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WJJG-AM Continues To Evolve; Picks Up Michael Savage

Michael Savage's syndicated radio show is exiting WIND-AM as of the end of this week and will be moving to a new station on the other end of the radio dial: WJJG-AM. Savage's political talk show will begin on WJJG-AM on this coming Monday, October 3rd, at 10:00am.

WJJG-AM is the the little known Elmhurst-based radio station that has suddenly been making some big changes and major announcements in the last few weeks. The first bombshell came at the start of September, when it was announced that owner Joe Gentile had hired Matt DuBiel to take over as General Manager to help re-energize the radio station. The second bombshell came a week later when DuBiel announced that he and WJJG-AM were bringing Mancow Muller back to Chicago radio, airing the local shock jock's show twice each weekday, beginning October 3rd.

Today's announcement about the picking up of Michael Savage's radio show is the third bombshell in what appears to be a long string of major announcements for the station.

On August 11th, WIND-AM announced it had hired Steve Cochran to take over the 5:00pm-7:00pm shift that was occupied by Michael Savage's show. Even though a spokesperson for the station acknowledged that they wished to keep the show, but move it to a later time slot, Savage, along with his radio show's syndicator Talk Radio Network (TRN), used a clause in their contract to seek out a new radio home in Chicago for the show. With its new revamp going on, WJJG-AM seemed like a good fit for the show. TRN is also the syndicator for Mancow Muller's national program.

According to Talkers Magazine, "The Michael Savage Show," also known as "The Savage Nation," has an audience of over 9 million listeners on over 300 radio stations nationwide, making it the 3rd largest syndicated radio talk show in the country. Savage is a conservative talk show host who is famous for his controversial statements and stands. Unlike other right-wing talkers, Savage does not often speak along party lines and was openly critical of George Bush's policies. His refusal to say what was expected of him has earned him a banishment from FOX News. His shocking statements even earned him a ban from visiting England due to his "fostering hatred." Savage's hard-line stances on hot button issues has also earned him a great deal of negative press and scorn from various groups.

Savage is an author who has written 26 books. His latest book, "Abuse of Power," his first-ever novel, made its debut last week on the New York Times' Bestseller List at #4.

WJJG-AM General Manager Matt DuBiel says there is much more to Michael Savage than his ultra-conservative shock jock reputation. Said DuBiel today: "It's interesting Dr. Savage has been pigeon-holed as a political talk show host. Michael is an artist. He's a best selling author, and a storyteller who's as likely to discuss making rigatoni as he is the events of the day. We paint our radio shows and formats into a corner and then wonder why we struggle. Chicago listeners enjoy Michael Savage so we're giving them Michael Savage. If Michael can sell millions of books, imagine what he can do for local businesses here!"

Like WIND-AM, WJJG-AM will air the two-hour syndicated version of Savage's radio show. The shorter version airs the first two hours of Savage's three hour show. (The last hour tends to be filled with pre-recorded interviews and repeated topics.) Beginning Monday, the show will air each weekday from 10:00am-Noon. Since Savage records his shows at night (5:00pm-8:00pm CST), WJJG-AM's broadcasts will be tape-delayed broadcasts from the night before. Dur to FCC regulations, WJJG-AM is not allowed to be on the air past sundown, making the airing of the show live an impossibility during the cold weather months. This also puts the show on at a time when there are more potential listeners available. The late morning time slot gives conservative talk show fans another choice, putting his show up against other syndicated talkers, Rush Limbaugh and Dennis Miller.

Starting next week, the line-up for WJJG-AM will have Mancow from 7:00am-10:00am, Savage from 10:00am-Noon, and Mancow (again) from 1:00pm-4:00pm. This leaves a hole in the line-up from Noon-1:00am, which is expected to be filled very soon.

The schedule is currently described by DuBiel as the "Savage Sammich." Said DuBiel: "Mancow is the bread, Savage is the corned beef... I'm working on getting WJJG some mustard and mayo." The "mustard & mayo" slot should be filled in the very near future.

WJJG's signal on AM 1530 should sound a great deal better for those within its range. While its wattage has not been increased, some work has been done in the last few days, cleaning up its audio chain and transmission site. It is now operating with the proper processing and at 100% power. The station is currently able to be heard over much of Chicagoland and even up into Wisconsin, as it gets ready for its relaunch with Savage & Mancow next week.

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