Radio personality and former stand-up comedian Ed Wenck is out as afternoon drive-time guy on WIBC-FM 93.1.
But Wenck hasn’t left the building. In fact, he’d be happy to sell you an ad on sister station WFNI-AM 1070/FM 107.5 “The Fan.”
In one of the more unusual recent staff changes at local Emmis Communications Corp. stations in recent years, Wenck has joined the sales staff of sports talker The Fan. He said he wanted an opportunity to be more entrepreneurial, while still exercising some creativity.
The move “is something I wanted to do," Wenck told IBJ on Friday. "I’d spoken with the guys here about a year and a half ago [about a change]."
Wenck took the WIBC afternoon slot in early 2010 after being part of the “Wank & O’Brien” show on Emmis country station WLHK-FM 97.1.
To some listeners, the newsier time slot might not have seemed the best showcase for Wenck’s comedic talents. In the late 1980s and early '90s, Wenck opened for comedians including Drew Carey, Ray Romano and Dennis Miller.
“I want to thank Ed in particular for his hard work over the last three years on WIBC. He stepped into a completely new and difficult format and fully embraced the challenge,” David Wood, WIBC’s new program director, said in a memo to Emmis staff.
Temporarily filling Wenck’s on-air slot is WIBC’s Ray Steele.
Wenck, 50, said he expects to still be on the air occasionally as a fill-in personality and in commercials.
He mentioned the job change March 22 on his Facebook page, reciting a quote from a hockey coach who said one never knows when he’s played his last game.
“I got lucky. I knew my last game was coming. And it came with a big upside,” Wenck told followers.
“This is a great opportunity for me—and [by the way], if you know anybody who’s unloading any good looking ties, shout me up,” he wrote.
Wenck had a tough task in the 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. slot once ruled by comedian Dave “The King” Wilson. WIBC cut Wilson in 2009 for budget reasons. He was replaced by station veteran Steve Simpson, who soon was transferred to mornings as part of a broader talent reshuffling.
News talker WIBC was in sixth place in February’s Arbitron radio ratings for the Indianapolis market. Its 5.9 share slipped a tad from a 6 share in January. In 2010, WIBC was fourth in the market.
The country format is now king in Indianapolis: Cumulus Media’s WFMS-FM 95.5 remained at No. 1 in February, followed by Emmis’ WLHK, with shares of 8.6 and 8.1, respectively.
The Fan, Wenck’s new focus, is the broadcast flagship of the Indianapolis Colts, Indiana Pacers, Butler University and IndyCar Series.
The timing of Wenck’s on-air sign-off may be fortuitous for fans of the Indiana University Hoosiers. Wenck attended Syracuse University, which on Thursday put a whooping on the Hoosiers in the NCAA Tournament.
While on the phone with IBJ, a co-worker handed Wenck an orange—the team colors of his alma mater, Syracuse.
“How nice,” Wenck said.