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Jonathon Brandmeier Removed As Morning Man At WGN Radio–Sophomoric Antics Not Ratings Maker

August 20, 2013

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The WGN radio I loved for decades, and feared had slipped away from exceedingly bad management decisions is coming back in grand style.  When so many of the solid personalities were ripped from the station over the past several years I had to wonder what was becoming of the legendary place on the radio dial.

The latest news revealed today is that there is real leadership ability with Jimmy DeCastro, the new president and general manager of WGN radio.  There are many things to admire and applaud with DeCastro’s management moves.

The most significant and heartening change will occur Sept. 3 when Steve Cochran replaces Jonathon Brandmeier as morning personality from 5 to 9 a.m. weekdays. That is the most needed change as the sophomoric playbook of Brandmeier was old almost from the start.  While there is certainly a place for his antics on radio, it is not the kind of thing one wants to hear upon waking.  There is just nothing seemingly substantive about the man, and when wanting to start the day with some information Brandmeier continually fell flat over and over.

Cochran has long been the heir apparent to former morning star Spike O’Dell.  I have made known my strong support of his rehiring at WGN.  Meanwhile Brandmeier, whose final morning show on the station could air this Friday, is expected to reappear after a break on a live streaming webcast and eventually may turn up on a proposed FM signal.  That is fine, just as long as he is no longer on the powerhouse WGN-AM.

There is a wide swath of the demographics that make up the WGN radio audience who just want a friendly voice, interesting topics, lively banter, gentle laughs, and the morning news, weather, and sports presented to them upon waking.  The rude and crude was not what we grew up with during the decades of listening to WGN, nor what we expect today.

Jimmy DeCastro seems to understand that, and for that I am grateful.

18 Comments
  1. August 22, 2013 3:11 PM

    I can’t wait until the new changes take effect. WGN 720 was once great and hopefully will be great once again.

  2. L Robertson permalink
    August 22, 2013 8:40 AM

    Guess I’ll be switching to Eric & Kathy…

  3. mariettapreston permalink
    August 21, 2013 10:31 PM

    So happy to hear that WGN is returning to the format that I used to love. Truly looking forward to the personality changes, and very happy to hear that many of the “newbies” are now gone.

  4. carole permalink
    August 21, 2013 10:25 PM

    The worst decision. Who wants a self centered politic the first thing in the morning. I won’t be listening anymore. Brandmeier was the best thing they had since they lost John Williams. Keep your old timer WGN.

  5. August 21, 2013 11:34 AM

    Sorry to say but I am looking for a new station during the morning hours come Sept 2. I have never liked Cochran who tends to make the interviews all about him. Brandmeier has mellowed over the years but not enough for WGN listeners.

  6. August 20, 2013 9:31 PM

    There is also this quote from the new morning man. Never one to mince words, Cochran said his former bosses were “disrespectful” to the core WGN audience, driving away listeners. His aim is to get them back in the fold, along with a new audience for the station.

    “The previous administration just blew off this core audience,” Cochran said. “The core audience had an expectation of what WGN was, and that went away. So for those people, it’s great.”

  7. August 20, 2013 9:30 PM

    I like this quote found in the Chicago press today, and it sums up nicely what so many are feeling tonight. “It’s definitely a retreat to higher ground,” said Michael Harrison, publisher of Talkers magazine, a radio trade publication. “They’re going back to what they now know were more successful days, prior to the changes that began under Randy Michaels.”

  8. August 20, 2013 9:23 PM

    Orion is a fantastic resource for information and background about economic news and the agri-business world. I do not farm, but I eat. I also watch the stock market. I love the insight he provides and always have. His book is soon to be on my pile to read, too. Why would anyone would not want to be so informed about the economic matters that drive our national and local economies?

  9. South Looper permalink
    August 20, 2013 8:37 PM

    WGN is AWFUL! Enjoy listening to news of all the killings going on in Ch-IRAQ and what livestock is selling for ZZzzzzzzzzzz. Nick Digilio is all that’s left on WGN- thank goodness for the Score! Won’t ever listen to that station again!

  10. August 20, 2013 1:39 PM

    Wonderful!!!! This makes my day. Thanks for Caffeinated Politics. The people speak.

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