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On-air roster changes afoot at Emmis stations

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Emmis Communications Corp. is shuffling several prominent on-air personalities at its Indianapolis radio stations' beginning Monday, a move the company says will maximize their talents.

Affected by the moves are "Big Joe" Staysniak and Steve Simpson of WIBC-FM 93.1, Ed Wenck of WLHK-FM 97.1 and Dan Dakich of WFNI-AM 1070.

Simpson, who occupies an afternoon time slot on WIBC, will replace Staysniak as co-host of the WIBC morning show with Terri Stacy as he transitions into a sports role. Staysniak, who played in two Super Bowls as a member of the Buffalo Bills before finishing his pro career with the Indianapolis Colts, will provide sports updates on the morning show while hosting his own program from 10 a.m. to noon  beginning in early April on WFNI, a sports talk station known as The Fan.

His arrival shuffles former Indiana University basketball star and coach Dakich to The Fan's noon-to-3 p.m. timeslot, which now is mostly occupied by the syndicated "The Herd With Colin Cowherd."    

Meanwhile, Simpson’s afternoon shift on WIBC will be filled by Ed Wenck, who is leaving the "Wank & O'Brien" morning show he has hosted with Dave O’Brien on WLHK, a country station also known as Hank. Wenck and O'Brien have been on-air partners for 14 years. O’Brien will continue hosting the morning show.

Charlie Morgan, local market manager for Emmis, said those involved are “excited” about the transition that better reflects the strengths they bring to their new stations.

“Our motivation here is that we’ve got a lot of really talented on-air personalities with specific areas of experience and expertise,” he said. “Instead of boxing them into just one shift and one station, what’s the best way we can maximize their talents?”

Staysniak’s expanded role is the best example of the new philosophy, Morgan said, but Wenck and O’Brien may collaborate on each other’s shows as well. The duo began their on-air partnership at WRZX-FM 103.3 and moved to the former WNOU  before landing at light rock station WENS, which changed to the Hank format in 2005.

Staysniak’s arrival on The Fan also allows Emmis to feature more local sports programming on the station, Morgan said. The only syndicated programming that will remain is ESPN’s "Mike and Mike in the Morning."

The 3-to-6 p.m. timeslot on The Fan is occupied by a show hosted by Indianapolis Star sports columnist Bob Kravitz and former Reebok executive Eddie White. Morgan said no changes are planned for the duo. But Kravitz’s contract expires April 7, and it’s widely thought in the local radio industry that he, or both, will be replaced by John Vincent, better known as JMV, the former host of "The Drive with JMV" on WNDE 1260 AM.

Format and on-air personality changes are common in radio, particularly now as stations attempt to stem revenue losses attributable in part to increasing competition, said Robert Unmacht a partner at the Nashville, Tenn.-based IN3 Partners consulting firm.

Unmacht declined to speculate on what triggered the Emmis moves. He said radio stations remain profitable, but less so than they historically have been, because of the large amounts of debt larger stations have accumulated from a spree of acquisitions.

“Consequently, they’re making a lot of money, but it’s all going to the bank and they’re not left with enough to run the stations,” Unmacht said.

The changes at Emmis are its first in about three years. In 2007, Emmis ditched its news/talk format on WIBC-AM 1070 in favor of sports, rebranding the station The Fan. WIBC, meanwhile, jumped to WNOU’s former 93.1 FM frequency.
 
WIBC is Emmis’ flagship radio station. Among listeners 12 and older, WIBC ranked fourth in the market with a 6.4 summer rating, according to New York-based Arbitron Inc. Hank and The Fan posted ratings of 4.5 and 1.5, respectively, among the same age group.

For the fiscal third-quarter period ended Nov. 30, Emmis' revenue fell 18 percent to $64.6 million compared with the same period in 2008. And revenue for the first nine months of the fiscal year declined 23 percent from the previous year, to $188.6 million.

Even so, the media company reported a $1.7 million profit in the fiscal third quarter compared with a $125.7 million loss during the same time in 2008. The loss was due primarily to a $210.2 million impairment charge related to Federal Communications Commission licenses during the third quarter.

Emmis’ fiscal year began March 1, which might have helped prompt the latest moves, said Chris Wheat, market manager of Atlanta-based Cumulus Media’s local cluster, which includes WJJK-FM 104.5 and WFMS-FM 95.5.

“So I’m sure they’re looking at their budget lines and their products to make changes that they feel will be in the best interest of their products,” Wheat said.

Emmis owns 22 radio stations in seven U.S. markets along with radio operations in Bulgaria and Slovakia, as well as seven U.S. magazines.

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  • Bring Big Joe and Terri back
    Please go back to Big Joe and Terri. Steve is o.k. for P.M. but the A.M. show is boring and he won't let Terri be her happy self. This morning for the first time I did change station
  • HORRIBLE
    After 57 years of radio listening to WIBC ; it has lost me forever. Steves' voice is grating on nerves and he is a blowhard. .

    Now the format on Saturday has changed and he is on and no call ins. WIBC is ruming a good thing and will see a big drop in ratings wth this new format and people change.

    RADIO IS HAVING ENOUGH PROBLEMS STAYING AFLOAT WITH OUT THEM DELIBLERTY CAUSING THEIR OWN DEMISE.
  • This isn't ESPN Radio
    They should take the ESPN affiliation away. This is a local sports radio station, nothing more.. talking all day about the Colts and Pacers, with a sprinkling of IU and Purdue is just not good enough. It gets old. At least Colin brought a nice breather in the middle of the day from the local stuff.
  • The Fan
    Eddie White is a shill for all his "dogs" and "bros". Good grief! Steve Simpson is an opinionated blowhard. You're going to lose it with him. Couldn't stand to listen to him in the pm either. Really enjoy Terry and Big Joe and still miss Dave the King.

    Fix it right, guys!
  • Goodbye
    No more Colin, no more Justin. This stinks so bad.
  • Yeah JMV
    It's about time JMV gets back on the radio. He represents Indiana. He "gets" what we are and what we want. MPOS sucks and E&K are boring. He always had good interviews that covered a wide spectrum of sports and the various levels of the sports. He definitely will rule the sports airwaves when he returns. I turned off local sports radio and I believe alot of other people did too when he left! Hurry up JMV, we need you now.
  • This was necessary
    Bouncin Bill Baker, Gary Todd, and Pidge were staples of the WIBC morning show. Joe and Terri were good, but Steve can be that new pivotal morning person. Where is Dave Wilson? He was perfect and to have just left like that - I still am not over it. Where did he go to, anyone??
  • Hate the new format
    I loved Big Joe and Terri together. Loved Stever in the afternoon. They need to get rid of Nikki Reed. She talks so fast on the traffic report I can't understand her. Gone are the good days of the Pidge (although he was too liberal for WIBC).
  • hello Abdul
    I'm very disappointed that Big Joe has been moved from his spot. Morning radio is usually mindless, but Joe made even TS tolerable. He actually had something to say that was more than just the typical blather. Back to listening to Abdul, I guess. Bummer!
  • Love the guys.
    I really like K&E and DD. They are very interesting. Funny too. Originals. Seriously, can anyone really tell the difference between Greg Rakestraw, Brad Wokamurka, Tim Bragg, MPOS, JMV, Kevin Lee, MG, etc.? They all have great voices but no substance. Nothing. And JMV with that Jim Rome wannabe stuff. So fake. Like his name. I think K&E and DD are interesting EVERY day and isn't that what's important? We've never ever had shows like those. they get the best guests. More friends of mine listen to sports radio now than every before. I'd add an hour to K&E so I can hear more driving home. I also like Eddie alone. He is not as fast then, really listens to the callers and guests. DD is the best we've got. Him and Eddie were good together. Mark Boyle and DD too. Please no more "radio" guys with nothing behind them! I do agree I don't like when Kravitz just mails it in and repeats his column and tells us how tired and busy he is. He can be a drip at times.
  • Love the guys
    I really like K&E. They are different than anything we've ever had. Really, can you tell the difference between Rakstraw, Brad Wokamurka, Tim Bragg, JMV, MPOS, the "kid" at 950, MG, Kevin Lee, etc.? They all have great voices and "nothing" behind it. No substance. Agree with them or not, K&E and DD are different. Very interesting to listen to every day. And that's the key. Staysniak will be another house organ for the Colts. No controversy with Big Joe. He'll just say what Zupancic tells him to say so that's a misfire. I'd add an hour to K&E. That's the only change I'd make. In fact I like when Eddie goes alone. He doesn't talk as fast, isn't as crazy and is great with the callers and guests. He's funny. And, seriously the JMV trying to be Jim Rome is so old! Fake name. Fake schtick. Give me Dakich. He's real.
  • Shake up needed
    Other than Dakich, none of the local shows are remotely "listenable." Eddie White is a complete name dropping baffoon, JMV is a complete hack, and with the exception of some good baseball guests, MPOS is the same tired garbage as the first time around. Good riddens to Cowherd too. Go practice "Big Boy Radio" in another market - you won't be missed here.
  • K&E are great.
    I'm extremely disappointed that Kravitz will not be back. Him and Eddie are the perfect complement to each other. They are enjoyable, they have great interviews and are the only reason I listen to sports radio. It's a shame that Kravitz is leaving, his voice is so important in Indianapolis. It will be a shame on April 8th.
  • JMV please
    Please bring JMV back... I have to listen to national podcasts on my way home now instead of live, local sports talk. For those of you that don't like JMV, you have no taste for really good talk radio!!
  • thumbs down to JMV
    This change will ruin local afternoon sports radio. MP is rude and disrespectful. JMV has no personality, he is boring and only passable interviewer. Sorry to see a change - not sure I can listen. Love Eddie though
  • No to JMV
    I've listened to sports talk around here since JMV was a nobody working with Patrick. I couldn't stand Mark Patrick because he was more interested in making jokes than talking sports. Once JMV took over he started doing the same thing. I could care less about his sons big head and Greene County. I can't stand his fake radio voice. K&E do a great job as long as Eddie doesn't get to crazy. They have great guests and talk sports which is why it is called sports talk radio. Double D does a great job because he tells you exactly what he thinks i don't always agree but that is what it is about. I'm glad cowherd is gone but i wish they were keeping everything else the same. I don't want to and won't listen to JMV. Look at the ratings, K&E took over the local market, there is a reason for that.
  • Ratings
    I am not a huge fan of E & K or JMV, but just to be clear E&K beat JMV in ratings the last month he was on air. So don't say that Indy liked JMV better when it was beginning to turn.
  • blah blah
    I hope JMV stays off the air. His constant blabbing and lack of guests does not make interesting listening. I appreciate the true sports knowledge and the interesting guests on WNDE. I can't stand lame listener comments, which is what JMV banked on.
  • SWEEEEET!
    - JMV is entertaining and a really nice guy. He is supposedly waiting for his non-compete to expire so that he can replace White and Kravitz. Word is their ratings are horrible and I can see (hear) why. Keep in mind, Kravitz is an editorial writer. Editorials do not give facts or break stories. They are there to cause an emotional response. Kravtiz does not care if he is right or wrong; if you like him or not; all he cares is that you read the article (or at least accidentally click on his page so that it appears you are reading his article).

    - MPOS is condescending and outdated (circa 1989 Hoosier Lottery TV Show)

    - Colin Cohwerd only cares about large markets. He makes statements that he could not possibly believe just to kiss-up to NY, LA and Boston.

    - Dan Dakich is fantastic, but he will always look to return to coaching. You canâ??t build a franchise around him for that reason alone.

    Just my opinions or editorials.....

    - MPOS is condescending and outdated.

    - Colin Cohwerd only cares about large markets. He makes statements that he could not possibly believe just to kiss-up to NY, LA and Boston.

    - Dan Dakich is fantastic, but he will always look to return to coaching. He canâ??t build a franchise around him for that reason alone.
  • ESPN Pre-emption
    Why do you affiliate with ESPN (or any network) and then pre-empt more and more of their programming? I have satellite radio in one vehicle - I need to add it to the other.
  • Dakich in the 3-6
    Kravitz is totally useless to the Indy sports Scene. Not only should he be removed from the radio the Star should grow a pair and cut him from there too.
    JMV is better than the current line-up but Dakich is the freshest thing to hit the Indy sports talk scene in years-might as well give him the 3-6 now it is only a matter of time before it becomes obvious that he is the most popular and articulate guy in talk.
    No I did not go to IU. I am a proud Sycamore.
  • Ditto
    JMV rocks and his ratings were always solid.I hope he comes back somewhere. Mark Patrick is talented but he constantly makes fun of the callers as if they are mere "peasants" and that is a major turn off.
  • Terri Spacey
    Terri Spacey needs to go away to make Indy Morning radio listenable. Thank goodness WLW 700am is alive and well!
  • Dvae doesn't speak for me
    Sorry I'll take Mark Patrick any day of the week over JMV and his rambling on about his kid's big head and interviews with some washed up rap star. MPOS at least ads some humor and intelligence to the sports talk scene. JMV sucks
  • Exodus
    Axing Cowherd is a great start now get rid of Eddie. He has no business being on the radio. Big Joe will do a fine job for us.
  • Good changes
    Good move to get Colin Cowherd off The Fan as he was a caustic interruption between Dakich and Kravitz/Eddy show.

    Not sure if Big Joe can make 2 hours of sports talk interesting, but we'll see.

    Eddy White makes me nervous with his speed talk ramblings. Replacing White (and Kravitz, too) with JMV would bring a younger audience as well as those who won't listen to Fast Eddy.

    Lately all Kravitz does is re-hash his latest column or tease about an upcoming one. His insights are mostly non-existent as Fast Eddy continually interrupts him with an inane comment.

    WNDE's Mark Patrick sounds old, bored and out of touch with what today's sports fan want to discuss. His snarky comments and conceited demeanor is neither funny or endearing.
  • Welcome back JMV?!
    I know I speak for a lot of us die hard Indy sports talk listeners....JMV is the best. Alternately, Mark Patrick is totally unlistenable. His smug attitude and style is just the worst...
    • JMV
      Someone needs to sign JMV. The afternoon sports talk scene is terrible right now. Kravitz and Eddie are terrible and MPOS is plain boring. If 1070 is smart they will sign JMV and I know a lot of 25-40 year olds would agree with me.
    • Charlie Morgan is best in market.
      Excellent decisions. Mike & Mike to Joe to Dan to JMV will prove the beginning of the end of the current lineup at WNDE. Eddie has an incredible rolodex and provides big name guests but Kravitz adds nothing at all to the conversation. Perhaps he could join Mark Patrick at 1260 for those that prefer the Oldies.
    • Kravitz
      If stations executives are smart, they'll retain Kravitz and get rid of Eddie. He's a blowviac.
    • Adios Cowherd
      I didn't listen to The Fan during the afternoon just to avoid Colin Cowherd inane ramblings. Now that he's gone, I'll tune in again.
    • JMV to the Rescue
      May have to start checking in if JMV will be involved in the currently tragic afternoon sports debacle.
    • Geez!
      Well, I won't be listening to BC in the a.m. anymore! Big Joe is what makes that spot fun. Steve Simpson's voice is grating on the nerves and he is about as interesting as a 1950s sitcom. Who cares what your favorite color is???!!! Bummer...

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