Rover’s Affiliate Future?

Mark this one mainly as “speculation”, please.

Though it would seem that Clear Channel rock WMMS/100.7 Cleveland morning star Shane “Rover” French has returned to earth from the high sampling he got after his station debut, he’s presumably still miles ahead of previous occupants of the WMMS morning drive time slot.

But there could – we stress “could” – be some trouble for “Rover’s Morning Glory” in one of its two remaining syndicated markets.

Rochester NY alt-rocker WZNE/94.1 “The Zone” stayed with Rover and company even after the show parted way with its original Cleveland flagship, CBS Radio alt-rock WKRK/92.3 (once “K-Rock”, now “Radio 92.3”). The show’s Memphis TN affiliate also kept the show after it moved to Oak Tree locally.

We haven’t mentioned it yet, but Rochester’s “Zone” became the latest over-air affiliate to dump CBS Radio/XM morning drivers “Opie and Anthony” from their delayed afternoon drive clearance, effective December 29th. The move apparently leaves O&A with just one terrestrial affiliate outside of flagship WXRK/92.3 “K-Rock” in New York City – alt-rock WROX/96.1 “96X” in Norfolk VA.

In Cleveland, former “Rover” home WKRK dumped the O&A show last month in the change to jockless “Radio 92.3”.

O&A continue their XM Satellite Radio program, now available to Sirius subscribers as well in an extra cost package.

(We suspect Sirius XM Radio boss Mel Karmazin, father of Cleveland sports radio owner Craig Karmazin, is happy with this…the content sharing agreement between XM and CBS Radio was done before the satellite services merged.)

Anyway, back to Rochester.

Long-time Friend of OMW Scott Fybush sends us a link to a message board post he saw on a local board…the post’s author purporting to copy an E-Mail response from Nik Rivers, program director of WZNE. Quoting the alleged Rivers E-Mail:

At this time, it wasn’t in the company’s best financial interest to continue airing the (O&A) show in afternoon drive. With the show not willing to accept a move to morning drive, and a great amount of listener feedback asking for more music and less talk on the station, we felt that this was the best decision for the Zone.

We thank you for your support of the O&A show, and hope that you remain a listener of the Zone. If you enjoy talk, may I suggest that you check out our Morning Show “Rover’s Morning Glory” weekdays from 6-11am.

Assuming this is legit… it would appear that WZNE asked O&A to move to morning drive, which, as noted, is where Cleveland’s own “Rover” is heard now. We have no idea why the show would decline such a schedule upgrade.

Add to that the “more music and less talk” phrase, and it doesn’t sound like “Rover’s Morning Glory” has much of a future at Rochester’s “Zone”…again, assuming that is indeed out of Mr. Rivers’ keyboard.

Again, that’s our grain of salt the size of one of Rover’s sidekicks. We can’t verify the posted E-Mail. It “feels” legit to us, reading it (i.e. it looks like the kind of E-Mail a radio PD would send in reply to a listener).

But we felt it odd, considering that the general question has been whether the Rochester station would even keep its alt-rock format at all. Oklahoma-based Stephens Media Group is not really known for the format.

Locally, we’re not sure how Rover and company feel about the syndication these days.

It’s certainly an ego boost, and they get some consideration out of it (we assume), but there doesn’t appear to be a concerted effort to ramp up the syndication, either by Mr. French or by Clear Channel… which is likely just thrilled to have a local morning show with ratings…

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