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Michael Riedel: Once You Start Talking About People’s Personal Lives, There’s No Going Back

“If you go down that path, then you’re headed towards National Enquirer territory and as a journalist, you can never really come back from that.”

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A photo of Michael Riedel and the 710 WOR logo
(Photo: 710 WOR)

710 WOR morning host Michael Riedel got spent years working as a Broadway reporter and columnist before shifting to the New York news/talker. He has one guiding principle for the radio show that he has kept from his writing days.

Riedel was discussing his previous role at the New York Post with colleague Mark Simone on his midday program and said there are just some things you shouldn’t talk about.

“I got all the backstage stories when I was writing the column about Broadway for the New York Post. You know, celebrities, the leading lady fighting with the producer, lawsuits,” Riedel shared. “But I always drew the line at people’s private lives. Because I thought if you go down that path, then you’re headed towards National Enquirer territory and as a journalist, you can never really come back from that.

“If somebody filed a sexual harassment suit against somebody, I covered those. That’s fine. I mean, as soon as a suit is filed, it’s a matter of public record. I could get into it, but I never got into who’s sleeping with whom and who’s doing this thing. Not to say I didn’t know, and I loved hearing about it, but I drew the line at people’s personal lives when I wrote about them.”

Simone joked that he admired Riedel’s ability to converse with celebrities and know “exactly what that guy would be fascinated by.”

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News Radio

Brian Kilmeade: Show is at Disadvantage Because Fox News Doesn’t Own Any Radio Stations

“A lot of that with these syndicated companies is ‘Oh, yeah. This is our guy. This is our woman, we’ll put them on.’ That’s kind of the way radio works.”

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A photo of Brian Kilmeade
(Photo: Roy Rochlin | Getty Images)

The Brian Kilmeade Show has seen growth in recent months, with several new stations carrying the program. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t a constant uphill climb for the Fox News host.

Many nationally syndicated shows air on stations that are also owned by the syndicators themselves, like Premiere Networks and Westwood One. Kilmeade told 77 WABC’s Sid Rosenberg that his show — which is distributed by Fox News Radio — doesn’t have the same luxury.

“We don’t own any stations. Fox doesn’t have any leverage, just like you guys. If people are going to pick up our show syndicated they’re going to pick it up on the quality of the show,” said Kilmeade, whose show airs on WABC in New York.

“A lot of that with these syndicated companies is ‘Oh, yeah. This is our guy. This is our woman, we’ll put them on.’ That’s kind of the way radio works.”

Brian Kilmeade also told Rosenberg his show is on the verge of being added in a “major city” in Texas, and is also nearing a deal to be heard locally on a station in a “major city” in Connecticut, on top of recently being added by WRVA in Virginia.

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Curtis Sliwa: Syndication Has Destroyed Talk Radio

“Because of syndication, we haven’t been able to develop live and local talent all over this nation.”

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A photo of Curtis Sliwa
(Photo: CBS News)

77 WABC host Sid Rosenberg is considering taking his popular morning show into national syndication, but he doesn’t have the blessing of colleague Curtis Sliwa.

While discussing the possibility of Rosenberg joining the likes of Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, Clay Travis, and Buck Sexton in the talk radio ranks of nationally syndicated hosts, Sliwa shared that he believes the industry has been ruined by the development of syndication.

“All syndication sucks. It has destroyed talk radio,” Sliwa sternly said. “Because of syndication, we haven’t been able to develop live and local talent all over this nation, because it’s just so easy for a station to plug in syndication.

“I was at the original WABC when Rush (Limbaugh) was doing local, and eventually national. He was better (locally). (Sean) Hannity? Better! Mark Levin? Better! Much better! Because all of a sudden, you get syndicated, and it’s milquetoast. You gotta hit your marks. You can’t offend people.”

Sliwa then told Rosenberg he would hate being a syndicated host.

“Program Directors from two-watt stations that you can’t even find on a map — ‘I’m gonna get rid of the Sid Rosenberg show, and that’s gonna create a domino effect!’ — do you need that irritation?!”

Rosenberg then admitted that being a local host allows him flexibility in the program’s clock, which has led to issues inside the hallways at 77 WABC.

“I don’t necessarily do a good job with that because I always consider content to be more important. I think the ads can wait,” said Rosenberg. “And that has caused, I mean screaming matches — screaming matches — in the hallway between me and Chad (Lopez). I love and respect Chad. He’s my boss and the best boss I’ve ever had. But I have a way of doing things and I don’t want the clock to get in the way and when it comes to syndication, you’re right, that becomes a huge pain in the ass.”

Curtis Sliwa appears on Sid and Friends in the Morning each weekday but said that would end if Rosenberg took the program to a nationally syndicated audience.

“You will lose me. I will not do syndicated radio. That has destroyed talk radio,” Sliwa said defiantly.

Sliwa continued by noting that he has been tasked with finding new talent by John Catsimatidis and Chad Lopez in an effort to combat George Soros, who recently became the largest shareholder in Audacy.

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WLS-AM 890 Celebrates 100th Anniversary

Several famous radio moments took place on WLS-AM 890 during its early days.

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A photo of the WLS 100 anniversay logo

WLS-AM 890 is celebrating a large milestone Friday, as the Chicago news/talk station marks the 100th anniversary of its sign-on date.

The station debuted on Saturday, April 12th, 1924 with the call letters WLS, which stood for “World’s Largest Store,” as it was owned by Sears, Roebuck and Co. The retailer sold the station to Prairie Farmer magazine in 1928. Through a series of ownership changes, it was eventually purchased by ABC before being sold to Citadel Broadcasting in 2007, before Citadel was acquired by Cumulus Media — the current owner of the station — in 2011.

The station has undergone several different formats throughout its life, spending decades as one of the nation’s premier CHR stations until it made the full-time switch to talk radio in 1989.

Several famous radio moments took place on WLS-AM 890 during its early days. The famous Hindenburg disaster was brought to audiences around the globe by WLS reporter Herbert Morrison who decided “Oh, the humanity!” while seeing the zeppelin burst into flames. The station was also the first to play The Beatles in the United States.

Currently, the Chicago news/talk station airs a combination of local and nationally syndicated programs. Steve Cochran helms mornings from 5:30-9 AM, before syndicated hosts Chris Plante, Dan Bongino, and Ben Shapiro run the station through middays. The Closing Bell, hosted by Bret Gogoel is a one-hour business program airing from 3-4 PM, while Gogoel also hosts PM Chicago, an additional one-hour local news program. Mark Levin and Michael Knowles round out the remaining hours of the programming lineup.

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