Home Media Clear Channel Can Make NYC’s Historic Local Radio Station WOR Hip and...

When you hear Clear Channel has bought a new station, you tremble with fear. But WOR-AM, New York’s last truly local radio station with a neighborhood fell and long local history, needs immediate improvement. Buckley Broadcasting had run it into the ground, proudly. If Clear Channel wants to do the right thing for oncem they’ll listen. WOR has become a weird mixture of crazy right wing politics and a few features of interest. The Queen of WOR is Joan Hamburg. The city can’t live without her. Clear Channel can only succeed if they leave Joan right where she is, for two hours, and promote her.

What else? Either John Gambling has to go or be de-politicized. He’s moved farther to the right than Pat Robertson. He sounds absolutely nuts when he pontificates. I break out laughing sometimes when he goes off on a subject. He sounds nuts, and his “team” loathes him. No more Gambling, rambling, unless he can right the ship. Enough is enough. There isn’t a local politician he doesn’t pander to.

Bring back Joey Reynolds. The great overnight radio show that Reynolds had was replaced by George Koory’s wacky syndicated show about aliens, space travel, and the end of the world. The only good thing about is is the music some producer plays in the bumpers. Otherwise “Coast to Coast”  is also kind of a joke. You know you’re in trouble when Whitley Streiber is your go to guy. Earth to Clear Channel: Joey Reynolds had a wonderful show that showcased local talent and made you feel like you were in New York.

The next best thing is Dr. Joy Browne. Who doesn’t like listening to listeners’ family and sex problems? And Joy Browne is a good combo of feisty and mellow. She has great advice. Give her some prominence.

WOR used to have Joan Rivers. They need her or someone like her back. The station is local–really I mean that local–and should be showing New York’s theater, music, and gossip, movies, etc every night. Maybe Regis would do a show. He and Joy could host it from their apartment every morning, the Fitzgeralds used to. What a goof that would be.

But please: no more hate talk. WABC has that all sewn up. Michael Savage sounds deranged. WOR has a chance now to be hip and fun, on the edge, a destination. But for the most part right now it’s repellant. Clear Channel, thinking out of the box and listening to New York, can fix that.

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Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.
6 replies to this post
  1. We hope Clear Channel owners and management will listen to their programs on their newly-acquired radio station,WOR-AM.

    Sadly, it is not an improvement to date. Their new talk show hosts are communicating the same mean-spirired commentary (propaganda) that Rush is known for. His recent comments need to be beeped off

    We thought you would have some bright new ideas and hosts. This mean-spirited commentary lost the election for Romney. It is now about to lose
    many in your audience of listeners.

    We followed WOR-AM over the years. We hope you will not fall into the same old routine of Hannity, Rush and Beck. Audiences are smarter than you think.

    Respect us and you will succeed and see profits and rating increase.

    Your night show host appears to believe that shock radio is what his audience wants. Some of your subbing hosts are in the same mode and their subject matter is not only misrepresented–it is wrong.

    Sad but true. We hope you will not continue to earn the going commentary:

    WOR= Worst On Radio.

    We care. It is your call. Time for a change? We think so. And, a change for the better would be what we
    hope for. It would be most welcome.


  2. agreed, Joan Hamburg’s advice is always excellent and her interviews are interesting and well planned. should clear channel get rid of anyone (and they should), Joan should not be included – and some of the old and long-dispensed with people should be brought back. New York deserves great local radio!

  3. “…WOR-AM, New York’s last truly local radio station…”

    Really?? I think WFUV certainly belongs in this category, too, with it’s lineup of New York radio legends: Dennis Elsas, Vin Scelsa, Bob Sherman, Rich Conaty, and, until recently, the late Pete Fornatale, to name just a few. Darren DeVivo is another local who’s been with the station his entire career.

  4. Clear Channel owns more radio stations (850) than anyone else in the United States. They also own Premiere Radio Networks, the company that syndicates the radio shows of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Glenn Beck, among others.

    Free Market does not like Monopolies.
    The point is most conservatives didn’t want Mitt since he was the most left wing candidate in the GOP due to his record, just like Ryan, but the stations target conservative audiences and have been soft on Romney to help him win. No need for campaign money to buy ads when you corner the market on ads which most don’t know it.

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