In November of 2000, While living in Appleton Wisconsin, I searched and searched for a radio station that was covering what was going on with the election results. I stumbled upon WTMJ 620 out of Milwaukee. I have stuck with them ever since. WTMJ provided me with the information I wanted and gave me the entertainment I needed. After nearly nine years of loyal listenership, that may all be coming to an end.
I'm not usually one to go off about the fickle nature of the entertainment industry. Most of the time I could care less about what is popular on radio, TV, or in movies. I am proud to say that I have never seen an episode of "American Idol" ever. My favorites tend to the unusual, odd, and often old shows. I never joined one of those save a show petitions. However, certain decisions by management at WTMJ is making me seriously consider changing my listening habits.
You could really go back to 2006 and the decision to let Mark Reardon go. That decision did make sense from a certain point of view. Often Reardon's show was pre-empted by sports broadcasts and it didn't make sense to have a full time person in a position where they would sometimes work an hour or less. Still, Reardon brought an often light, fun atmosphere to a time slot that is not very conducive to high ratings. The biggest axe to fun came earlier today. John Jagler and Gene Mueller had a cute little remake of Neil Diamond's "Coming to America" that they used to introduce Craig Koplien's weather segment near the end of their show on Friday mornings. Love it or hate it, it was a cute one minute and ten second intro to the weekend. Management told them no more.
A bigger travesty though is the firing of Phil Cianciola. Phil brought a good mix of humor and information to the afternoon drive slot, traditionally a fiercely competitive time slot. The great PR that Cianciola brought to the station with his annual "Green House Nuggets" CD drive for St. Mary's Hospice can't be replaced. For many folks, the way they decompressed after a hard day's work was listening to the banter between Phil, Jonathan Green, and Bill Michaels. With Jon's many weeks of vacation he has earned, the glue holding the show together was Phil.
Yes, I realize that radio and TV personalities come and go. That being said, Milwaukee has always been about traditions. That is why you see so many folks on both the radio and TV here who have been around for decades. In my opinion, this is a move by the management of WTMJ AM to remove all of the fun from their station. So I say look out Charlie Sykes, your "Deep Tunnel Awards" may be next. I say look out Jeff Wagner, you could also be on the way out.
I am still a big fan of the WTMJ personalities who remain. I always will be a fan, even of those who have left. I still try to catch Mark Reardon on KMOX in St. Louis when I can. I have to listen online, but still I listen. When Phil finds a new home, I will still be a fan and listen too.
Goodbye Phil. It was a great run. Keep on cycling man!