Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, FL)
Author/Byline: Tom Jicha TV/Radio Writer
WQAM is dropping The Hammer on Howard Stern.
As of Monday, Stern’s show will disappear from the sports station (560-AM), replaced by a new program hosted by Hank Goldberg, who moves from afternoon drive. Unlike most morning drive programs, Goldberg will sign on at 7 a.m. Goldberg, a notorious night owl and club hopper, said there is no way he could be up early enough to be on the air at the normal 6 a.m. starting time. Goldberg, who said he expects a hefty raise to become a slave of the alarm clock, added, “There isn’t enough money to get me to do [a 6 a.m. program].”
Goldberg’s move will necessitate changes throughout the schedule. Jim Mandich is the logical choice to take over for Goldberg from 4 to 7 p.m., but this would necessitate coming up with a replacement for the former Dolphin’s current 2-4 p.m. slot. However, this shift is far less important than afternoon drive. WQAM in all likelihood will run the Sporting News Network overnight show as a lead-in to Goldberg.
WQAM general manager Greg Reed declined to comment on the potential changes. Conversations are taking place, he said, but nothing has been finalized.
Replacing Stern with a program that ends at 10 a.m. also would appease Neil Rogers. The station’s biggest generator of ratings and revenue has been vocal in expressing displeasure about having to start his program whenever Stern feels like ending his. Some days, this is 11 a.m. or later.
This is the second time in less than a year Stern has been without an outlet in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale market. He was dropped by WBGG (105.9-FM) in February in anticipation of the Federal Communications Commission crackdown on indecency after the Super Bowl wardrobe malfunction contretemps. WPBZ (FM 103.1) restored Stern to the Palm Beach market in July. The following month, WQAM announced it was picking up the syndicated program.
Stern shocked the industry in October, announcing he is abandoning the broadcast band for Sirius satellite radio when his contract expires at the end of 2005. The fact that he will be leaving in less than a year undoubtedly was a factor in WQAM making its move now.
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