McConnell to Join WGN

There are some big changes afoot at two of the nation’s biggest AM signals, Clear Channel Radio’s WLW-AM in Cincinnati and Tribune’s WGN-AM in Chicago. Beginning Aug. 9, Mike McConnell, midday News/Talk personality at WLW for 20 years, will join WGN, the top-rated station in Chicago.

Rumors have been swirling over the prospect that McConnell and Bill Cunningham, the two top-rated personalities on WLW, might be headed to Chicago to work with their former bosses, Randy Michaels, CEO of Tribune and Sean Compton, svp of programming.

Along with the radio rumors, on the TV side, Bill Cunningham, whose contract is up in a month, has agreed to do a pilot with Tribune for a daytime TV Talk show.

WLW is in the hunt for a permanent replacement for McConnell. In the interim, Scott Sloan will fill his slot.

The loss of McConnell and potentially Cunningham, could take a bite out of WLW “The Big One”, the top-rated station in the market. “We’ll miss Mike,” said Chuck Fredrick, president and market manager for CCR in Cincinnati. “We’ve long known that Chicago has represented a ‘dream market’ for Mike and we firmly believe everyone has the right to chase their dreams.”

McConnell’s new time slot on WGN or how his arrival might affect the WGN line up will be announced in the coming months. In a June 7 press release, WGN said McConnell’s show would feature a “broad range of topics from in the new social issues to the oddities of everyday life.”

“There are really just a handful of truly unique radio hosts in the country and Mike is one of them,” said Tom Langmyer, vp and general manager of WGN Radio. “He’s straightforward, and his common sense approach to topics will be a great fit for WGN listeners.”