Deathwatch for oldies in Chicago

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Postby tuned » Wed Jun 21, 2006 11:53 am

I found WWRL Chicago by accident a couple of weeks ago. They've got Larry Lujack in the morning and play a great mix of real oldies the rest of the time with voicetracks. You can listen to them on the web and they actually sound pretty good considering it's owned by Clear Channel. Then I read this:

Time is running out for 'Real Oldies' format
Source: Chicago Sun-Times
June 21, 2006

BY ROBERT FEDER SUN-TIMES COLUMNIST


Of all the stations on Chicago radio's "watch list" (if there were such a list, that is), the one in most critical condition has to be Clear Channel Radio's "Real Oldies" WRLL-AM (1690).

Nothing is official, but insiders say it could be only a matter of weeks before Clear Channel bosses pull the plug on the format and a talent lineup that includes such personalities as Larry Lujack, Tommy Edwards, Scotty Brink, Tom Murphy and Ron Smith.

Plagued from its inception in 2003 with a substandard signal that barely covers the metropolitan area, "Real Oldies" has languished at the bottom of the ratings all along. Arbitrends released Tuesday show the station tied for 36th place with a 0.5 percent share and with a cumulative weekly audience of 116,200.

Any hopes of growth were dashed when ABC turned its WZZN-FM (94.7) from active rock to "True Oldies" last fall. Despite its lackluster lineup and promotion, WZZN wins by default with its superior signal.

John Gehron, who put "Real Oldies" on the air, nurtured and protected the format as Clear Channel's regional boss here. Once he left the company (only to resurface as head of Oprah Winfrey's Harpo Radio), the station's days were numbered.

No decision has been made on a new format, but the most likely scenario would turn WRLL into a time-brokered outlet that would lease all of its air time to an outside company.

Most common time-brokered formats include religious, ethnic and foreign language programs.

If Clear Channel does pull the plug on oldies, at least one of the station's stars shouldn't be idle for long.

Edwards, the Chicago radio legend who serves as morning personality, program director and operations manager of "Real Oldies," already has been approached about a drive-time on-air job at a bigger and better local station, sources said.

Too bad he won't be able to bring Ol' Uncle Lar along with him this time.
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Postby jon » Wed Jun 21, 2006 6:14 pm

I just checked and WZZN's True Oldies is Scott Shannon's 24/7 satellite service that had the plug pulled on it late last year on KXOL-1660 in Utah, which I could hear in AM and PM Drive here through the winter months. He has amassed a reasonable network of stations http://www.trueoldieschannel.com/html/stations.html

Scott has always been a great guy, but you just don't get a lot of him when he is voice-tracking 24/7 on top of his full-time Morning Zoo gig in NYC. Maybe I didn't hear enough to make these kind of conclusions, but the first 6 months (of 2005) on KXOL, when Scott first started it, featured a lot more "the road less travelled" Oldies than the last 6 months of 2005.
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