Jeff Kinzbach’s Radio Return
February 2, 2013 10 Comments
We have a whole stack of items we don’t have time – yet – to cover. Look for them in the next few days…we hope.
But for now, we can’t ignore the Radio Topic Elephant In The Room.
Jeff Kinzbach, with partner Ed “Flash” Ferenc, dominated Cleveland morning drive radio as “Jeff and Flash”, morning drive ringmasters as the “Buzzard Morning Zoo” on iconic rocker WMMS/100.7…until Howard Stern showed up in 1992 and took over top ratings from “Jeff and Flash” not long after.
Now, Kinzbach will try to compete for top ratings in morning drive radio again, but this time from an Akron perch.
Kinzbach is taking over the morning drive slot at Rubber City Radio Group Akron rocker WONE/97.5, starting on Monday.
The station already has a page for Kinzbach, quoting the host and his new immediate boss:
Jeff is very excited about joining WONE stating: “WONE is a great radio station. I’m excited to join the excellent staff and play the outstanding music that we all grew up with.”
Program Director Tim Daugherty is also excited to welcome Jeff to the staff. “I cut my teeth listening to him and I’m looking forward to the knowledge and energy this radio icon is bringing to WONE.”
And as noted, though Daugherty leaves his morning drive perch, he stays in his off-air management role…and will be heard on-air soon from 7 PM to midnight weeknights. The changes mean that former “Tim and Christi” morning drive co-host Christi Nichols and evening host Steve Hammond are out.
Kinzbach was heard on the air with Daugherty on Friday morning, and starts his own WONE morning drive show officially on Monday.
The Plain Dealer’s John Petkovic says Kinzbach came back to town seven years after leaving Cleveland, eight years after the end of “Jeff and Flash”:
Kinzbach left the station in 1994. He left Cleveland for Dallas in 2002.
“I bought an old ranch and fixed it up,” says Kinzbach. “I raised cattle, harvested and grew hay, the works.”
He moved back in 2009.
“My wife Patti and I were back for a trip and we just missed the area,” he says. “Sometimes you have to leave to appreciate the Midwest.”
Kinzbach has been out of full-time radio since coming back to Northeast Ohio, though he has been doing recent part-time fill-in work at CBS Radio classic rock WNCX/98.5.
Regular readers know that it’s not the first time the former Buzzard Morning Zoo-master has tried for a return to full-time radio in recent months, and not even his first try in the Akron market.
It didn’t at all go well the last time, when Kinzbach threw his hat into the ring for the Howie Chizek Replacement Sweepstakes.
Jeff was one of the auditioners for the Media-Com talk WNIR/100.1 “The Talk of Akron” midday opening…rather unfortunately a hole left behind by the death of 40 year station and talk radio icon Chizek.
Let’s go back to the thrilling days of, uh, mid-August of last year…where a certain media blog covered what did, and did not happen, at “The Talk of Akron”:
Judging from a Facebook status update later pulled by Kinzbach, the relationship between the radio station and the former WMMS host fell apart, and fast.
Kinzbach posted that he’d heard a station promo for his week-long audition stint had been pulled, and that “someone had been hired”.
After not hearing from WNIR officials, and playing some phone tag with the station, Kinzbach posted that he was eventually told that was indeed the case, and that he was told that “they have hired a guy who was a frequent caller to the station.”
That caller, of course, is the man now known as John “Couch Burner” Denning, the 20-plus year regular Chizek caller who took over the time slot once occupied by his favorite host, and who continues in the WNIR midday slot into 2013.
There’s not even a microscopic chance at West Market Street that a regular WONE caller/listener will show up between now and Monday to displace him, so it’s a much better situation for Kinzbach…in that, and many other ways.
For one, he’s not replacing a legend…as good as Daugherty is, it’s not he’s like taking over for the late Howie Chizek (and all the expectations that come with that). And of course, Daugherty stays at WONE both on the air and off, and is Kinzbach’s new immediate boss.
For another, WONE is a rock station, the format with which Kinzbach is most associated. And, WONE’s audience is not nearly as older skewing as the WNIR talk audience.
Finally, WONE’s signal is better than WNIR’s.
We’re not talking Cleveland ratings here (yet), but there are plenty of Summit County and Portage County folks who remember “Jeff and Flash” and still should be in WONE’s target demo range.
Though it’s not where WONE competes, we’ll be watching if the station gets a bump in the Cleveland ratings…the WONE signal is certainly good enough to reach a large chunk of the Cleveland market, though Rubber City Radio will certainly focus on the “home turf” in its efforts to market and promote the show.
WONE notes the hometown connection, reminding listeners that Kinzbach lives in the Akron area, and his wife Patti is “a native Akronite”…