM (720) was hoping to spice up the proceedings by bringing in Garry Meier this week to try out for the mid-afternoon host slot vacated by John Williams, then station management appears to have gotten what it bargained for.
Meier on Thursday made reference more than once on air to President Barack Obama and what the radio talent called the "Ovaltine Office." For those who may not immediately recall what Ovaltine is, it is a dark chocolatey drink that was a favorite beverage for growing youngsters decades ago. But Ovaltine is not talked about -- nor drunk so much, we suspect -- nowadays. Reached late Thursday afternoon after his fill-in WGN gig ended for the day, Meier said the "Ovaltine Office" term he used was not meant as a show of disrespect for the President, but rather to suggest that Obama has re-energized the Office of the President. Others, of course, might have a different interpretation.

Meanwhile, Meier told us it felt great to be back on the air, and clearly, he would be happy to accept the mid-afternoon job at WGN should it be offered to him as early as next week. But as WGN management prepares to decide who will take over on-air duties in mid-afternoon, Meier may find himself competing down to the wire for that job with WLUP-FM (720) morning drive show host Jonathon Brandmeier. Meier said he and Brandmeier are friends. As of Thursday Brandmeier had not resigned with the Loop, and that station's on-going negotiations with the morning host could be impacted by another round of staff firings at WLUP on Thursday.



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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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