Starting January 26, the veteran Chicago broadcaster will hold forth from 3 to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, replacing the duo of Bill Leff and Wendy Snyder, who will return to their former midday slot from 9 a.m. to noon weekdays. To accommodate the moves, additional changes were announced to WGN’s weekend lineup.
It’s sweet vindication for Conn, whose contract was not renewed after 25 years at Cumulus Media news/talk WLS AM 890. Now he’ll be competing for afternoon drive listeners against Steve Dahl, who replaced him and co-host Richard Roeper at WLS in November.
“This is really a very, very special place,” Conn said of his new radio home in an appearance Thursday on Steve Cochran’s morning show. “It truly is.”
Among daily contributors to Conn’s show will be two mainstays of Tribune Media WGN-Channel 9 — chief meteorologist Tom Skilling and main news anchor Mark Suppelsa.
“Roe craves what’s behind the curtain of breaking news,” Todd Manley vice president of content and programming at WGN, said in a statement. “He’s a master of investigative conversation, so you’ll learn and you’ll laugh.” Noting the roles of Skilling and Suppelsa on the show, Manley said: “We’re building an even stronger bridge between our radio journalists at the Tribune Tower and the incomparable newsroom at WGN-TV.”
John Williams, who has been hosting from 10 a.m. to noon weekdays since last May, will move to weekends as part of a revised Saturday lineup at WGN. Starting January 31, Kathy O’Malley and Judy Markey, who are on from 10 a.m. to noon, will be followed by a new Saturday edition of “The Business Lunch” hosted by news anchor Steve Bertrand, Williams from 1 to 3 p.m., and a new sports/talk show, “The Beat,” hosted by Jarrett Payton, Connor McKnight and Adam Hoge from 3 to 7 p.m.
Williams continues his full-time duties as afternoon host at WCCO, the CBS Radio news/talk station in Minneapolis. “Two shows in two cities – five days a week – is just too much for someone who crafts talk the way John does and WCCO has first rights to John,” Manley said.
Odd man out in the shuffle is Bill Moller, who has been hosting Saturday afternoons for most of the past eight years. The setback comes just one month after production ceased on “First Business,” the weekday morning syndicated news show Moller anchored for Chicago-based Weigel Broadcasting.
Before joining WGN in 2006, Moller spent 14 years as a news anchor and host at CLTV, the Tribune Media cable news channel.