It all started with me.
Several years ago I was doing weekly commentaries for WCBS Newsradio in New York. My unique humorous observations of the world – y’know, like the crap I post here. Then the ratings came out and we got crushed by sister station WINS. Thanks, little sis. They decided to take the station in a different direction -- away from me.
As has happened several times with prime time series I created and executive produced, I was canceled by CBS.
Whenever that occurred on the TV side CBS immediately began to flourish. Ratings went up, breakout shows emerged. Even Letterman’s ratings went up .000000001.
But on the radio side it’s a different story. Letting me go apparently has cursed the entire division.
First Howard Stern left, costing CBS 12,000,000 listeners and far more than that in revenue (rom $50.8 million to $18.7 million). Given an entire year to find a replacement they chose David Lee Roth, who was so bad and so hated that he was losing in the ratings to police calls.
Then came the staggeringly boneheaded decision to change WCBS-FM’s format from oldies to JACK. CBS-FM was an institution in Gotham, had great ratings, and made big profits. Now it’s down there in the ratings with AM stations at 1600 on the dial that play music from countries only cab drivers recognize. And financially it’s taken a bath. Why play the Beatles when they can play Flock of Seagulls?
Same story here in Chicago where they let a valuable franchise get away for a format whose name describes its ratings – JACK.
But at least CBS radio had Imus.
And this time they don’t have a year to replace him. They have to do it now. Not too many thirty year seasoned radio performers with large loyal audiences out there. I wonder if they have a call in to Ted Nugent.
And to add insult to injury and Asians, two hilarious disc jockeys from another CBS station in New York were suspended for broadcasting a six minute crank call to a Chinese restaurant that was filled with ethnic and sexual slurs. Inspired stuff like “flied lice”. Oh, and not only did the station air it – they REPLAYED it.
CBS radio is in dire straights. I feel somewhat bad that I’m the cause of it. Of course I feel worse that there was not one letter of complaint when WCBS let me go.
I suppose if they hired me back that might break the curse. Getting better management and putting WCBS-FM back on the air might help too. Honestly, if I were CBS I would go with those last two suggestions first. It seems the other nine radio stations that fired my sorry ass during my checkered career didn’t suffer any ill effects. In fact, they’re doing better than CBS-TV. Hmmmmm?