Jack Diamond, a longtime Washington, D.C., radio personality, appears to be in the cards as the new morning host at WLS FM 94.7.
All this week Diamond will be on the Cumulus Media classic hits station from 5:30 to 9 a.m. with current morning host Brant Miller. According to plan, insiders say, the arrangement could become permanent, with Diamond as host, Miller in a reduced role as co-host and weather reporter, and Marti Jones continuing as news anchor.
Though unfamiliar to most Chicago listeners, Diamond is well known to Jan Jeffries, senior vice president corporate/programming for Cumulus Media and program director of WLS FM. The two worked together at WRQX in Washington, where Diamond hosted mornings for more than two decades. In the 1980s, they also worked at the former WQXI FM in Atlanta.
Reached Sunday, Jeffries would say only that he invited Diamond to sit in through Friday. “Jack worked with me in Washington and Atlanta, and it seemed like it would be fun to put him in with Brant for a week,” he said.
Last month WLS FM came close to signing Ed Volkman and Joe Colborn, the radio duo known as Eddie & Jobo, to host mornings. But the plan fell through when Colborn turned down a 2½-year deal worth $1.2 million, leaving Volkman in the lurch. “There will be no Eddie & Jobo anymore,” Volkman declared. “The offer was there, but only one of us wanted it.”
While ratings for WLS FM have been on a roll for most of the year (with middays, afternoons and evenings in the top 10), mornings continue to underperform for the station. In the latest Nielsen Audio survey, Miller’s show tied for 17th place overall with a 2.3 precent share. Among listeners between 25 and 54, it tied for 24th with a 1.6 share.
Miller, 64, whose main job is chief meteorologist at NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5, has been doubling as morning host on WLS FM since October 2012. He previously hosted mornings on the station from 2008 to 2010.
Diamond, 60, whose real name is Harvey Joel Fischer, was born in the Washington area and spent most of his career there, including 24 years on WRQX. After he was dropped in April 2013, he briefly hosted mornings on WLYF in Miami Gardens, Florida.
In 2004 Diamond was tapped by news/talk WLS AM 890 to join weekend host Teri O’Brien when she filled in for morning personalities Don and Roma Wade. The Wades were off the air for seven weeks during protracted contract negotiations.