Wednesday, April 6, 2011

WISN Milwaukee Drops Glenn Beck Radio Show

From Tim Cuprisin,
No, the decision by WISN-AM (1130) to dump Glenn Beck's syndicated show from its weekday lineup has nothing to do with Beck's increasingly outlandish take on the world.

It definitely doesn't mean other conservative talkers are in danger here, although Beck's TV and radio empire does seem to have seen better days.

Both conservatives and liberals see the move as a good thing -- for very different reasons. Lefties see it as a defeat for conservative talk radio, while righties see Beck as increasingly out of the conservative mainstream as he paints an apocalyptic future for America.

But this decision has absolutely nothing to do with any shift away from a conservative talk format by WISN.

This is nothing more than a business decision by a station that's focusing during the morning hours on its local talent, rather than syndicated programming that fits its conservative talk focus. And Beck's ratings made it a relatively easy decision on WISN's end.

Among listeners 25 to 54, attractive to advertisers, WISN was in 11th place from 8:30 to noon in February, while WTMJ was in first with Charlie Sykes' conservative talk show, according to ratings numbers from Arbitron. That WISN didn't benefit during February's increased focus on state politics is a sign of Beck's weakness among Milwaukee radio listeners.

WISN program director Jerry Bott didn't focus much on ratings when I talked to him about the end of Beck's show here.

"It didn't perform as well as we had hoped," Bott told me.

Removing Beck from WISN's lineup had to be a interesting corporate discussion, since both the Milwaukee radio station and Premiere Radio Networks, which syndicates Beck's show, are owned by Clear Channel Communications.

The winner in this WISN's morning talker, Jay Weber, whose show will air from 6 to 10 a.m. starting April 18 with the disappearance of Beck's show. The station has been happy with his performance, and is banking on building his audience further.

"The reason we're making this particular move is the overwhelming demand from WISN listeners for more Jay Weber on the radio," Bott said, citing "hundreds" of e-mails.

Weber currently has a three-hour show, from 5 to 8 a.m. Beck runs from 8 to 10 and Madison-based Vicki McKenna airs from 10 to noon.

Under the new schedule, Weber gets an extra hour of air-time (and an extra hour of sleep).
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