Jerry? Jerry? Jerry?

The recently-released ratings contain the first measure of WTAM/1100’s experiment: replacing conservative Premiere syndicated talker Glenn Beck with liberal syndicated talker Jerry Springer, a Clear Channel product out of WCKY/1530 Cincinnati. (Springer is also heard on the Air America liberal talk network, but WTAM’s carriage of the show is not tied into AAR.)

If you believe numbers reportedly given out by Beck on his show recently, the news isn’t good for Jerry. OMW hears Beck told an area listener that Springer’s show has roughly a third of the ratings Beck enjoyed on the Cleveland talk powerhouse. Beck also noted something we alluded to in the 12-plus number breakdown earlier on the blog – his presence on Akron CC talker WHLO/640 has helped bring that station into the Cleveland ratings book for the first time in ages.

OMW would like to remind various radio observers that Rome wasn’t built in a day (no, not Jim Rome), and that one book does not a trend make.

You could almost consider the Beck-for-Springer trade a three hour format change for WTAM. Though both do talk radio shows, the audiences are not at all compatible. There’s always a cross-section of people who “tune in to hear what the other side says”, but it’s no surprise that Springer’s first book features an apparent 2/3rds drop in the audience. The challenge for WTAM – build back up from there. If anyone in the market can pull it off, it’s WTAM, which is a powerhouse 50,000 watt talk station that regularly scores in the ratings. (In other words, it can lose that much audience in one time slot without falling off the map, and no other AM in the market can.)

The problem here, in OMW’s humble opinion, is that Springer is not all that good of a host. He’s not awful, but he’s not all that great. Skills-wise, he pales in comparison to Beck, putting ideology aside…even after improving somewhat from a very rocky start. Meanwhile, anyone in Northeast Ohio in the mood for liberal talk in the 9-noon slot has an alternative: Democracy/Jones’ Stephanie Miller on Akron’s WARF/1350 “Radio Free Ohio”. Stephanie’s show is more humor-oriented, but her radio skills – she is a veteran of the Los Angeles market – run rings around Springer. And, unlike “Jerry”…she’s not doing her show as a springboard to a future political race…

Of course, though it puts a decent signal into much of greater Cleveland, WARF is not a Cleveland market station, and it’s certainly not nearly the signal equivalent of WTAM. But in listening to Stephanie’s show on and off the past few weeks, we’d guess that the folks at CC’s Akron/Canton HQ on Freedom Avenue have to be happy to hear a lot of Akron and Cleveland area callers…

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