Monday, May 15, 2000

Local radio stations minus 'Imus'




columnist
        Bad news for Tristate Don Imus fans. You probably won't be hearing Imus in the Morning on local radio for a long time.

        Changes in local station ownership, and low ratings for Imus here (No. 19), make it unlikely to be picked up by another station.

        WUBE-AM (1230), which is being sold, dropped the show May 1 after five years when the contract expired.

        “We weren't going to saddle the new owners with a new contract. The audience he has was extremely loyal, but not big enough to warrant renewing it,” says Tim Closson, operations manager for WUBE-AM/FM, WYGY-FM and WBOB-AM.

        All four stations are being sold as part of Clear Channel's national acquisition of AMFM. Clear Channel already owns the maximum (eight) here, including WEBN-FM (102.7) and WLW-AM (700).

        Sports talk WUBE-AM is being sold to Ross Love's Blue Chip Broadcasting, as an AM sister station to WIZF-FM (100.9).

        “Our plans do not include Imus,” Mr. Love says. A new format for WUBE-AM will be announced after Blue Chip closes the deal this summer, he says.

        Sports talk WBOB-AM (1160) and young country WYGY-FM (96.5) are being dealt to Salem Communications, a California- based religious broadcaster.

        Country music WUBE-FM (105.1) will go to CBS' Infinity Broadcasting, which operates oldies WGRR-FM (103.5), top 40 WKRQ-FM (101.9) and alternative rock WAQZ-FM (97.3).

        Infinity also owns and syndicates Imus. But don't expect to hear Imus on an Infinity station here, says Chuck Finney, operations manager.

        A big factor against Imus is that stations must pay cash for the show. G. Gordon Liddy and other syndicated shows are barter deals, where the shows keep most of the advertising revenues but do not charge a licensing fee.

        Imus fans can watch MSNBC's simulcast of the radio show 6-10 a.m. weekdays.

        NPR news: Jean Cochran, known as Mary Jean Cochran at Indian Hill Elementary School in the 1960s, will address the Greater Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce breakfast forum Wednesday at the Albert B. Sabin Convention Center.

        Ms. Cochran, whose family left the Tristate in 1965, joined National Public Radio's Morning Edition in 1981. Her father, David Cochran, was jet propulsion manager at General Electric's Evendale plant until 1965.

        Tickets are $12 for chamber members and $20 for others. (Information: 579-3128.)

        Enquirering Mind: Enquirering minds want to know: Was actor Brad Garrett (Everybody Loves Raymond) seriously hurt in an accident, or recovering from major surgery?

        No, it's all an act since his character was gored by a bull in a Feb. 7 episode. Robert's “recovery” has been building up to his “confrontation” with the bull today (9 p.m., Channels 12, 7). Raymond ends the season next Monday with a flashback show about his ex-wife (Suzie Plakson, Love & War).

        Kiese-watching: Congratulations to ER for reuniting Carol Hathaway (Julianna Margulies) with Doug Ross (George Clooney) in her final episode Thursday, and for keeping it secret. It was the perfect ending fans wanted.

        In heaven: Greenhills native Brian Bowen, 24, guest stars in the two-part 7th Heaven season finale (8 p.m. today and next Monday, Channel 64) as a boyfriend for Lucy (Beverley Mitchell). The 1993 Roger Bacon High School grad is the son of Stephen and Jan Bowen of Springfield Township.

       



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