Joe Finan’s Motivation

Later today, veteran radio host Joe Finan takes the microphone again…returning to the airwaves with a new show on Clear Channel liberal talk WARF/1350 Akron (“Radio Free Ohio”), 11 AM to 1 PM weekdays. Finan’s new program comes a year and change after he retired, with much fanfare, after nearly 20 years at Media-Com Akron market talk WNIR/100.1.

Not many expected Joe to “cross the street” and get back behind the microphone, even after Clear Channel flipped sports WTOU to a liberal talk format. Joe’s been in radio for well over 50 years, and would probably admit himself that he’s no “spring chicken”…he’s well into his 70’s. In addition, Finan battled health issues, including multiple bypass heart surgery, in his last year working as WNIR’s afternoon drive host.

So, why’s he coming back? To us…it appears that he wants to go after his long-time nemesis, WNIR midday host Howie Chizek. With a vengeance. And for the first time ever, he’ll be able to do it on Howie’s time slot turf.

It’s probably not stretching it to say that Finan and Chizek weren’t exactly buddies when they both worked at Broadcast Park. Listeners frequently heard both men throw zingers at each other on each others’ programs. When one of Joe’s regular liberal callers showed up on Howie’s show, you knew it, and Howie never let you forget. And the same happened in return, if a diehard conservative dared to broach the WNIR phone lines after 3 PM. Some of it could certainly be chalked up to “radio theatre”, but you definitely got the idea Howie and Joe didn’t like each other.

Some of it, it would appear, would fall to Howie’s occasional boasts about his own ratings – no, Howie, we don’t believe you have millions and millions of listeners in market #73 – and an occasional aside by Chizek that the afternoon show with Finan may not be quite as popular.

Fast forward to 2006, and a promo heard for Finan’s new show on “Radio Free Ohio” a few days ago. Joe sounded like he’s chomping at the bit to show up Howie…we don’t remember the exact wording, but we’re pretty sure we heard Joe make a “fat man” crack in the promo, referring to his former lead-in and future competitor.

A promo which has been running over the weekend jokes that Finan will finally get the duct tape taken off his mouth today at 11 AM, and finally get to have at it. It also jokingly calls its own new host an “old windbag” and promises that they’ll use a cattle prod to keep him in line.

That’s Joe Finan, the Last Angry Old Man of Liberal Talk Radio. No matter if the WARF promos are a bit over the top, you couldn’t pry OMW away from the radio with a crowbar at 11:05 this morning. At very least, we’re dying to hear what Joe’s got to say about Howie when he’s not in the same building with him…

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