Tuesday, April 19, 2011

SOS - Save Our Shannon

I haven't actually been able to break away for lunch at work in several weeks now ... I seem to be going through yet another stretch of 12-14 hour days ... and quite a few Saturdays lately, too ...

So yesterday, when I finally had a chance to break away for 45 minutes, 
I turned on what USED to be The True Oldies Channel (94.7 - WLS / FM) here in Chicago to listen to a little bit of Scott Shannon on his mid-day show ...

Only to find that Scott was missing in action ...

And local deejay Tom O'Toole was sitting in ...

Except it didn't sound like he was just "sitting in" ...

And I didn't hear him mention anything about "sitting in" ...

In fact, it sounded more like this was his regular time slot!!!

(Now I suppose he COULD be on vacation ... having not been able to listen in awhile, perhaps he mentioned something about this last week ... but normally when Scott is away, Blake Hayes ... one of his WPLJ cohorts ... is the one filling in. But now that True Oldies is no more in Chicago ... and they're going for a more "localized" sound ... I guess WLS-FM will use one of their OWN jocks in these types of situations!)

Honestly, with all the hoopla going on here lately regarding the major change overs going on at the station, I guess we've become "conditioned" to expect the worse.  Would they REALLY just take a guy like Scott Shannon off the air without saying anything?  I can't say that I'd be at all surprised by ANYTHING that they do anymore ... the message being sent is "oldies ... out"!

Chicagoland Oldies Music Fans are outraged and, from what I understand, have been bombarding the station with letters demanding they go back to the way things used to be.  (Even a guy like Chicago Radio Legend Dick Biondi seems to be having to "conform" to the new playlist ... normally, Dick pretty much had carte blanche to play whatever his listeners wanted to hear ... but now THAT seems to be changing, too!)

I still don't get it ... when you've got a TREMENDOUS resource like Scott Shannon available to you ... a guy who has won enough broadcasting and programming awards to fill an entire trophy room ... a guy who bears the distinction of being (as described by Billboard Magazine, The Radio Hall of Fame and the majority of his peers) as "The Most Influential Programmer of the Past Twenty Years" ... the guy who routinely delivered the BEST ratings of the entire station line-up (and returned the station to The Top Five with his True Oldies format) ... why does one feel compelled to jack with the formula?  And why now, when the virtually unlistenable K-Hits takes to the air with virtually the same, identical selection of songs?

Now I'm sure that between them Michael Damsky and Michael LaCrosse (both of whom, I've been told by at least half a dozen readers, have returned nasty, snide emails when questioned about the new direction the station is taking) have SOME sort of master game plan that they believe will take the station to the next level.  (Between them, THEY'VE won enough broadcasting and programming awards to fill a small glove box!)  And Forgotten Hits is prepared to give BOTH of these guys equal time to defend and explain their actions right here on our website if they'd like to do so.  (I will be the first to admit that we've been pretty hard on these guys over the past couple of weeks ... and with all the controversy spilled in these pages recently regarding the way WLS-FM is completely DESTROYING everything that Scott Shannon built in the way of The True Oldies Channel, I'm sure we've done more than our fair share of fueling the fire.  As such, when I clicked on the station yesterday and found Scott Shannon to be missing in action, I couldn't help but wonder ...)

I mean, who would have EVER thought that we'd all be missing Scott Shannon SO badly?!?!?  When he first came on here in Chicago, many fans were reluctant to give him a shot, knowing that he was broadcasting from New York ... and yet now we're finding it VERY hard to live without him!!!

I have absolutely NO idea what the "master game plan" is over at WLS - FM anymore ... in fact, I'm not convinced there IS one ... 

And honestly, MOST of the people that I've talked to don't really care ... 94.7 WITHOUT Scott Shannon and The True Oldies Channel just isn't worth listening to ... and the brand new K-Hits is even WORSE!!!

I'm telling you, Chicagoland is PRIMED for a brand new Oldies Station that actually PLAYS the oldies ... the music from 1955 - 1975 ... and nothing BUT the music of 1955 - 1975.  Leave the late '70's and early '80's (and ... shudder ... even some of the early '90's!!!!) to these oldies / greatest hits pretenders.  If SOMEBODY in town will simply step in and program the REAL OLDIES again, listeners will FLOCK to the station ... but they have to be COMMITTED to this music.

Of course it'd be REALLY nice if that "somebody" was ... Scott Shannon!!!
We would LOVE to have him back on our local dial ... (and would love it even more if he came back and kicked some serious butt in the ratings book, too!  Nothing would please me more than to see him teach these young, upstart know-it-alls that you "Don't Mess With Success"!)

Right now, I don't even know if that's possible ... or just some silly pipe dream ... but sometimes (as Ral Donner taught us oh so long ago) ... you just don't know what you've got until you lose it!!!

We miss ya, Scott!!!  PLEASE say it isn't over!!!  (kk)

He's been called "The Most Influential Programmer of the Past Twenty Years" ... and that seems to be the label that's stuck ... 
So today I'd like to offer up:

When it comes to programming, Scott Shannon is the Mary Poppins of radio ...
Practically perfect in every way.

(Think that one'll catch on?!?!?)
Kent Kotal
Forgotten Hits