Robservations: Steve Dahl leaving WLS afternoon show Dec. 21

Dag Juhlin, Steve Dahl and Brendan Greeley

Robservations on the media beat:

The end is near for Steve Dahl on WLS 890-AM. After four years as afternoon host on the Cumulus Media news/talk station, the Chicago radio legend and Radio Hall of Famer has confirmed his final show will air December 21. His announcement followed a report here Tuesday that WLS is planning a major overhaul of its weekday lineup early next year. In the latest Nielsen Audio survey, Dahl’s show ranked 25th with a 1.4 percent share. “I would have liked to finish with some better radio ratings, but that didn’t happen,” he wrote in an email. “WLS-AM was always going to be an uphill battle, and circumstances just didn’t lend themselves to us being able to breakout like we hoped we would.” Dahl, 63, will continue to produce his daily podcast with co-hosts Dag Juhlin and Brendan Greeley at dahl.com.

Here is the text of Dahl’s email:

Hi, Robert, I know you know probably know everything, so I’m just sending along my thoughts on what’s transpiring as I understand it (still some moving pieces):

I love radio and will miss being on the air every day. The last four years have flown by, and I think Dag, Brendan and I have been doing good solid work, both on the radio and on our podcast. I would have liked to finish with some better radio ratings, but that didn’t happen.
 
WLS-AM was always going to be an uphill battle, and circumstances just didn’t lend themselves to us being able to breakout like we hoped we would. The podcast numbers continue to grow every day, so that’s encouraging.

Cumulus is still a partner in our podcast network, and we will continue to help them expand their digital footprint. Podcasts are clearly the future for personality-driven programming. I’m flattered that the folks here see us as an important bridge to that future.

We will be going off the air on December 21st, but the podcast will continue in all of its splendid glory at dahl.com.

These last few years have been filled with some personal challenges. My father passed away, I was in the hospital for two weeks, and my wife has been battling breast cancer. The support I have received from the fans here in Chicago has been a great comfort.

I’m grateful to have been given the chance to spend a few more years doing live local radio. I will miss it. I hope it misses me a little bit too. We’ve been through a lot together.

Megan Hickey

After one year as a per-diem reporter at ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7, Megan Hickey has been hired as a full-time general assignment reporter at CBS-owned WBBM-Channel 2, starting Thursday. Hickey, a Hinsdale native and graduate of Georgetown University and the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, previously worked for WEWS, the ABC affiliate in Cleveland, and WNDU, the NBC affiliate in South Bend, Indiana. At CBS 2 she’ll be working for news director Jeff Harris, her former boss in Cleveland.

Alpana Singh

Friday marks the return of Alpana Singh as host of “Check Please!,” the weekly restaurant review series on Window to the World Communications WTTW-Channel 11. Singh, a Chicago restaurateur and sommelier, hosted the show from 2003 to 2012 before Catherine De Orio’s five-year run. “I’m thrilled to return to one of the most unique and authentic shows in the restaurant and food world,” Singh said in a statement. “Check Please!” airs at 8 p.m. Fridays.

Jerry Springer

Now we know what’s next for Jerry Springer. The former Chicago-based ringmaster, whose daytime talk show has run its course after 28 seasons, will host a new syndicated daytime courtroom show next fall, according to the New York Post. “Judge Jerry” will feature Springer wearing a judge’s robe and seated behind a desk, reports Michael Starr, adding: “It’s expected to incorporate some elements of his notoriously rowdy current program, including a raucous, fist-pumping studio audience breaking into chants of ‘Jerry! Jerry! Jerry!’ and Springer ending the show with his signature line, ‘Take care of yourself, and each other.’” No word yet on a Chicago outlet for the show.

John Records Landecker

How much does the great John Records Landecker love radio? The Radio Hall of Famer is spending three days this week filling in as Danielle Tufano’s morning sidekick on WERV 95.9-FM, the Alpha Media classic hits station in Aurora. (The River’s morning host, Scott Mackay, is on vacation.) “[Danielle] is running the show,” Landecker explained. “I’m just there to say ‘yes’ and giggle.”

Jubal Flagg

Jubal Flagg, who co-hosts the Seattle-based syndicated “Brooke & Jubal” morning show with Brooke Fox on Hubbard Radio adult contemporary WSHE 100.3-FM, is making a rare appearance in these parts. Flagg will perform his stand-up comedy act next month at two Zanies Comedy Clubs here. He’ll appear November 8 and 9 at Zanies in Rosemont, and November 10 at Zanies in Chicago. (Here is the link for tickets.)

Tuesday’s comment of the day: Sam Accardo: Steve Dahl has put together a listenable team and he has survived in spite of being sandwiched between two right-wing conspiratorial purveyors of hate radio. He’s not to blame for the lousy ratings. The show is never promoted or advertised, and creatively Steve has never been better. He’s the only one on Chicago radio with an audience that’s grown up with him, and he’s grown right along with us.