Published on Friday, 10 June 2011 15:11
In what is nothing short of a major shocker, Crawford Broadcasting Company's WPWX-FM/Power 92 has fired all of its local DJs from its daytime weekday line up. Gone from the station are veteran morning show host Trey Da Choklit Jok, midday host Shawn Knight and afternoon drive star Sam Sylk. No official explanation has been given for the mass firings.
Trey Da Choklit Jok had been loyally working at the station since it first launched over ten years ago, in March 2001. Over the last two years, station management began "tweaking" his morning show, first by firing everybody associated with the morning show except Trey at the end of December 2009, so they could have "More Music Mornings." Then, in June 2010, they moved Trey to the 9:00am-Noon spot, to make room for the syndicated Tom Joyner morning show. Today, they moved their popular morning star out of the building.
While looking for his next opportunity, Trey will concentrate on doing voice over work, working with his improvisational comedy troupe The Freshmen, and trying to get his cartoon show "Dem Damn Ratz"
picked up. The "Trey The Choklit Jok Birthday Cruise 2011"
to the Mexican Riviera is still taking place on November 6th-13th, despite today's surprise firing.
This is Shawn Knight's second time exiting from WPWX-FM, as the former Power 92 overnight host was brought back to host middays a few years ago. He has also worked radio in Indianapolis as Richard Deal.
After many months of struggling in 2009 to acquire afternoon personality Sam Sylk, which included a lawsuit from Sylk's Cleveland radio station delaying his coming back to Chicago even longer, WPWX-FM cuts loose the sought-after star today -- less than two years after they finally got their man. The station also try gaining Sam Sylk a few years earlier when he was still under contract with WGCI-FM, but were unable to. Firing the popular radio host they have wanted for over seven years is a stunner.
Making this more strange is the fact these three DJ's, along with the evening DJs, "The Hot Boyz," delivered top 10 ratings in the 18-34 demographic, which was the station's target audience. The station's worst ratings come in the morning with the syndicated Tom Joyner show. Joyner's audience attracts a much older demographic that turn off the station when the hip-hop music kicks in at 9:00am. Their daytime fans listen to other stations in the morning before coming back later in the day. It has not been the best programming move for Power 92 since signing the Tom Joyner contract in June 2010. Firing the DJs that were not
the problem with the station's ratings or audience makes this afternoon's firing all the more confusing.
Some insiders are saying these firings are completely financially motivated. By dumping the highest personality salaries at the station, they hope to save money with their lesser-paid replacements, while hopefully maintaining ratings and advertisers. It remains to be seen if listeners will accept the loss of three of their favorite personalities and remain loyal to a station that may be perceived as un-loyal to their own employees and the listeners.
While nothing is official from Crawford Broadcasting yet, it appears that they will go with temporary fill-ins for the ten hours of vacated weekday time slots all next week and then unveil an all new line-up on June 20th. It is rumored that the nighttime duo of "The Hot Boyz" will be split up, with each of them getting their own show. It is also rumored that another syndicated show will come to the station, with Rickey Smiley being added for mornings, replacing the failing Tom Joyner show, even though Crawford Broadcasting still has a long time to go with their current contract with Joyner's syndication company.
Here is what the rumored new WPWX-FM line starting 6/20/11 looks like:
Rickey Smiley (syndicated out of Dallas) - Mornings
DJ Dimepiece (aka "The Mixin' Vixen") - Middays
(UPDATE: DJ Dimepiece ended up signing with WGCI-FM and will not start for WPWX-FM, as previously expected. A search for a new midday person is underway.)
Tone Kapone (former "Hot Boyz") - Afternoons
Shag Nice (former "Hot Boyz") - Evenings
Weekends remain the same for the Urban station.
Although considered a Chicago station, WPWX-FM's city of license is Hammond, IN, and broadcasts its programs from a radio tower located in Burnham, IL, about 20 miles southeast of Chicago.
NOTE: This article will be updated with more information as it comes in.