The unending re-arrangement of talent and programs continues at Tribune Co.-owned news/talk WGN-AM (720).
With the pending arrival of former Cincinnati talk show host Mike McConnell on Aug. 9, WGN-AM program director Kevin Metheny has finally revealed how he intends to divvy up a huge chunk of WGN morning and afternoon air time between McConnell and John Williams, the only weekday host left standing from the pre-Metheny era at WGN-AM.
McConnell will follow morning drive host Greg Jarrett with a show that runs from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. That means Jarrett will lose a half hour of air time to the new arrival McConnell. Williams will then host from 12:30 to 3 p.m., paving the way for afternoon drive host Garry Meier. The new program line-up with McConnell and Williams debuts Aug. 9. Jim Gudas will handle news during the McConnell show and Mary Van De Velde will do traffic reports. Steve Bertrand will report news for the Williams show and Leslie Keiling will handle traffic.
Since his arrival at WGN more than 18 months ago, WGN program director Metheny has been relentless and ruthless about shaking up what he perceived to be a tired WGN filled with talent and programming unerringly aimed at an elderly population of little or no interest to advertisers the station now covets. Metheny was notably silent Tuesday about the latest series of on-air changes, leaving WGN general manager Tom Langmyer to comment in a prepared statement. "Mike and John back-to-back make an extraordinarily strong team, and our listeners will be well-served with the best in news information and engaging conversation," said Langmyer.
But Metheny's constant shifting -- and jettisoning -- of talent has infuriated vast numbers of longtime WGN listeners, who have been just as constant in voicing their anger over the upheaval Metheny set in motion
Metheny's bosses, of course, won't mind what he has done at WGN if he is successful in improving the station's ratings in the key 25 to 54 demo. Until the Chicago Cubs are factored out of the WGN Arbitron ratings in October, it will be impossible to say with certainty whether Metheny's game plan is showing any real signs of success.