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Kris Habermehl

Is it really worth it to have the best helicopter traffic reporter in the city driving around in a car, and filing reports that are unintelligible? Kris is sorely wasted in his current role on WBBM radio.

In fact, has anyone else noticed a dropoff in quality and accuracy since CBS took their traffic reports in-house? Seems quite obvious to me.
Responses (7)
  • Accepted Answer

    Sunday, May 21 2017, 10:07 PM - #permalink
    Kris is great, and now offers very little..
    I agree, it's been pretty bad lately,
    The new AM guy is Not a Chicago guy, and just reads numbers, Veronica
    Carter was warming up Noon to 3 last Thursday and Friday for her new
    role as PM drive traffic reporter, a nice enough voice, she was also just
    reading numbers....
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  • Accepted Answer

    Monday, May 22 2017, 01:18 PM - #permalink
    Yeah, the first afternoon girl seemed nervous and unprepared, and the evening guy stumbles and bumbles all over himself and can't even get basic roads right.

    Someone told me that Kevin Scott, a guy who was bounced from two other traffic services in the past, is now overseeing the CBS traffic operation. Is this true? If so, it reflects very badly on CBS Radio's local operation. Mr. Scott's hires are, to say the least, disappointing.
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  • Accepted Answer

    Tuesday, May 23 2017, 04:42 PM - #permalink
    CBS is getting what they're paying for. Low ball....How a major cluster like CBS can get away from using air support is simply befuddling.

    Agreed Kris is wasted and more often than not, incorrect on many tollway delays. I drive three of them daily and rarely is he that accurate any longer. Which is just terrible. Not that it's his fault entirely. He's just reading the data sent to him.

    The Chicago operation for what was .... (can't recall who they are this week) is really managed by someone out of market. I want to say Dallas. And they have no clue on Chicago operations.

    Agreed they sound uncomfortable and they've started to add "the" to various numeric roads. Like "the 390." Tough to listen on any of their stations.


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  • Accepted Answer

    Wednesday, May 24 2017, 07:31 AM - #permalink
    I know that Roz Varon's former producer Reggie- is now their for mornings- and a guy that came over from Total Traffic, Dan Frank does the afternoons..All from the CBS location in Chicago at Pru 2. That being said the info the reporters read is only as good as the information that the producers provide.

    Now as far as reporting on the air. As others have indicated- the new crew is not good at reading the information, right or wrong on the air- It's like white noise. A lot of meaningless numbers, And newbie to traffic Veronica Carter, who has a really nice voice- sounds way in over her head in the limited time she has been on so far. She sounds nervous and I have personally been on the road as a listener in places where she said the Kennedy Express Lanes were 23 minutes- but they had been closed for roadwork for over 20 mins when she said it,,(twice in fact)

    The ratings are bound to suffer at some point, when people that counted on WBBM Traffic in the past will seek out other sources, it's like hearing a bad tune on the radio, you change the station...
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  • Accepted Answer

    Wednesday, May 24 2017, 08:40 PM - #permalink
    It won't be much longer before "CBS" Radio will be a shadow of it's former self. When a new corporation steps in the Accounting department usually likes to pinch every penny they can get we may be hearing the results now in traffic reports with cuts in their news reporters coming by years end.
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  • Accepted Answer

    Thursday, May 25 2017, 10:17 AM - #permalink
    To some extent, that may play out. David Field has been quoted saying they're targetting $25M in synergy cost reduction year one. And that number may be conservative given the bloat of the parent.

    That said, many of the "excesses" have already been baked out of CBS following radio veteran Dan Mason's forced exit a couple years ago. He was replaced by the current finance focused senior management team brought.in to maximize shareholder value in anticipation of the division's divestiture.

    Something which Sumner Redstone balanced fairly well when he ran Viacom and CBS (and when he owned WLIT). He understood that content brought the revenues.

    In Chicago, Rod Zimmerman, another radio vet, was summarily bounced when he argued content brought ratings and revenue. Problem is good content costs money. You're seeing that in the failing...er flailing traffic reports. Lower costs...well lower quality. Never mind the scaling back of discretionary content at WJMK.

    I can't imagine this being much different in their other markets, particularly on stations which they have identical news formats in NYC, LA, Phily, et al.

    To wit...Sumner was forced into retirement a couple years ago, and his daughter Shari is simply toothless at this point on a corporate board dominated by Wall St. insiders. All they care about are this week's P&L and cashflow.

    Never the less, David Field is a broadcaster and has built his group through aggressive programming and promotion. (Despite the fact he ultimately surrendered the station as part of this deal, remember the "Hold your Wee for a Wi" promotion? Despite the fact someone died and several were injured, there is no such thing as bad publicity.)

    I expect the CBS groups he will be acquiring will evolve under that tactic and the staid approach to programming/promotions exhibited by otherwise conservative CBS going out the window.

    It will be an interesting 2018 to be certain. Especially for the likes of Iheart and Cumulus. Both are in very unfavorable positions to mount anything of substance against his stations nationwide. He will be the 800 lb gorilla in radio going forward.

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  • Accepted Answer

    Saturday, May 27 2017, 02:08 AM - #permalink
    Someone told me that Kevin Scott, a guy who was bounced from two other traffic services in the past, is now overseeing the CBS traffic operation. Is this true? If so, it reflects very badly on CBS Radio's local operation. Mr. Scott's hires are, to say the least, disappointing.

    Chris, yes that is true. Kevin Scott has been in and out of radio and real estate and.......hot dog stands. How he got hired for this position is a shock to everyone who's worked with him before, and it's not clear who is approving his hires. He hires his friends and holds grudges yet Ron Gleason, a broadcasting veteran and successful News Director at WBBM-AM, is at the top of this chain of command. It is a burn-out job that not that many people want tho. He probably wont be there long unless he actually starts training his inexperienced hires better. Veronica Carter has a great rep as a news reporter and is in fact good at that, but putting her on PM drive instead of letting her warm up and train on traffic on weekends first like companies used to do is not yielding good results. You don't do baptism by fire when it comes to reports every 10 mins in morning or afternoon drive. Dont get me started on that morning guy. Plenty of more experienced people there who could have done the morning shift with so much riding on it, just look at all the criticisms . But maybe they don't want that shift for whatever reason.
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