*If you’re Scott Shannon, legendary disc jockey, and you’re looking for your next adventure, where do you want to be – trying to make yourself fit into the rigid clock of a news-talk morning show on an AM station with a big signal but no clear format direction…or in the comfort zone of morning drive on the station that combines a legacy of oldies (your favorite format) and the 70s and 80s pop on which you built your reputation decades ago?
Put it that way and it becomes a no-brainer, which is why the radio universe pretty much uniformly nodded and said “yeah, that makes sense” when the news broke late Monday night that Shannon’s headed for WCBS-FM (101.1), where he starts in morning drive next week. A press release that was meant to come out later this week accidentally went live on the CBS-FM website (and was caught by the eagle eyes of AllAccess), and the details look like this: Shannon’s new morning show will include Irv “Mr. G.” Gikofsky, a CBS-FM staple, doing weather as well as Joe Nolan, Shannon’s former WPLJ traffic reporter. Current morning jock Dan Taylor moves to middays, displacing Ron Parker. (Our partner site RadioInsight has the full press release, if you’re interested.)
For CBS, the addition of Shannon is a calculated risk: by disrupting what’s been a smoothly-running lineup of low-key personalities (and we’re sorry to see Parker go), 101.1 makes room for a big name who’s already deeply familiar to its target audience; if you grew up in New York in the mid-80s and you’re in your 40s or 50s now, the odds are very good you were waking up to Shannon on the Z100 Morning Zoo back then.
There are plenty of “what-if” questions yet to be answered: will Shannon, who likes to have a hand in programming, end up displacing Jim Ryan as PD down the road? What becomes of Shannon’s True Oldies Channel, which is still running with Cumulus (and still being heard on WPLJ-HD2) for now? Given that Cumulus and CBS already have a syndication partnership with CBS Sports Radio, and that former CBS-affiliated Westwood One is now being merged into the Cumulus world, might TOC simply stay put where it is in the syndication world? Stranger things have happened. (But if TOC lives, we’d expect its New York presence to move to a CBS Radio HD channel before long.)
And then there’s WOR: as NERW readers know, we were skeptical from the start about the rumors that had Shannon going to Clear Channel to anchor a talk lineup for an audience that, even now, is made up largely of the parents of his Z100 listeners from the 1980s. In our next full NERW column, we’ll examine what Elliot Segal’s brief morning stint at WOR really meant, now that we know it wasn’t just a “save the chair for Shannon” strategy – and how slim WOR’s options for a morning show have now become.
(If you’re not a NERW subscriber, what are you waiting for? Unlike the “big trades,” full access to NERW’s unique insight on the broadcast industry costs as little as 29 cents a week, including 20 years of archives, and you can unlock it all right here…)