Monday, August 6, 2012

Talk 1200's corporate owner to scrap conservative talk, sends Rush back to WRKO 680

After nearly two and a half years on WXKS AM/Talk 1200, the nationally-syndicated conservative talk host Rush Limbaugh Show will return to WRKO 680 starting Tuesday, August 21, it was announced today. 

In March 2010, after a 15 1/2 year run on WRKO 680, Clear Channel-owned syndicator Premiere Networks moved Limbaugh's show to Clear Channel's new Boston talk station WXKS-AM/"Rush Radio 1200" to serve as cornerstone of its conservative talk line-up (BRW 3/2/10) and hoping to take many of his former WRKO listeners with him in the process.  The station even hired a local morning host - former WRKO personality Jeff Katz moved back to Boston from Florida a month after Rush Radio 1200 debuted(BRW 3/23/10). With Katz supplementing Premiere Network's big 3 syndicated line-up of Glenn Beck, Rush and Sean Hannity, Rush Radio 1200 didn't quite make a splash its owners had hoped for. Clear Channel really tried to make the station work by having morning and afternoon local elements such as news/traffic/weather reports anchored by Angela Anderson and George Brown and cross-promoting over the air on its Top40 giant Kiss 108 and simulcasting on Kiss 108's HD2 signal. The station was distant third after WRKO 680 and WTKK 96.9 in the ratings.

Year Two, brought some changes for AM 1200 - the station added a veteran Boston program director Paula O'Connor(BRW 1/26/11), changed its name from Rush Radio to Talk 1200 in February 2011 and installed controversial Jay Severin in PM drive late last summer(BRW 8/16/11). But for whatever reason(and most of it should be attributed to a very directional 1200's signal pattern which doesn't blanket the market as well as WRKO 680), the format just didn't click with listeners.

Earlier this summer as Clear Channel was deciding on what do with its new FM acquisition - WFNX 101.7(now variety hits WHBA/Harbor 101.7) -  it also apparently decided to scrap Talk 1200's conservative talk format allowing Limbaugh's syndicator, Clear Channel-owned Premiere Networks, to offer him back to WRKO 680 which featured 3 different local hosts(Charley Manning, Michele McPhee,Jen Brien and more recently, McPhee again) after Rush moved from 680 to 1200 in March 2010. Obviously, WRKO management was more than thrilled to get an opportunity to get him back in the line-up.

Limbaugh announced the WRKO return himself when he called into Howie Carr's afternoon show a little after 4pm this afternoon. Starting on August 21, he'll once be heard again in the familiar 12pm-3pm slot on WRKO 680 and serve as a lead-in for Carr who just re-upped for two more years with the Talk Station last week.(BRW 8/3).

With Rush coming back to WRKO, the station will also re-arrange its weekday line-up. Michele McPhee who returned from her TV sabatical two months ago(BRW 6/6) will shift from 11am-3pm slot to morning drive to co-host with Todd Feinburg from 5:30am to 9am. DC-based political analyst and Washington Times columnist Jeff Kuhner who has been filling in at WRKO over the past 6 months will have an hour show from 11am to Noon. In addition, WRKO announced that another Premiere Network show which had moved to Talk 1200 along with Rush in 2010 is also coming back - Coast to Coast will take back its 1am-5am slot in WRKO's line-up.

As for Talk 1200, it let go its morning host Jeff Katz and afternoon driver Jay Severin. In addition, the entire programming, production and sales support staff was terminated. While Talk 1200 will air Premiere Networks' syndicated talk line-up including Glenn Beck(9am-Noon), Rush(Noon-3pm), and Sean Hannity(3-6pm) for the next two weeks ago, its future is uncertain beyond August 20th.

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

This doesn't really surprise me. Talk 1200's signal was HORRIBLE. I work in Burlington and I couldn't get it clearly enough to listen. I mean how are you going to get any ratings if half the market can't hear you?

Laurence Glavin said...

They made a slight modification to the daytime-only pattern that was supposed to help, but I live in the area where the signal was supposed to be better, and even on my best radio, WXKS-AM wasn't so hot. In addition to its directionality, WXKS-AM's towers didn't help much either. Once in a while, I'd go down to the transmitter site to watch the construction in a neighborhood called Oak Hill Park near the Newton/West Roxbury line. At that time it was still winter or early spring before the trees put on leaves. Even then, the towers were hard to see among those trees, and right now, at midsummer, if you were to drive on the road where the towers are located (there five of them) you probably wouldn't notice them.

Anonymous said...

The signal is indeed horrible. Couldn't hear what the hosts were saying over the buzzzzzz.

Anonymous said...

Yes, the signal here in southern NH was just terrible. What were they thinking?

Josh in Worcester said...

Luckily, Jay can always fall back on playing Dr. Smith in a Lost In Space remake.

Anonymous said...

Gaffe 1200 is here!


http://www.gaffe1200.com/pages/gaffe/

it's a loop :-)

Anonymous said...

Sounds fishy to me. Like a liberal move to silence some big "C" hosts. I really liked Katz and Severin. I listened via I heart radio because the signal was spotty on the south shore.

Anonymous said...

I agree. I travel all of New England as a road rep. I had to listen via I heart radio.

Anonymous said...

This Gaffe format is crap. It was entertaining the first time I heard it, for about 5 minutes. I hope Jay and Jeff find a new radio station with a stronger station.

Anonymous said...

I live in southern NH and travel into MA for work daily. 1200am was horrible to tune in to but iHeart radio was always great. Would listen all day while at work.

What troubles me is the timing.
Conservative talk radio gets shut down just a few months shy of the election. I'll keep an ear out for them to return.

When people don't like what they hear, they change the channel. When socialist don't want you to hear, they get rid of the station.

Anonymous said...

I seriously thought 1200 was hacked this morning . . . it was just 30 minutes (I am assuming as I had to keep switching away) straight of just crazy laughter. It was unlistenable. I have no idea what the point of that was.

Anonymous said...

Everyone is correct- NOBODY could actually hear the station. Now that conservative talk is gone from 1200, I will never have to try to listen to it anymore. By the way- WE Love you Jeff and Jay!

Anonymous said...

Fortunately, I can put together who I like to listen to on I <3 Radio. Severin drove me up a wall with his arrogance, so couldn't have happened to a nicer guy. Katz was reasonable and good for the morning, shame he is gone. Does Boston have any conservatives to make talk radio viable? For us non-new englanders talk radio here seems to be wanting.

Anonymous said...

It was a good lineup, Thank goodness for streaming. I hope Katz, Beck, Severin, Hannity and especially Levin resurface somewhere in the Boston market. We desperately need them in the Commonwealth of Democrats. It's like being in a gulag. Just read that Matt Siegel is going to host a comedy laugh program on 1200. Talk about stale and boring. Yikes. Funny? Sorry, the answer is no. I give it a month. Just bring in the Spanish music station or another boring sports talk program and get it over with. What a waste!

Anonymous said...

I can understand (in theory) the move to a new format. This comedy thing is a terrible joke on listnership and it's going to drive away whatever audience remains.

Louie

Brighton, MA

Scotty Rodrigues said...

GLENN BECK RULES... I HAVE TO LISTEN TO GLENN BECK ON MY TUNEIN ANDROID APP NOW. I BOUGHT AN AM/FM RADIO TRANSCEIVER OFF AMAZON , WHICH CONNECTS FROM MY PHONE TO MY CAR CIGARETTE LIGHTER JACK...
I BOUGHT A ROKU CABLE BOX TO WATCH GLENN BECKS NEW TV SHOW ON GBTV.COM ( WHICH IS BETTER THEN HIS FOX NEWS SHOW).. I'LL NEVER QUIT !!! THEY CAN TRY TO SILENCE US, BUT I'LL DO WHATEVER IT TAKES TO MAINTAIN OUR FREEDOM.
ADD ME TO YOUR LINKIN OR FACEBOOK IF YOU AGREE.. WE GOTTA STICK TOGETHER PEOPLE ...
OUR BIGGEST BATTLE ...... ELECTING ROMNEY/RYAN IN NOV.
GOD BLESS TO YOU ALL... EVEN THE COMMY BUMS, WHOM SICKEN ME, BUT I STILL FIGHT FOR YOUR RIGHT TO SPEAK FREELY .. YOU HYPOCRITES

Anonymous said...

1200 was a great place to find out about what was going on without the usual liberal leanings. I finally discover talk radio, and they change format to a stupid comedy channel... that will NOT last... sad... Oh, and where do I find Glenn Beck now???

Anonymous said...

The Liberals are taking over!

Anonymous said...

is mark levin on the air?
what station?
when?

Anonymous said...

This was a big mistake for the people who own clear channel.

True conservative talk has been replaced with more usless liberal babbel.

I find the timing odd as well, just before the election.

Unfortunately for the Liberals with the internet we can still listen to conservative talk from anywhere in the country.

I hope someone else in the boston market has the guts to open another real conservative talk station.

680 WRKO is OK but for me the AM signal is worse than 1200.

I liked the sharper edge of Severin, Katz, Hanity much better than the present WRKO linup.

Oh well, the Libs won this round but I am still hopeful for November.

Anonymous said...

The "new" 1200 is just awful. I thought something was wrong with my car radio what with all the so-called comedy crap.

I have removed 1200 from my car radio. As I'm not in the car long enough to justify buying satellite service, I just I'll have to go to WRKO until other conservative talk show(s) turn up in the Boston area--we aren't all liberal Democrats, a few of us are actually Independents or Republicans who can actually think for ourselves sans the Dem daily talking points.

I'm highly suspecious of the timing of all the changes, conveniently as we approach the Nov. Presidential elections.....

Anonymous said...

Gaffe 1200 is the most idiotic thing i have ever heard. Where are you guru jay ???

Anonymous said...

Bain Capital LLC (Mitt Romney former CEO, Managing Member, and investor) and Thomas H. Lee Partners own Clear Channel Communications through a leveraged buyout in 2008, resulting in the company's operating as a wholly owned subsidiary of CC Media Holdings, Inc. Popular Talk 1200/Boston's refreshingly frank conservative hosts Jeff Katz, Jay Severin, (and Mark Levin, too?) vanished in a blink. So who is this RINO, really, who in his youth idolized and emulated his liberal father , and still operates accordingly?