Cow comes home: Suburban station doubles up on radio’s ‘sole survivor’
Move over, Mrs. O’Leary. Chicago’s other famous Cow is alive and kicking.
Matthew Erich Muller, the radio provocateur known as Mancow whose syndicated morning show hasn’t been heard here in five years, is about to make a comeback: He’ll turn up twice a day on WJJG-AM (1530), the 760-watt daytime station based in west suburban Elmhurst.
Starting October 3, Mancow will air live from 7 to 10am and be replayed from 1 to 4pm Monday through Friday on WJJG, a time-brokered talk and music outlet billed as Chicago’s Hometown Station.
“I am the sole survivor,” Muller, 45, declared Wednesday. “The solitary fire burning brightest across the radio landscape.”
In a year that’s seen the return of such durable morning personalities as Robert Murphy, Eddie Volkman and Joe Bohannon to Chicago radio, Mancow’s comeback fits right in.
The shock-jock-turned-talk-show-host has had a tough time in his home market since 2006 when he was dropped from the former Q101, ending a 12-year run for Mancow’s Morning Madhouse in Chicago. Although he continued to originate his syndicated morning show from studios here, the closest affiliate was in Rockford. A 16-month stint on a 9-to-11am show he co-hosted with Pat Cassidy for Citadel Broadcasting news/talk WLS-AM (890) ended in February 2010.
Asked about WJJG’s plans to air his show twice a day, Muller said: “While some of lesser ego may say that’s great, I say it’s not nearly enough. Just as with Q101 and Mancow, it’s tough to program around perfection. I’d like to suggest they run two shows at once.”
With that, he was just getting warmed up: “As you well know, Mr. Feder, with extraordinary resiliency I’ve never stopped. I have ripped off my life’s rearview mirror. I’m an audio shark of the airwaves always moving forward. My show is even better now. I know that’s impossible for some to comprehend. ‘How could Mancow possibly be better?’ some will scoff. I know. Sometimes I can’t believe how wondrous the show sounds through my own headphones. The PC radio middle-manager types from foreign lands outside of ChiCOWgo want safe and boring. Know this: When Mancow returns, Chicago will once more be the epicenter of radio.”
The deal to acquire the show through Muller’s Talk Radio Network syndicator was the first programming move by Matt Dubiel, who was named general manager of WJJG last week by station owner Joe Gentile. Dubiel previously was program director of Newsweb Radio’s Nine FM format and co-founded Broadcast Barter Radio Networks. With partner Mike Noonan, he also acquired the brand and intellectual property rights of Q101.
“I am delighted to help create an exciting situation where the radio audience actually wins,” Dubiel said of the Mancow move. “Too many times the listening audience gets completely hosed with little or no explanation. Now Chicago is getting a radio star back — twice a day. This is groundbreaking. Mancow is an innovator, and I applaud his willingness to take this leap with us. It’s going to be very exciting for listeners and even more exciting for advertisers.”
Dubiel said the station will offer only 10 “category exclusive” sponsorships of Mancow’s morning and afternoon show, meaning each advertiser will be unique in its product or service. Three already have signed on, he said.
P.S. If you haven’t heard of WJJG, you’re not alone. In the latest Arbitron survey, its audience was too small to register among the top 60 stations in the market.