With anything that involves Erich Mancow Muller, there’s always a little bit of truth and a whole lot of bull. Why should this be any different?
On Friday Cumulus Media officially announced the veteran Chicago radio personality would be joining classic rock WLUP FM 97.9 as morning host, starting March 30. That much is true.
The announcement followed a two-week stunt in which the station pretended to be unable to make contact with Muller after he was named winner of The Loop’s Morning Show Search. In fact, he agreed to the deal before he left on vacation out of the country.
“This will be my final act in media,” Muller wrote from Japan in an exchange of text messages Friday. “To quote Michael Jackson: ‘This is it.’ . . . I just want to do something to bring joyous noise to a city that is increasingly difficult for hardworking men to exist in.”
The unabashed rabble-rouser and reformed shock jock wasted no time going on the offensive against old foes Steve Dahl (“too lazy”) and Jonathon Brandmeier (“too afraid”), both employed by Cumulus Media news/talk WLS AM 890. He also took shots at Pete McMurray, morning host at Hubbard Radio classic hits WDRV FM 97.1, among others.
Muller had kinder words for Pat Cassidy, his co-host during their midday run at WLS from 2008 to 2010. Cassidy returned to CBS Radio all-news WBBM AM 780/WCFS FM 105.9, where he and Felicia Middlebrooks reign atop the ratings as morning news anchors.
Amid all of his usual bluster and bravado, Muller said he plans to donate a portion of his salary to Chicago Children’s Advocacy Center, calling it “an organization I care deeply about.” I believe he was serious about that.
Here are highlights of Muller’s remarks in our exchange:
- “It feels like ‘The Carol Burnett Show’ and I’m Carol. Surrounded by my dream team — and that’s really the reason why I’m doing radio this time around at all. My goal is to get my guy Abe Kanan and the rest of my cast of characters ready to inherit the beast. Turd will be back along with DJ LuvCheez, Carrie Ann DeYoung, Freak’s Niece, Big Al Roker Jr., Big Gooney and voice maestro Abe.”
- “Nobody else has been able to ‘come back’ into the Chicago radio market yet. Until now. When the smoke clears, we will make history once more. We will be victorious. Dahl is too lazy and Blandmeyer too afraid and still sadly clinging to a faded past. Do you realize when I arrived on the radio scene in 1994 Blandmeyer was even then trying for a comeback? I’m the only one of that ilk that has proven myself in this new PPM [Portable People Meter] reality.”
- “Pat Cassidy is a dear friend and sidekick from my time at WLS. He doesn’t have a malicious bone in his body. I’m wishing him continued success. There is room at the big table for all of us. That’s the secret revealed.”
- “There are a few I’d like to crush, however. Pete McMurray, for example. I extended an olive branch to him in friendship and he mistook it for weakness. A fatal mistake. His faux-rock easy listening elevator Muzak show will be the first casualty as a result of our return. . . . Liz Wilde [another participant in The Loop’s Morning Show Search] was so vile she missed her shot at returning to radio as my co-host.”
- “I quit syndication and went off the grid in October of 2014. Ready to tour the world. Ready for adventure. That contest week on The Loop was but a lark. Then the impossible happened: It was fun again. Inconceivable! I no longer wish to be the canary in the coal mine. Fly or die. I flew and and now I just want to do something to bring joyous noise to a city that is increasingly difficult for hardworking men to exist in.”
- “Shockingly, in John Dickey [executive vice president of Cumulus Media] I found a kindred spirit. We both love radio and want to win. That’s rare in someone of his exalted position. I actually like the guy.”
- “In the past, myopic middle-management types have always been the rub for creative types in radio. The Loop currently has a talented group that’s been looking for a quarterback. It’s a station made up of people willing to do the hard work for a big win.”
- “The world we knew and loved is ending. We want to be a happy diversion. Mancow in 2015 (and beyond) will be the party for the end of it all. I dare people not to smile while they listen. Oh, and if they think a little? Then we’ve made a horrible mistake.”