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Dave Williams Exits WWWN-FM

In what is the first major parting of the ways for the new news station WWWN-FM/FM News 101.1, newsman Dave Williams was released as of Friday morning.

Dave Williams was one of the first to join the fledgling radio station at the start of July, adding a depth of news & radio experience the experimental news station needed. Although schedules & times have fluctuated as the new station finds the right on-air combination, Williams worked as a co-anchor for the Midday shift on FM News 101.1 for the most part. Less than three months after moving cross country from California to Illinois to be a key member of the Merlin Media-owned WWWN-FM, Williams finds himself gone and back "on the beach."

The sudden departure of the veteran newsman took all of his co-workers by surprise. It was not only a complete shock to all he worked closely with, but to Williams himself.

No specific reason has been given for Williams' departure. As one of the most experienced newsmen on the station, the reason had nothing to do with any specific on-air performance of his. As one of the most enjoyed employees there, the reason had nothing to do with any behind-the-scenes disturbances. A station insider hinted that the move had more to do with a change in direction for the station. As the station had quickly gone from less of a news/lifestyle/personality station to more of a straight-forward, mainstream news station, upper management at Merlin Media apparently wanted a news person with less of an out-going personality and more of a basic news reader. While he was the perfect fit for the station's original concept, it may have become a tougher fit with the latest concept. (It should be noted that the concept for the station, while always news-based, has been changed and "tweaked" on an almost weekly basis since the station was still in the rehearsal stage in mid-July.)

Insiders have also noted that the release of one of its star personalities after such a short period of time is not a sign of downsizing at the station, but just a re-alignment of a brand new station trying to find its way. In fact, the station is still looking to hire people for a few positions.

Regardless of the management reason behind the move, the loss of a radio man with Dave Williams' depth of experience is a stunner. Williams has worked in radio for over 42 years. He is best known for his many years in California radio -- especially in Los Angeles (KABC - twice, KNX, KFWB, KRTH) and Sacramento (KFBK, KCRA/KGNR, KNDE, KROY) -- where he has worked steadily since 1969, with the exception of a one-year job in Memphis, TN. In all those years, he has primarily worked as a news anchor and talk show host, with additional duties as Program Director, reporter and writer worked over the years as well.

In a recent interview conducted at the start of last month by the industry website All Access, Dave Williams spoke of his excitement about coming to Chicago to be part of the new radio station. When asked about lessons learned in his years of working in the business, Williams said these prophetic words: "It's only radio.... there's always tomorrow."


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