Friday, November 21, 2014

WGN Pulls the Plug on WGN FM and The Game

Robert Feder has the details. Sounds like a whole lot of people have lost or will be losing their jobs. Among them; Jonathon Brandmeier and Garry Meier. I worked with both of those guys at the Loop in the late 80s and early 90s when they were radio superstars. Over the last year both of them had been relegated to a platform that made it much more difficult to attract an audience. I'm not sure anyone could have succeeded in that situation.

Those aren't the guys I feel bad for--They've both made a fortune during their radio careers, and have cemented their places in radio history. I'm more concerned for the others who are being cut loose. Some of them took big gambles by joining The Game, leaving stable radio stations for the promise of something new. I hope they haven't burned their bridges.

According to the Chicagolandradio & Media website, the employees didn't know about this decision before it became public in the press. Here's the way Larz from CRM describes how it went down...

WGWG-LP staffers were not told in advance of the station's demise. Most found out as the Tribune's report spread via social media. WGWG-LP midday host Ben Finfer was clearly angry and upset on the air today.

Unfortunately, it's not really that unusual in the media business to find out you lost your job in the press.

One time I was actually sitting right next to someone when she found out by reading it in the newspaper. "Hmmmm," she said, reading the news of a new hire aloud. A new hire for her job. "I'm guessing I have an unscheduled meeting later today."

Another friend of mine started getting e-mails of sympathy while he was waiting outside his general manager's office for a hastily scheduled meeting. "It didn't take a genius to figure out what the meeting was going to be about," he told me later.

At least they got meetings.

When Stan Lawrence and I were doing Ebony & Ivory, we found out the show had been canceled via memo, the day of the show. The memo said, and I kid you not: "Gents, it's not working out."

That's all it said. Nothing else.

Have I mentioned recently that I don't miss the business?