Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Jeff Dauler Stays Put; Elvis Has Entered the Building

When Jeff Dauler was pulled from Q100 because his deal ended on December 31, Atlanta radio was on the edge of its seat. I was very surprised and impressed by the volume of posts that the subject attracted on Rodney Ho’s AJC blog.

After all, while Jeff is smart and adds considerable substance to The Bert Show, he is still a co-host. If he had bolted, I believe the show would have recovered very quickly with hardly a quiver in the ratings.

The storm’s resolution made me feel good on a few fronts. First, Jeff stayed at Q100, his first choice, and probably did okay in terms of money. The outcome seemed far different from the rumors flying around during the negotiations. Second, Cumulus’ John Dickey for once might have realized, in light of the uproar, that employees represent more than just a salary. Third, Jeff indicated that staying at Q100 was most about being with his radio family.

While all this was going on, Jeff posted on his blog a parody of what had happened. In the post, he revealed he had received an offer from a competing station, which was later confirmed to be Star 94. Jeff wrote that Star had even “given him the keys.” And whether he was speaking literally or not, Star apparently wanted him pretty badly.

The offer at Star 94 was rumored to be afternoon drive. Jeff is obviously not a disc jockey so Star likely wanted him to start a Cindy & Ray-type afternoon show. At first, I wondered why Star 94 thought a former co-host would be a draw in afternoon drive. But after seeing the huge reaction to Jeff’s situation, I’m thinking Star could have been right.

Mornings are Star 94’s problem, and Jeff in afternoons left me wondering why the station would not have had Jeff debut a new morning show, and move Cindy & Ray back to afternoons. That was Star’s only option to steal from Bert. Moreover, mornings are holding Star back in other dayparts.

If the afternoon rumor was true, did Star 94 feel that Jeff’s big fan base notwithstanding, he would not have been able to pull listeners away from Bert? Did the station think afternoons would work better since there was no direct competition? Do Cindy & Ray have a contract that requires they remain in AM drive?

Star 94 is definitely in a box, given its inability to move a morning show that hasn’t been able to ding either The Bert Show or B98.5’s Steve & Vikki. So does the offer to Jeff Dauler smack of being an opportunistic idea or a desperate move? Star’s recent shift to Hot AC represents its best chance of separating itself from Q100.

The announcement by 105.7 The Groove that the syndicated Elvis Duran would be its morning show brought groans from posters on Radio-Info. Their take is Clear Channel is being its cheap self.

The posters are right, of course. Yet the move by The Groove makes sense as a business decision. The Groove is on a small signal and has a relatively niche format. It will never bill a lot of dollars, especially in this economy.

Elvis Duran and the Morning Show has proven itself in its home base of New York as well as in Miami, Philadelphia, Cleveland and almost 20 smaller markets. It’s a far better show that 105.7 The Groove can afford to do locally.

Thanks for reading.  Follow us on Twitter at http://twitter.com/atlantaairwaves, and we’ll follow you back. Feel free to email your comments to roddyfreeman@bellsouth.net.

Link to Rodney Ho’s AJC Radio & TV Blog:

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