Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck, two of radio's biggest talk personalities were bumped from their Philadelphia affiliate, WPHT-AM Thursday (Nov. 18), leaving both national radio programs without clearance in the eighth largest radio market.
No doubt Premiere Radio Networks, the Clear Channel programming arm that syndicates the shows, is scrambling to find two of its top-rated personalities a Philadelphia home. Having top 10 clearances is a must for national advertisers.
Premiere has some time, but not a lot. WPHT-AM's new line up, sans Hannity and Beck, doesn't debut until Jan. 3, 2011.
CBS Radio made the line up changes to "The Big Talker" to accommodate Michael Smerconish, who decided to discontinue hosting mornings on the station to focus on his national midday afternoon program, syndicated by CBS Radio and Dial Global.
Smerconish's show airs in the same time slot as Hannity. Dom Giordano replaces Beck from 9 to Noon. Rush Limbaugh remains in the Noon to 3 p.m. slot. To fill mornings, CBS Radio turned to Chris Stigall, who has been hosting mornings on KCMO-AM, owned by Cumulus Media in Kansas City.
"Michael has been the crown jewel in WPHT's line up for many years and we respect his decision to shift his focus to afternoons," said Marc Rayfield, svp and market manager for CBS Radio in Philadelphia.
There are limited affiliate options for Hannity and Beck in Philadelphia. WPHT is the top-rated Talk station in the market, ranked No. 10 overall, just one tenth of a share point below CBS Radio's Sports outlet, WIP-AM. The next highest-rated News/Talk station is WHYY-FM, a noncommercial station. Bets are on a station making a format change.