I have a lot of history listening to WCCO-AM here in the Twin Cities, going back to when I moved to this area as a child in 1972. Sure, I did the whole KDWB 630 AM thing, but the neighbor carried the Twins games, plus kept me informed, which made me a pretty smart kid through my early adolescence, so I know a thing or two about what was once the most popular radio station in the area.
One of the endearing qualities of WCCO-AM all these years was the refusal to follow the growing trend of scrapping shows with local talent in favor of syndicated or satellite programing (aka Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck), despite the obvious cost benefit of such a move. It should be noted that KTLK-FM, the station that carries Limbaugh and Beck here locally, along with one local morning show (Chris Baker), seriously lags behind 'CCO in the Arbitron ratings.
That said, the neighbor has fallen from it's lofty perch as well. Dropping from first place, a position it held forever until KQRS-FM blew by them over 10 years ago, to 7th, which still makes it by far, the most listened to station on the AM dial.
Tied for 18th place in this market (3rd on the AM dial) was my my recent favorite, KSTP AM 1500. A station that, like WCCO, featured local talk personalities. What I liked about AM1500's personalities (Patrick Reusse, Jay Kolls, Shawn Prebil, Chris Murphy, Kelly Webb, Joe Soucheray, Joe Anderson and Al Malmberg) was their ability to keep me informed and entertained without coming off as polished and over pretentious. I felt like I was listening to regular guys from all walks of life.
Last week, "The Talk Station" that I liked so much, became "The Sports Talk Station." Worse yet, with the exception of Reusse, Soucheray and for now, Anderson, the rest have been sent packing. Hubbard Broadcasting, the parent company of AM1500, has entered into a contract with ESPN Radio, meaning 3/4 of their programing will originate from New York.
Needless to say, that preset on my radio no longer exists, but I have a hard time returning back to 'CCO on a regular basis. First off, all these ads for mortuaries and hospices kinda creeps me out. I know that a buck's a buck, but I'm 47 years old. Hopefully, I have a good 20 plus years before I have to worry about using any of these services. Also, there are times when I think my blood sugar is going to spike listening to all this sugary sweet content. It's sad when you look forward to the relic, Sid Hartman, just to hear a normal sounding guy.
That said, WCCO is now my main choice for information during the hours in which I'm in my cab. I understand there has been a revolving door of hosts filling that 1-3pm slot, including some guy last week from Philadelphia. Here is your chance, good neighbor. Suddenly there is a pool of very good local talk talent that is available for the taking. Do me and a few other former loyal listeners of KSTP a favor and bring one of these guys in. I think you'll see an even bigger spike in your listeners than you have since AM1500 turned it's back on us.