But when the wrong word goes in the right ear.
WHYN-FM‘s new morning show may be off to a rougher start than ordinarily would be the case. Chris Zito and Karen Boyd will continue to face the ghosts of ‘Morning Mix’ past. Springfield, Massachusetts media watchers have been perplexed, if not amazed, at WHYN-FM’s handling of Zito & Karen’s predecessors, Dan and Kim. For the radio station, the problem worsened when Dan Williams and Kim Zachary announced they will be hosting a morning news show begining April 23rd on WGGB-TV40.
This has been a management case study of how not to handle staff transition. In January Dan & Kim learned they would not see a contract renewal, but they would get to have a last show to say goodbye to their listeners. Then the station backed out of that deal when they were unhappy that the soon to be unemployed couple were talking with the press. So they were out, yet WHYN-FM did not have a replacement morning show ready. The Mix Morning Show went into a holding pattern, music heavy personality devoid.
That eventually led to ‘Zito and Karen’ taking the helm. From what I have heard on air, they are off to slow start. The pair face the challenge of building chemistry in an environment made worse by the people who hired them. It is important to note that you can not judge any air personality/team until at least six-months into it. What you see and hear during the break in period is often not what you get in the long term.
The cardinal sin committed by WHYN-FM was either not having or not standing by a plan for transition. Management 101 says, they must have a new team ready as soon as the old team departs. In fact, they either should have removed Dan & Kim from the air as soon as it became clear that an end to their show as at hand, or if the new team was not ready, they should have been kept on air until the new team was ready. This failure to plan has led to a public relations snafu.
I am pretty confident that management at WHYN-FM felt Dan & Kim would be forced to look out of the area for work. Finding radio jobs is tough, as a couple it would be almost impossible. No one, including myself, factored in the possibility of them landing on local TV. Yet here they are. They face the challenge of transitioning from a hot medium (radio) to a cool medium (television) which is not always easy for radio people. Of concern for their former employer is that they will be appearing in bascially the same time slot.
To be sure some of their former listeners will be sampling the new television endeavor. This coupled with the trend of morning news television grabbing an increasing share of the media pie are factors in their favor. On the opposite side of the ledger is the fact that WWLP-TV22 owns the news market. Specifically, NewsCenter22 has a three to one advantage over WGGB-TV in the morning.
I like Channel 40’s thinking about trying something different in an effort to dent 22’s lead since it is obvious that the head to head thing is not working. It will be interesting to see how Dan & Kim interface with the news product.
For WHYN-FM things are more complex than just having their former morning team on TV. Dan & Kim have not topped WMAS-FM’s top rated morning show in about six-years. The two stations have been engaged in a decades long battle for the hearts and minds of women 25-54. You have to wonder if WMAS-FM will benefit if Dan & Kim are able to make a go of it on TV. Will they siphon off WHYN-FM listeners further widening the ratings gap between the two radio stations? Certainly there is a revenge factor here for Dan & Kim.
This puts pressure on the new WHYN-FM Mix Morning Team (Zito & Karen), as well as station management, to put the pedal to the metal or they could be looking at Dan & Kim as the ‘Good Ole’ days.