In another blow to both local and "progressive" radio, WINZ 940-AM fired morning host Nicole Sandler and has replaced her with the oft-controversial national radio celebrity Don Imus.
In an e-mail, WINZ's Ken Charles, the station's director of AM programming, cited a lack of ratings and a general lack of revenue coming from the progressive format as a reason for the move. Charles wrote that the station needed a "big name" to fill the slot, though he conceded that Imus was popular "sometimes for the wrong reasons to many people."
The dismissal of Sandler, who replaced Jim DeFede when he left the station last year, raised the ire of Hollywood activist Howard Sher, a big Sandler fan who complained about the move to Charles. Here's the complete text of Charles' e-mailed response:
WINZ is a difficult station to operate. The progressive format has not translated to revenues like other format have. So we are in the position where we have to evaluate its ability to generate dollars as we are a business. The morning ratings were the lowest on the station. Lower than Lionel’s in fact, so moving her was not a wise option.
That said, especially in this important election year we are dedicated to the format, to choice and to providing an alternative to the other side of talk radio. Don Imus is a big name who does entertaining radio. He is some one familiar, sometimes for the wrong reasons to many people. Some of that is very unfair. Regardless he is a name we hope will bring needed attention and revenues to WINZ. And he has access to guests no other host on WINZ has.
Have you ever actually listened to his show? Please give it a try. You might find him more entertaining then you think. Change is always hard. Trust me, this one was very very hard. However I hope you will give Imus a try and also stay with WINZ for the many programs you do enjoy.
Thanks for caring enough to write.
Director of AM Programming
Clear Channel Miami