News broke yesterday that Chicago news veteran Bob Sirott is joining WGN-AM 720 full-time, with his wife (and former Fox 32/WFLD-TV “Fox Thing in the Morning” co-anchor) Marianne Murciano. The two are expected to host either a midday or an afternoon show, beginning in the next few weeks.
While the addition of Sirott and Murciano personally doesn’t have me that excited, I am happy that the new station management is making a bold effort to greatly improve the station (which is a far contrast from six, seven months ago following the departure of John Williams). Considering Sirott is still a full-time news anchor (at WFLD/Fox Chicago, at least for now), and based on previous talk shows they have done together, I see the possibility for a rather vanilla type of show by avoiding the more interesting and relevant political or social discussions. I hope they aren’t going to play it too safe.
With the recent departures of Carol Roth (12 – 1 p.m., Mon-Fri) and Turi Ryder (10 p.m. – 1 a.m., Mon-Thurs), the station’s schedule currently has Jonathon Brandmeier on from 6 to 10 a.m., Mike McConnell from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Garry Meier from 3 to 7 p.m. and David Kaplan and friends from 7 p.m. to midnight. To fit Sirott and Murciano into the lineup, WGN has a few options. They can shorten McConnell’s show, and schedule them to begin at either 12 or 1 p.m, and go until 3. I don’t see anything later in the day as a realistic option. I just can’t see the station removing Meier from afternoon drive at this point.
Other rumors, as hinted by Larz at ChicagolandRadioandMedia.com, suggest McConnell could be out in the coming weeks, which would leave a large void in the schedule. If McConnell indeed does leave, it would make sense for Sirott and Murciano to occupy a portion of his current on air time, though not all five hours. The station may be planning to fill the remaining void with either Steve Cochran (who filled in last week and this week for Brandmeier) or Brian Noonan (currently hosts Sunday evenings and was recently removed from the evening sports show he co-hosted with Kaplan).
Cochran was a long time fan favorite at the station, so him returning full-time in some capacity would make a lot of sense. On the other hand, Noonan is also well liked and can be considered a rising star who rightfully deserves a daytime slot.
Ideally, what I would like to see is for WGN to fit both guys in by removing both McConnell and Brandmeier. Cochran while filling in for Brandmeier these last few days has sounded so good and natural, while Brandmeier seems out of place and out of touch with the times. A day-time lineup with Cochran in the morning, followed by Noonan in late mornings, Sirott and Murciano in the early afternoons, followed by Meier would make for a swell lineup.