Blowtorch Soundoff: Garry Meier WGN.FM show cancellation, dismantling of The Game, WGN in 2015 and beyond

With the cancellation of Garry Meier’s online WGN.FM show, in-conjunction with the announcement that The Game/WGWG-LP 87.7 (FM) is being dismantled at year’s end, I just had to rant about everything that’s happened this past week.

Length of Audio: Approximately 30 minutes

Discussion Points:

  • Reviewing the news of the week — the immediate cancellation of Garry Meier’s online show from WGN.FM, what’s up with Jonathon Brandmeier’s show and the dismantling of The Game 88.7.
  • How much it meant in May, 2013 when then Tribune Company hired Jimmy de Castro to preside over WGN-AM 720, and why there was reason to be optimistic about the station’s future. This discussion morphs into where and how things started to go wrong.
  • Garry Meier’s treatment by Jimmy de Castro since May of this year, and how ultimately, it led to Meier’s WGN departure.  It bears repeating… Garry Meier got screwed, and there is no plausible explanation that de Castro can give to the WGN audience.
  • Despite the dismantling of WGN.FM into what will likely be re-branded as “WGN Plus,” it makes no sense to cancel Garry Meier’s show. Tribune Media will pay Meier a lot of money to stay home for the next 10 or 11 months, despite his success and popularity. Meanwhile, the company is attempting to workout a deal that would allow Jonathon Brandmeier to continue doing his show, online only, even though the company has no further obligations to him (Brandmeier has been working without a contract).
  • Discussion of WGN Radio’s future and why, despite my previous blog where I called for de Castro’s firing, I will reluctantly root for him to succeed.
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  1. Garry got screwed, and I will boycott all of WGN sponsors.

  2. I read that there may have some bad blood between Meier and de Castro over Garry’s refusal to appear at the Radio Hall of Fame induction ceremony with Steve Dahl (they were inducted as a team – Dahl didn’t attend either). Still, if that’s true, it means de Castro put a personal grudge in front of good business sense. Not good.

    Paying Meier $800K for a show on the internet was a losing proposition right from the start. 87.7 should have been a straight simulcast of WGN.FM at the very least! The sports format was a brain fart on an epic scale, and I don’t get it.

    My guess – de Castro wants to keep Garry Meier off the air through September, hoping listeners will “forget” about him and making him a less attractive commodity by the time his contract is up. Again, looks like a personal F-U on de Castro’s part.

    • De Castro may have been miffed at Garry’s refusal to acknowledge Steve Dahl as it pertains to the Radio Hall of Fame. My opinion is that the Radio Hall of Fame induction was a separate circumstance, not involving De Castro or WGN. While I doubt that would have started a rift between Meier and De Castro, it probably didn’t help.

  3. Also, notice how Garry has maintained “radio silence” since this all went down. Probably a gag order in the contract designed to keep him off the radar as long as possible.

    • In the age of social media, it’s interesting that Meier has decided to stay silent. While he probably cannot talk about the situation at WGN while he is still under contract, that shouldn’t stop him from engaging with his fans and thanking them for their support, if he felt so inclined. I am somewhat disappointed that he has chosen not to do so.

      • Gag orders can be widespread these days. The clause may prohibit Garry from publicly interacting through ANY medium for ANY purpose through the duration of his contract. Let’s face it – Garry Meier is anything if not vocal, and I’m sure that if he had the option to communicate with his fans, he would certainly do so. When Opie & Anthony were canned from WNEW in New York, they were prohibited from ALL broadcast and public online presence for two years (the duration of their contract with CBS). I’m betting that Garry is in a similar circumstance. Yeah, it sucks, but I’m sure he doesn’t want to hassle with a breach of contract suit. Basically, both Garry and his fans will just have to wait it out. October should be interesting.

  4. I totally agree with Hawrysko. I even joined Twitter in the hopes of keeping tabs on where Garry might be/end up. Hope we hear from him soon. I feel like one of my best friends just died.

  5. If Garry is keeping silent on all fronts for the time being- including saying Hey to his fans- the logical conclusions are that he either (1) can’t or (2) doesn’t want to. If it’s the second, who can blame him? He spent hours in WGN.HELL reading texts and chasing TuneIn listener rankings. I hope he’s chilling out, having good dinners, and spending time with him family and friends. He earned it. When the time is right, he’ll surface somewhere.

  6. Huge mistake, same path WGN in took when Spike left. I came back to GN only when Garry began there, he was a joy to listen to. I have listened to GN since 1975, it is now time to move on, this mistake is the last straw!

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