Have the suits at Crawford Broadcasting been reading this blog? (Scary.)
A few weeks ago, yours truly suggested Crawford should go after The Tom Joyner Morning Show for its WSRB-FM (Soul 106.3) after it was dropped by crosstown rival WVAZ-FM (V103).
Well, it looks like they may have taken my advice.
According to radio trade website All Access, WSRB acquired the rights to air TJMS. Final details are being worked out, but several inside sources expect Joyner to join WSRB (as of this writing, the story is on their front page right now.)
This news comes as a story appeared in the Chicago Tribune this morning on how Steve Harvey is handling his show's move to WVAZ. In the article, Clear Channel - who still owns the rights to Joyner's show in the Chicago market - must OK any deal Joyner's syndicators (Reach Media and Radio One) can make before the end of the year - despite WVAZ pulling Joyner off the air a few weeks ago.
Judging by today's news, it looks like Clear Channel gave Reach Media and Radio One the permission to move their show over to WSRB.
Joyner's show - with a built-in audience - will likely boost WSRB's profile in the Chicago market. Ratings and revenue for the Urban AC outlet have been hampered due to its notorious signal problems. Steve Harvey's show aired on WSRB until 2007, when Premiere Radio Networks (who is owned by Clear Channel) moved Harvey to Clear Channel-owned WGCI-FM, replacing local morning personality Howard McGee.
Harvey: Don't blame me for Joyner's departure
Back to today's Trib article, Steve Harvey talked with Phil Rosenthal and said he's not the reason Tom Joyner was unceremoniously dumped from WVAZ. He says the idea for the move was Clear Channel Chicago's, and not his.
The article also revealed something surprising - Harvey's move and Joyner's cancellation happened indirectly, meaning Joyner was the sacrificial lamb for WGCI's mistake.
Harvey was shifted to WVAZ from WGCI so the station could launch the younger-skewing Morning Riot, to compete with a surprisingly rising WPWX-FM (Power 92), who also has an urban contemporary format. In the most recent PPM survey, WGCI's lead over its rival shrink to only half in the 6+ demo and Power 92 made the top ten among 18-34s - a key demo for the Hammond, Ind. - based outlet.
Another interesting note in the article is management from Clear Channel Chicago actually asked Harvey to play more hip-hop on his show. If you recall in his KKBT days in Los Angeles when he did morning drive, Harvey often criticized some of the station's music - which had a hip-hop/urban format - similar to WGCI's. In other words (and as yours truly pointed out when this deal was made nearly two years ago) - Harvey's older-skewing show (which targets the 25-54 demo) did not fit with WGCI, whose main demo is basically 18-34 and 18-49 (though it is in the top ten in the 25-54 demo.)
And as expected, Power 92 benefited with its morning show (hosted by Trey) showing ratings gains.
As for Steve Harvey, his show should do well on WVAZ though he may have a tough road ahead to match Joyner's numbers. It's a better fit for V103 while The Morning Riot is a better fit for WGCI while Joyner and WSRB's match is perfect, despite the weak signal. After two tumulus years in urban radio in Chicago, all seems to be right - for now.
Side notes: And props to Steve Harvey for coming out and talking to the Trib telling his side of the story. Harvey should not be the fall guy for Joyner's cancellation. Clear Channel was correcting a mistake that never should have been made in the first place - putting his show on WGCI and displacing Howard McGee.
And speaking of HowardMcGee... he returns to Chicago radio this weekend, hosting an one-hour Sunday Afternoon show with attorney Jeffrey Leving- of all places, WSRB-FM. Leving was often a guest on McGee's old WGCI show, in which he discussed Father's Rights.