Published on Thursday, 12 August 2010 19:12
Mike McConnell just started his morning show on WGN-AM this week to mixed reviews. It seems he may be having some difficulty connecting with the WGN fanbase and not getting the call-in response the station had hoped for. Program Director Kevin Metheny sent out a memo to numerous WGN-AM staffers asking them to call in to McConnell's show, disguise their voices, use aliases, and engage McConnell in conversation about whatever topic the show happens to be discussing at that time. The Metheny memo was not a direct order, demanding the staffers to do this, but a very strong urging from their boss.
Mike McConnell comes to WGN-AM from WLW-AM in Cincinnati, where he had a strong following. He is a former co-worker and old friend of Randy Michaels, Sean Compton and other current Tribune Company bosses from their days in Ohio working for Jacor & Clear Channel.
The memo this week from Kevin Metheny seeking fake caller "plants" was an attempt to make his old friend's new show seem more lively and active than it truthfully is. That is not to say the show will not eventually gain traction with listeners, but Metheny's memo this week seems like a rather dishonest way of fooling those listeners into thinking there is more going on than there actually is yet.
It is quite surprising just what certain Tribune Company employees actually put in writing within a memo, especially in the last year and a half.