Chicago Media Weighs In On Rover

When 30 year-old Shane French – nom du chien “Rover” – takes over for Howard Stern in a half-dozen markets in early January, Chicago will be by far his largest market. So, it’s no surprise that the Chicago media is focusing on his ascension to the Windy City, where he’ll relocate after a successful run at Cleveland’s WXTM/92.3 (which will still carry “Rover’s Morning Glory” as an affiliate).

The Chicago Tribune’s Phil Rosenthal talks to Rover, and gets a bead on his feelings…and describes his show. One notable quote: “Clearly, in Rover, the city is not getting a candidate to become the next host of public television’s ‘Chicago Tonight.’ Instead it’s a guy who once staged a hoax in which he pretended a cat had been tethered to a helium balloon and let loose aloft.”

The article notes that Mr. French was born in the Chicagoland area, and spent his earliest years in the Chicago suburbs before being moved by his family out west. His sidekick, “Duji”, has spent time on Chicago airwaves, as a co-host for veteran Chi-town personality Kevin Matthews.

But, though it’s a homecoming for Rover, it’s not a radio homecoming, as he’s never been on in that market. Rover’s most notable stint before coming to Cleveland was doing nights at a Denver rock station called “The Peak”…the gig that first brought him to the attention of those watching radio nationally.

The Tribune article also quotes Infinity’s Joel Hollander, who repeats his belief that Rover will skew younger than Stern. And Hollander talked up Rover’s ratings on WXTM, saying he’s a “strong #2” to Stern on WNCX/98.5.

It’ll be interesting to see if he can overtake one of Stern’s other replacements in the only market where they’ll compete head-to-head…as David Lee Roth will air in Stern’s current slot on WNCX.

Meanwhile, media beat writer dean Robert Feder is far less kind to Rover in his column in the Chicago Sun-Times, ripping Infinity management for passing over a host of known Chicago radio/media quantities in the time they had to come up for a replacement for Stern on WCKG:

“So what did they do in all that time? They bungled Mancow Muller, alienated Jonathon Brandmeier, overlooked Mike North, rejected Eddie & Jobo, disregarded Bob Sirott, stiffed Garry Meier, ignored Steve Cochran and lost Kevin Matthews.

Instead of all those options — or any others worthy of Chicago — they decided to go with some dog from Cleveland named Rover.”

Ouch. That’s a bite!

Speak Your Mind