Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Abdul Is Out at WXNT: Let's Hear Your Conspiracy Theories!

Abdul Hakim-Shabazz has said this coming Friday will be his last day as morning show host for 1430 WXNT-AM. Let's have some fun and guess what job(s) he'll be moving onto:

  • Working for the Melina Kennedy campaign to coach her in a debate, playing the role of Greg Ballard.
  • Working for the Greg Ballard re-election campaign on how to effectively run against Bart Peterson...again.
  • A 2 year sabbatical so he can get started on his authorized biography of Governor Mitch Daniels, tentatively titled "My Man Mitch: The Book"
  • A 1 year sabbatical to travel with his buddy Thomas John on the latest Phish reunion tour.
  • Finally getting that coveted 8pm-10pm slot on WIBC

Let's hear your thoughts. Where do you think he's off to?

(On a serious note, I hope Abdul is leaving WXNT only for the best of reasons and that he's moving on to a pasture that's just as, if not more, green. I'm not into kicking a man when he's down)

UPDATE: The Featherstone on Government blog is claiming a source is telling him that WXNT ended Shabazz's radio show so that they can bring in a syndicated show (IE cheaper). WXNT is already packed to the gills with syndicated radio programming except for a few hours on the weekends. I certainly hope this isn't true. It's becoming all too common for radio stations to resort to syndicated programming on both the AM or FM dial, and it really causes our media to lose a bit of local flavor when that happens.

Sometimes radio stations try to go even cheaper than syndicated broadcasts and just pre-record the bits from out-of-state and try to pass it off as live, local radio. I remember a few years back, WRZX-FM, the "alternative rock" station, fired one of their popular afternoon hosts, Nigel. They replaced him with an out-of-state DJ that would pre-record the little bits FM music DJs do between songs and before commercials. In the promotion of this new DJ, they claimed he was locally based, but listeners of the radio station discovered it was impossible to call in to make requests. After a few weeks, WRZX dropped the act and fired the out-of-state DJ and had one of their weekend filler DJs take the spot until a permanent replacement could be found. Money saving schemes like this are pretty common at Clear Channel owned radio stations, including WRZX. It'd be harder for an AM radio station to pull something like this, but at this point, I wouldn't be surprised by anything. The Indianapolis Star also talked about this incident here.

UPDATE II: Abdul announced this morning that Entercom, the company that owns WXNT, will fill Abdul's time slot with the Wall Street Journal Report. I'm sure ratings are already quite low, but I can't imagine this will actually help.


  1. Turnover in the radio industry is constant. I'm surprised he was on the air as long as he was. I don't think there's any conspiracy, just change.

  2. There's no reason to listen to that station if he's not on. Like him or not, you at least stayed abreast of local politics. WXNT should be ashamed of themselves if this is true.

  3. I personally enjoy The Alan Colmes Show, if only because the radio callers are off-the-wall crazy and some of the segments/bits Colmes does are pretty good. I used to like Free Talk Live, but they're a one-trick pony.

  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  5. I won't allow any comments like that, Nicolas. Not this time.

  6. If you look at the three Entercom stations (WXNT-AM, WZPL (99.5) and WNTR (107.9)) the only on-air local personalities left are on WZPL (Smiley in the morning). They have gone from being a fully staffed and almost fully local (WXNT always had some syndication which is normal with newstalk stations) to being bare bones and almost fully syndicated. You have Ryan Seacrest and Kim Iverson on WZPL, no personalities at all on WNTR and now full syndication on WXNT. The thing is this has almost completely happened within the last 2 years since Jennifer Skjodt has taken over the stations. Yes, this is a time of tightening belts and saving money, but is it really worth attempting to destroy an entire group of stations and losing the majority of your listeners. I can remember the outcry of fans of the Kelly McKay show (on WZPL) when she left of her own accord and thought that was pretty bad, but now see it's nothing compared to what's happening with Abdul on WXNT. I've actually seen/heard some of their bigger clients saying they will be pulling advertising on the station because of it, not to mention how many listeners are leaving the station. While the station may not have had the highest ratings/billing, it is now sure to be on the road to oblivion in the coming months.

  7. There's only a handful of actual companies that advertise directly with WXNT, almost all within Abdul's time slot. I have a hard time imagining many of them will stay. Much of the rest (afternoon and evening programming ads) is government PSAs. WIBC airs them too, but not nearly in the same amount that WXNT does.

    That's very informative, Anon 10:54. I'mpersonally surprised Smiley is still around, especially considering how rushed out the door Julie and Steve were several years back.

  8. Anon 10:54 here again. I agree. They were however making pretty good billing with certain loyal advertisers as well as with Cocktails and Conversations. I see them going to nil in local advertising and actually only having PSA's and national ads. The reason they don't have much on with the syndication is due to the breaks, plus the gouging they try to do in pricing to be placed in a big name talkers show. Local advertisers just can't swing that.

    As for Smiley, from what I know he's been pretty miserable under the new regime (things may have looked up with the new PD, but I doubt it. Nothing bad on the PD there, more or less the insane management.) The only reason he's still around is his contract is sealed pretty airtight, but once they renegotiate and they either a) won't/can't pay him or b) have continued to make him unhappy, he'll make an attempt to go elsewhere. Until then he'll get away with what he can, be there as little as possible and continue collecting his check so he can live comfortably. Eventually, I could see him getting an offer in another market or station group and getting syndicated, but he'll never be any bigger at WZPL due to lack of vision/knowledge by those in high places.

  9. My, you do have a delicate and censorial nature, Matthew, as one might expect from a Clintonite. You would have been mortified by the public debate over the constitution. It's amusing to imagine what sort of vulgar blasphemy readers will imagine I posted. Alas, they would be disappointed to read what I actually wrote.

    You might want to revise your claim that "Comments are not screened."

  10. I don't even know what a Clintonite is. But if you want to take someone's job loss as a "victory" and spout conspiracies,go do it on your own blog.

    I love how people like you jump to "censorship!!!!!!!!" when you are not, in fact, being censored. This is my blog and I run it as I want. As I spell out in the Blog Policies "This blog reserves the right to deny posting comments, or remove comments after they have been posted, for any or no reason."

  11. I for one am sorry to see him go especially as a
    so called financial decision Didn't always agree with him but he was always interesting
    I know he will land on his feet


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