Willie Signs: We hinted at this one yesterday - but now we can confirm that the deal is signed, sealed, and delivered at WLW.
Clear Channel-Cincinnati released a statement saying Bill Cunningham has agreed to a long term deal to remain on the city's number one talk station.
For Cunningham's part, he'd already confirmed it to John Kiesewetter Monday, as we reported.
The entire release is below...
Bill Cunningham Re-Ups with “The Big One”
Popular 700WLW Personality Affirms Commitment to Cincinnati
Cincinnati, June 15, 2010 -- 700WLW Cincinnati – “The Big One” – today announced that legendary, two-time Marconi Award winning personality Bill “Willie” Cunningham has signed a long term agreement to remain on the station – and reaffirmed his commitment to the Queen City and its radio listeners.
“We are extremely pleased that Willie will remain part of the 700WLW team for many years to come,” said Chuck Fredrick, President and Market Manager - Clear Channel Cincinnati. “The Big One is one of America's great radio stations because of its personalities and Willie and 700WLW are synonymous. Our audience expects the very best – and 700WLW works relentlessly to exceed their expectations."
Commenting on his decision, Cunningham said, “Cincinnati is my home. The first air I breathed. The first milk I drank was from Cincinnati. Others may have come as carpet baggers to loot the Queen City and then move on. Willie will remain true.”
Cunningham is host of The Big One's market leading Noon-3pm show – which has been rated #1 in Midday's for over 10 years. Twice-honored with a Marconi Award for Radio Personality of the Year, Cunningham has made numerous appearances on Fox News Channel, CNN and other television shows. Cunningham's show is also featured on iHeartRadio on "Channel Willie."
700WLW – The Big One – is a leading radio station in the “Queen City” (Cincinnati) area, broadcasting a News/Talk format that is highly popular with its local community where it is the #1 radio station with listeners 12+. 700WLW has a long and storied history that extends back to the earliest days of radio broadcasting – when the station was owned by the Crosley Radio company. 700WLW was the first United States commercial 50 KW station and the only standard broadcast station to ever broadcast at a power of 500KW – truly a “clear channel” station.
Our Take: This is good news for WLW 700. While they no longer have to worry about filling THREE slots...they still must deal with the 9-noon slot (and it's thought that Scott Sloan has the best shot at that opportunity) and the 9 PM-midnight slot (if Sloan does take the above).
Assuming Matt Patrick is in the running (Ohio Media Watch says that his guest hosting gig next Saturday is ONLY on WLW, and will NOT be on WTAM 1100/Cleveland), it looks to us like he would likely end up in the latter slot.
Either way, it is a good thing for WLW. They'd probably be fine even if Cunningham had left - let's face it, it's a heritage station and has both the pro sports teams...
WKRC Launching News at 4:30: And in this case it's not just 4:30 AM or PM - it's BOTH.
The station announced the move on their website Tuesday. The 4:30 AM/4:30 PM newscasts will begin September 6th.
The 4:30 AM news will join WXIX-TV 19/Newport and WLWT-TV 5/Cincinnati as the third such newscast in town. But WKRC will have the distinction of having Cincinnati's ONLY 4:30 PM newscast, and thusly the only station in town to go two and a half hours instead of the traditional 90 minutes starting at 5:00 PM.
Our Take: This one is not really a bad move by WKRC. Think about it. Oprah will end her nationwide syndication next year, leaving WCPO-TV 9 with a HUGE hole in their schedule. And WCPO wasn't exactly strong at 4:00 PM against WKRC (which, we remind you, swept the TV news ratings...uh, sweeps) in May.
WKRC will have plenty of ads to sell during the 4:30 PM news... and can either dump "Millionaire" off the main channel (still leaving it on the sub-channel 12.2, where it airs at 1:30 PM M-F), or possibly shift it to late nights. (There's really nowhere else they CAN put it - unless they move "Inside Edition" to late nights, instead - an unlikely move, as they count on that to lead into "Entertainment Tonight".)
The bottom line is this: WKRC really can't lose much by expanding the 4 PM news. As for expanding to 4:30 AM...it'll face some competition from both WXIX (the first in the city to have a newscast at 4:30 AM) and WLWT. But we don't expect the latter to be tough...if WKRC has any trouble with the 4:30 AM news, it'll be competing with WXIX - which beats 12.2's 10 PM news...and that could pose a problem for WKRC.
We'll have to see how everything shakes out with these new newscasts in September, and look at them more closely in November with that ratings book. But...we really don't expect a whole lot to change, except possibly the 4:30 AM news race...