Friday, December 5, 2008

Steve Dahl signs off Chicago's JACK-FM

It's the radio version of the chicken or the egg. Rumors were abundant all week that Steve Dahl would be fired any minute from Chicago's JACK-FM as CBS Radio continues its cost slashing.On Friday morning (Dec. 5th), Dahl told the remaining listeners that we was signing off and ending his show.

It's the old "You can't fire me - I quit!" story, unless there is more than meets the ear. Dahl's contract is/was supposed to run well into 2011. I suppose it is possible that both Dahl and CBS have agreed to make it appear as a resignation to avoid further embarassment.

So what does this have to do with sports? Not much, except that Dahl is known among baseball fans over the age of 40 for his role in "Disco Demolition Night" at Comiskey Park in Chicago when his blowing up of disco records started a riot between games of a doubleheader. The result was the White Sox having to forfeit the 2nd game against the Detroit Tigers, the most recent forfeit (and this was July 1979) in MLB.

Since then Dahl has become a White Sox season ticket holder and tried to make up with White Sox fans by making his presence at the games known and talking up the team. Many baseball fans who were upset about Dahl's laughing about that incident on the air are probably laughing about Dahl today.

CBS has suffered with JACK-FM in Chicago, although a recent tweak toward more 80's music has stimulated a few more listeners into November. Yet, Dahl's ratings got to the point of being worse than some of the music hours. Let alone that Dahl was the only live voice on the station.I'm betting that there will be no replacement named, and the station will go right back to their music format in the morning. Dahl was moved over to JACK-FM due to a format change at the former WCKG Radio on which he did afternoons for a few years as his ratings bounced up and down.

CBS Radio had dumped its Oldies format on 104.3 FM to become JACK-FM, which has yet to catch on in Chicago. Meanwhile, WLS-FM and its oldies format, consisting of former 104.3 personalities, has now entered the top 6 overall in the November monthly Chicago ratings, taking that format to near its highest level in recent memory.

Meanwhile, CBS Radio in Chicago has already rid itself of the $1,000,000+ contracts of morning hosts Mike North (formerly WSCR-AM) and Eddie and Jobo from B-96 FM. Next comes Dahl. Ooops, this is supposedly a resignation.During his "sign-off" speech on the air, those few who were listening heard him complain about how the PPM audience measurement is hurting those stations which don't play music because the PPM's account for "background listening".

I suppose Dahl was too busy inventing his excuse to notice that WBBM-AM is a top rated station in Chicago, and they have been all news for 40 years. Hardly a background choice, especially in today's economy.Come to think of it, this story today is probably the most people who have heard about Steve Dahl in a number of years.

Speaking of Chicago and the White Sox, broadcaster Darrin Jackson is under consideration for an analyst role with the new MLB Network, and expects to hear within the next week. If and has he gets that role, the White Sox would then need a #2 radio voice to work with Ed Farmer. This would be 3 partners in 3 seasons for Farmer if it happens. Stay tuned..........

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