The Demise of the Morning Show

If you caught any of the farewell jock appearances on WPLJ late last week, you heard more radio personality that exists in an entire lifetime on the air for one last goodbye.

It was odd to hear Scott Shannon with Todd Pettengill together considering that Pettengill reportedly went to Cumulus and supposedly offered to take over the WPLJ show for a lot less money getting Shannon fired.

Still, for a few final days the airwaves oozed of what makes radio great – personality and that station had tons of it from the early Allen Shaw ABC days up to and including Cumulus, the company that sold WPLJ for a quick buck.

There was a time when a good morning show drove 50-60% of the total stations revenue but consolidators found a way to weaken these important shows in the name of saving money.

But it’s heading in the wrong direction again.

Radio groups can’t make their revenue numbers without adjusting them to look better.  You saw how Entercom dumped in all that heavy billing from WBEB which it purchased in Philadelphia late last year totally misrepresenting year over year revenue.

Now, faced with more declining revenue, hard-pressed group owners are revisiting ways to cut the great expense of paying for talent in the morning.

They’ve already tried syndication, promoting second bananas to take the helm and other strategies.

Bean counters are readying some frightening new ways to diminish or replace talent driven morning shows.

Don’t even ask.

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