It’s over and out for Eddie & Jobo on K-Hits morning show
Ed Volkman and Joe Bohannon
Chicago radio icons Ed Volkman and Joe Bohannon, whose celebrated partnership as Eddie & Jobo has endured through 25 years of ups and downs, are out of work again.
On Thursday they were cut after 20 months as morning personalities on CBS Radio classic hits WJMK-FM (104.3), the station they helped kick off as K-Hits in 2011. They declined to go on the air for a final show Friday, but will be paid through the remainder of their two-year contracts, which expire in March.
Asked why they chose not to bid farewell to their audience, Volkman told me: “Who’s really listening? That was part of the problem. I can say goodbye on social media to a lot more people than we were getting there.” Later he tweeted: “When Jobo & I were taken off @B96Mornings in 2008 Twitter was in its infancy. Today? OMFG! I'm grateful for unlimited data on this phone!”
In the latest Arbitron Portable People Meter survey, Eddie & Jobo were tied for 20th place in mornings with a 2.1 percent share of listeners between 25 and 54, the station’s target demographic. Overall, K-Hits ranked 18th with a 2.5 share.
In addition to underperforming ratings, program director Todd Cavanah cited the duo’s incompatibility with the station’s format. “Eddie and Jobo have a great style, and they really helped us launch the radio station and get us on the map,” he said. “But the match of Eddie and Jobo with this music is not a good fit. It’s hard to perceive Eddie and Jobo playing the Beatles. It doesn’t fit with who they are.”
Mornings will be jockless through the end of the year, Cavanah said, with plans to launch a new, full-service local morning show January 2. “We need to move on a show that complements a ‘more music’ approach, similar to what we’re doing on other [CBS Radio] classic hits stations,” he said. Speculation that the station might switch to sports or another format drew unequivocal denials from all sides.
No talent decisions have been made, but insiders under consideration include weekend and fill-in host Ken Cocker, and recently hired evening personality Dave Fogel, who hosted mornings on Cumulus Media classic hits WLS-FM (94.7) until last September.
In an interview Thursday, Volkman said he and Bohannon (whose real name is Joe Colborn) weren’t surprised when they learned their fate. “You could argue how much was our fault, but DJs always take the fall for the ratings,” he said. “We knew what was going on. Not that we were heavy personalities [on the air]. That was the least we’ve talked and the least amount of personality we’ve done in my career. Getting to talk just eight or nine minutes an hour, it sometimes felt like we were taking free money.”
Before they joined K-Hits, Eddie & Jobo had begun redefining themselves as a talk team, working weekends and fill-in on Cumulus Media news/talk WLS-AM (890). In hindsight, they might have been better off sticking with that format rather than returning to music. “It might have been kind of a step back,” Volkman acknowledged. “But it was a risk we had to take because it was a full-time offer. We were never really thrilled that we weren’t able to do what we do.”
Once their current deal is up, Volkman said, they’ll be “looking at every option,” but hope to stay in Chicago. “We’re from here. We’re too old to be jaunting around WKRP in Cincinnati up and down the dial,” he said. Volkman is a second-generation Chicago broadcaster whose famous father, Harry Volkman, retired after more than 50 years as a meteorologist.
For now, Eddie & Jobo will be enjoying yet another extended vacation with pay. But this one won’t be nearly as long or as lucrative as last time when CBS Radio bought out their multimillion-dollar contracts from Top 40 WBBM-FM (96.3) in 2008.
“On the last paid vacation I went to Italy,” Volkman quipped. “This time I think I’ll go to Olive Garden.”