Fans of the popular liberal talk show host Stephanie Miller tuned into radio station WDTW 1310-AM at 9:06 a.m. Monday morning expecting to hear Step and the Mooks, but they were, first, confused, disappointed and then angry to discover that she had been replaced by some middle-of-the road guy named Michael Patrick Shiels.
The station’s Facebook page exploded with more than 50 angry comments; the comments ranging from they will no longer listen to the station to questioning how the station can bill itself as “Detroit’s Progressive Talk” with no progressive talk.
Actually, Steph did not go away; she will be heard in the 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. time slot, but considering the signal is so week that it cannot he heard after sundown, it’s as good as kicking her off. This sounds very similar to what happened in January when Steph was replaced with rightwing psycho Glenn Beck on Green 960 in San Francisco. The ratings fell by 90 percent there, and we will see similar results here.
The two situations are very similar. Both are Blue states – Michigan since 1992 – and both Detroit and San Francisco are two of the most liberal cites in the country. But the real similarity is that both stations are owned by Clear Channel; which owns more radio stations than anyone else in the United States. They also own Premiere Radio Networks, the company that syndicates the radio shows of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Glenn Beck and other rightwing nuts.
But here is the conspiracy theory: Bain Capital is one of the primary owners of Clear Channel, acquiring it in 2008, and like all Bain properties, lots of employees got pink slips. GOP Presidential candidate Mitt Romney started Bain, and although he is no longer involved in the day to day operations of Bain, he still has a huge financial stake in Bain Capital.
Step has been a constant critic of the Mittster, and a big supporter of President Obama. Moving here to the graveyard shift makes no financial sense.
Stephanie Miller has the top selling-comedy album and top-grossing comedy tour; selling out venues all over the country, including places where there are no liberal talk stations. She has also tripled Current TV ratings in the short time the radio show has been broadcast there. Just last month, Talker’s Magazine – the trade publication for the industry – released its annual “Heavy Hundred” list of influential talk shows hosts, and Steph was No. 11; ahead of people like Howard Stern – the “King of all Media” – Neil Bortz and Dennis Miller. I didn’t see Mr. Shiels anywhere.
I used the station’s online feedback form to let them know those facts, and I got a response from Marti Martin, a Program Coordinator/Reporter at the station, as well as sports station WDFN.
“Thank you so much for taking the time to send feedback. We are striving to keep Detroit’s Progressive Talk on the air, which means we must also air revenue generating shows. This is the case for the new show that is replacing Stephanie. Fortunately, we were able to keep Stephanie on this station by moving her to a later time slot. You can still listen to her show at 9a via the internet by going to 1310wdtw.com and going to her on-air page or on IHeart radio.”
I don’t see how you can generate revenue by dropping one of the most popular liberal talk show hosts in the country, and I’m still waiting for that answer.
You can ask her the same question by emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org or snail mail at
Farmington Hills, MI 48331 or calling at (248) 324-5437.