Changes at WTIC 1080

As you may have heard, changes are happening at WTIC to the on air line up. I briefly spoke with Jim a couple of times today, and to say he was surprised is a bit of an understatement. He’s busy with the Sound Off Daughter’s wedding coming up tomorrow, but asked me to post something here on the blog.

After nine years at WTIC, Diane Smith, who co-hosted the morning show with Ray Dunaway, will not have her contract renewed and is leaving the station. She is interested in exploring ways to continue to work with the station, and has many other projects she is looking forward to. Diane’s statement is posted at Roger Catlin’s blog.

Colin McEnroe, who was on air between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. has also been let go. Colin will be on the air tomorrow afternoon, and he may post more information at his forum on the Hartford Courant’s Web site.

Jim’s pretty swamped, but wanted to send his best to both Diane and Colin. Some of us have been let go from positions we really enjoyed, or know others in the similar situations. It sucks, plain and simple.

Jim’s show – Sound Off Connecticut – will expand by one hour and start at 9 a.m. ET. He’s excited, and probably a bit nervous. But for many, two hours was never enough!

Ray’s morning show starts at 5:30 a.m. and goes till 9 a.m. The slot from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. after Rush Limbaugh will be a local and national news program hosted by Aaron Kupec and Bill Pearse.

Jim will be on the air Monday morning after this week’s break.

48 replies
  1. Rick - WH
    Rick - WH says:

    Thanks, Steve for posting this announcement.

    I saw the tease for this on the Fox 61 News at 10 and, at first, I thought that my heart had stopped.

    When I watched their piece, I was relieved that Jim was staying and that his show would be lengthened to three hours.

    As I said in an email to Jim tonight, Sound Off Connecticut is a unique program in this market. and has developed a loyal listener base. We now will have one more hour per day to cover topics that there wasn't ever time for. It will also give many of us a new reason to tune in at 3:00 PM – with the new Bill Pearse/Aaron Kupec program.

    We all need to tune in and support Jim and Sound Off Connecticut even more than ever – as well as give the 3:00 PM program a shot as well.

    Happy New Year Everyone! May we all have a healthy, peaceful and prosperous new year!

  2. Anne-EH
    Anne-EH says:

    Thanks Steve for the info that you have posted here. Heard about it on Channel 3 last night. Not suprised. Good that you are helping Jim this week since he is busy with Sound Off Connecticut's daugther's wedding which is tonight. Will read article. Take care and have a good New Year.

  3. Anne-EH
    Anne-EH says:

    Rick-WH, after I had read this article, which was very early this morning, I had sent Jim an e-mail early this morning before going back to bed letting him know that the decision by WTIC AM to laid off both Diane and Colin took me by suprise as well. Also was pleased that WTIC AM will give Jim a 3rd hour of "Sound Off Connecticut". You are right Rick-WH that "SOC" is unique for a radio talkshow program in CT. Looking forward to the new news format between 3-6PM and will support it as well. I offer my support to Jim with the new extra 3rd hour and this new news format as well.

    A Happy New Year 2009 To Jim, The "SOC" Live Chat Blog Community, And To All Our Dear Ones.

  4. Chris O.S.
    Chris O.S. says:

    Huge mistake by WTIC. Unlike MSNBC and FOX, I always felt the station WAS "fair and balanced". Diane and Colin vs Jim and Rush. I'm sure that there are many, like myself, who liked to hear both sides of issues (local and national). I wish the station would reconsider.

  5. Wyndeward
    Wyndeward says:

    I seem to recall Colin at one point boasting that it would take dynamite to get him out of the afternoon drive-time slot… apparently, he was wrong.

    The radio business is just that — a business. Successful shows and programming do not get cut, at least as a general rule — I do recall Air America gutting the programming of a reasonably successful local liberal station in NYC (it was admittedly a niche market station) to put on their losing format. WTIC is #2 in the region, but the time-slot specific rating continue to elude me. The closest explanation any of the articles I found in a quick search is "financial reasons."

    As for some of the "suggestions" out there, I know dumping Rush isn't an option — Rush essentially gives the show away in exchange for advertising slots, iirc. If the new afternoon show works on the same basis, they could lose listeners and still come out ahead.

    Likely it boils down to a simple cost-benefit equation — it maybe temporary for Diane, or, at least that is what they are alluding to this morning.

  6. Gary the socialist
    Gary the socialist says:

    I am sad to see anyone lose there Job and know that in this day and age they will not likely find work again that will pay as much as they earned here or have the same exposure. I wish them both well and ask WTIC if listeners are lacking and revenue down how about shaking it up by offering some local left wing shows to bring in some of those of us on the left. This is not a fair and blanced station in no way shape or form and maybe instead of firing your staff of many years you could have told them to do a focused left wing political show and try in bring in other groups and expand your base. That Is not bashing them on the way out but asking wtic to reconsider give Colin a month to reformat his show with diana into a focused plotical show and give him a chance.. This is not a fair a blanced station this is a right wing attack station. Sorry that is the facts and not to be hurtfull. I know that I listen a lot less now and have my sirrus to pick up another point of view being the left side but turn in to Jims show to support local programs . So Wtic give them a second chance let them team up and have a focused poltical show from the left side point of view and put some fairness on this station.The tide is turning WTIC and those who cry about the fairness doctoring as more and more left programing continues to grow and claim the market place are going to be pushing for it hard.So be ahead of the game and give them another shot. Best of luck to you Both and Good luck.

  7. Wayne SW
    Wayne SW says:

    Comrad Colin was his own worst enemy in that he was very immature and childish. Many times his ratings were more delusional than backed with solid reason. I will not miss him at all. Now after the Rush Limbaugh show, I may be tempted to will stay tuned to WTIC for a bit longer.

    Jim, an extra hour of the ViceMan is deserved.

    I am sure that the success of Sound Off Conn. played a major role in the morning slot changes. When something works, you want more of it. When it stops working, you eliminate it.

    Good bye Diane. Good bye Colin.

  8. Wyndeward
    Wyndeward says:

    Chris, Colin was his own worst enemy — once Bruce left, once it was Colin and his ego alone at the wheel, the show became lost its moderating influence.

    I stopped listening — Colin, with limits, was interesting. Colin in ego gratification mode was annoying.

  9. Chris O.S.
    Chris O.S. says:

    Wyndeward, I believe Colin's ratings were the highest, and you should read Rick Green's blog-comment by Bobby Sherwood about Colin.

  10. Anne-EH
    Anne-EH says:

    Gary, are left-leaning radio shows REALLY gaining traction? Would it be a suprise that the left-leaning shows flop on talkradio? Conservitive shows have been sucessful because they reach out to the grass roots. Just a few thoughts.

  11. Wayne SW
    Wayne SW says:

    @Chris….You did not here me cheering.

    I said that I won't miss him at all, just like I wont miss Shannahan as coach of the Broncos, or Mangini of the Jets. The private work sector is competitive. Those who perform well keep working. Those whose performance is weak, get cut.

    The trend in our failing "Public Schools," where there is no score keeping….no winners….no losers…..This "it doesn't matter" does not prepare students for the real world. Jobs are earned. Chris, you must be young. There is still time for you.

    If Colins rantings were so powerfully significant, why was his show canceled?

  12. Wyndeward
    Wyndeward says:

    Like I said, Chris, the cuts are financial, not ratings, although given recent events in Providence, I'm suspicious of the ratings in general.

    Depending on the syndication deal for the show replacing Colin, they could lose market-share and gain cash-flow. F'r'instance, if the show is CBS based and corporate is using a similar model to that used by Rush, the station gets the show for free, so their only costs for that slot are overhead. They trade a portion of their advertising slots for the show, meaning they don't need as many advertising salesmen.

    Businesses are not organized to provide jobs or to lose money.

  13. Anne-EH
    Anne-EH says:

    Chris, I think it was Ray's and Diane's show that got the higher ratings for a local show on WTIC AM because most folks tune in for weather, news, sports, and the drive by info when heading into work.

  14. Wyndeward
    Wyndeward says:

    If Colin's ratings were high, but they couldn't sell all advertising slots for his show, due to Colin's "charm," then high ratings isn't the be all and end all.

  15. Andre - Justice, IL
    Andre - Justice, IL says:

    I found this station on Windows Media Player around the end 2007 and I was pleased to find out WTIC was fair and balanced. I enjoy listening to Diane's beautiful voice and hearing her point of view. I will really miss hearing her in the mornings as I work from my cubicle.

    I also listened to Colin for a while but his show coincides with the Lou Dobbs program so I stop listening a few months ago. Colin sometimes got off track but he was a fair guy, he didn’t say many negative things about the other side. I wish both of them the best.

    I have been calling for an extra hour of Jim every since I start listening to the show. Although I don’t agree with him often, he’s VERY passionate about what he does and everyone appreciate that.

    Have a Happy, Safe, Healthy, & Lucky New Year.

  16. Anne-EH
    Anne-EH says:

    Wayne SW, agree with you that as WTIC makes changes to its programing in the afternoons after Rush, I could stay with WTIC AM longer because often as soon as Rush finished up, I either tuned to Sean Hannity online streaming since WTIC AM does not pick it up until late and plus it is live or I go and listened to another local conservitive AM talkradio show host whose radio station location is not going to be mentioned here.

    I wish both Diane and Colin all the best in their career journeys.

  17. Gary the socialist
    Gary the socialist says:

    Ouch- The hits keep coming… Folks wish them well but please do not bash and trash these folks on there way out. My God were is the compassion… Please give them a day or two and maybe open another blog to take shots at WTIC but just wish them well. They are family over there and they just lost three of there members… The Women ,The Black Guy and well the Token Left guy.I know from reading here it's all about the dollar, the almighty bow down to her and worship her and love her and her profit and sleep and hold her for the dollar is the source of life and the profit the soul of essence and let no man or women come between her and business bottom line . Yes we know it is a dog kill dog business world and we must eat the flesh as our corporate master tell us to and some will rise and some will fall and be buried alive to feed the worms but come on folks it is there last day give them some compassion.. Stan, Diana,Colin good luck and I hope all turns out well for you…

  18. Bill
    Bill says:

    If there were economic support for liberal opinion radio, Air America would have been a raging success. It was not.

    The entertainment industry, from the NBA to radio, is a very competitive industry. Conservative talk radio apparently makes money for the stations and their advertisers. This concept seems to confound and is anathema to Nanny Staters and other socialists.

    Not being privy to the ratings/revenue equation, I don't know whether Colin's show was a winner or loser for the station. My guess is that the revenue just wasn't there.

    Colin's snarky attacks on anything connected with the Bush administration combined with his constant reminders that he is always the smartest person in the universe were extremely tiresome. By 3:10 my radio is off or tuned to mindless music.

    I enjoyed Stan 's show. He's a dedicated family man. He made no bones about where his interests were and was a great advocate for his positions. His column in the Current can be maddening, but it's one of the few reasons to pick up the Current.

    Much as I often disagree with Diane Smith's positions, she is a tireless promoter of our state. God knows Corrupticut has enough negatives, we can use an unabashed booster. My bet is she'll be back.

  19. Wyndeward
    Wyndeward says:

    If I were a wagering man, I'd bet that Diane was probably the highest paid "talent" in the place. She has other employment, other prospects and the noise on the shoe this morning was that, depending on some outcomes, she'll be back if the money is there.

    Colin let his show devolve into cheer-leading for Hartford while he fled to the suburbs, while letting the same seven cronies call into the show and insulting the rest of the station's personalities. He still has his other gigs, as does Stan.

    That said, I am not sure that the station would be as eager to get either of these two back. Colin was polarizing — the love him / hate him, but listen shtick was only half right — I'd be curious what the net gain/loss of audience was between the last fifteen minutes of Limbaugh and the first fifteen minutes of McEnroe, although, as I said, given the ratings scandal in Providence, I'd less than sanguine about Arbitron as of late.

  20. billyc.n.y
    billyc.n.y says:

    i've been listening from the beginning.wtic has made a (sound) business decision…HAPPY NEW YEAR…To all the listeners and bloggers,chatters….A big conservative hug goes out to all…..

  21. Dave O.
    Dave O. says:

    Hurray! Jim is a hard worker, accurate, caring, respects his audience and one of the really good guys in the community – an inspiring person.

  22. Will FISNER
    Will FISNER says:

    Bravo!!!! Dumping those two leeches was the best present you could have given us for the New Year.

    Best wishes to all but two for a Healthy, Happy and Productive New Year!

  23. Tim L.
    Tim L. says:

    With a 3 hour timeslot, I wonder if Jim will look into some kind of syndication deal for Sound Off CT. Hey, if Glen Beck can do it and is now making a bazillion dollars on MSNBC / CNBC, then Jim (a more talented guy) can certainly go national.

  24. TFO
    TFO says:

    My husband and I are celebrating BIG TIME here today, with the news that WTIC *finally* had the guts to dump the arrogant, sophomoric, uber-liberal Colin McEnroe. Hopefully he'll lose his job writing his worthless columns over at the bankrupt lib-controlled Hartford Courant as well (we are happy to count ourselves among the thousands of EX-Courant subscribers). Gee, maybe Colin will have to actually have to find a REAL job, for once in his life.

    What an insult to the historic and powerful 50,000 watt WTIC 1080 Colin McEnroe and his stupid radio show was. Can you imagine what the classy, beloved Bob Steele would think of McEnroe if he were around today?

    Good riddance to Colin's hate-filled diatribes about President Bush and all Republican/conservative politicians and ideas in general. His show with Brucie Stevens was absolutely unlistenable… I'm stunned that show lasted as long as it did. Every day they giggled like two middle school girls when they weren't viciously making fun of some Republican woman's physical appearance, ie Katherine Harris or Martha Dean, a Republican candidate for Connecticut Attorney General a few years ago. Colin McEnroe repeatedly referred to Martha Dean – on the air – as "psychotic". Real classy, Colin.

    Good riddance to Diane Smith as well. She added nothing to the morning "Ray and Diane show", in my opinion. I always preferred Ray Dunaway as the more substantive host. She was just "fluff" and her constant "Uh-huhs" really irritated me.

    EXCELLENT news about Jim Vicevich's "Sound Off Connecticut" expansion! Couldn't happen to a more wonderful, classy guy. I have been a loyal fan of Vicevich's show since Day One. Jim has done SO MUCH in support of our troops and for worthy causes such as ALS/Lou Gehrig's disease… often very quietly. His Sound Off Connecticut concerts in support of ALS have been outstanding.

    Both Jim Vicevich and Ray Dunaway have contributed so much to Connecticut and to the Hartford area in general over the years. What has holier-than-thou Colin McEnroe ever done for the community? *crickets chirping*

    The Left in this country "owns" just about everything: TV (except Fox News and Fox News Business), the newspapers, with few exceptions, the Green movement, the unions and the univerisities. But the Left will never "get it", regarding talk radio. It is a BUSINESS… the radio show has to be a consistently SUBSTANTIVE, entertaining and informative show. It has to earn decent ratings and be financially viable. The show should not be a vehicle to endlessly spew hate, arrogance and goofy giggling about childless, worthless stupid stuff. Adios, Colin! :o)

  25. Dimsdale
    Dimsdale says:

    I had nothing against Diane, but the radio went off when that annoying little "teaser" of Colin's came on just before the news after Rush's show, where he made some smarmy remark about Rush's show.

    My issues go back to the mid 90's, when Colin viciously attacked an elderly lady caller (and he was blatantly wrong in his attack). I wrote a letter to the station manager complaining, and apparently, Colin was piqued enough to read it on the air and made some rude and/or snarky commentary about it. I didn't hear it, because as I promised the station manager, I was not going to listen to Colin again. And I never have since then. Others told me about it, asking if I was the guy who wrote that "venom filled letter." LOL! I never heard from Colin, who decided it was wiser (and it was) not to speak to me directly (at the number provided, preferring the easy (coward's?) way out.

    The station clearly recognizes talent, and as such, rewarded Jim with an additional hour.

    Thank you, WTIC.

  26. Sal C
    Sal C says:

    I am happy to hear about the extra hour for SOC. Also I am sorry to hear about Diane and Colin they are both in my prayers.

    God Bless
    Sal C

  27. Rick - WH
    Rick - WH says:

    LATE BREAKING NEWS? (or just rumor):

    With all of the air time and exposure (whether it was good, bad or indifferent) that Colin McEnroe gave to Secretary of the State Susan Bysewicz over these years, would it surprise you if she named him as her Communications Director? (oh wait, she already has one and an Assistant Communications Director).

    Alternatively, maybe Colin will serve as paid chairperson of Sysan Bysewicz's campaign for Governor – which should officially be announced any day now (the campaign actually started years ago).

    If neither of those work out, Colin will just have to return to professional tennis, sponsored by the Secretary of the State. (sorry, that was a different McEnroe).

    Then again, who knows? It is Colin.

  28. Betty
    Betty says:

    Chris O.S. is absolutely right. I agree with him 100%. WTIC WAS balanced prior to Diane and Colin being let go. Too much Rush and Vicevich – no balance at all. Sorry to see them go.

  29. James Cameron
    James Cameron says:

    OMG, they fired the wrong guy! Hard to believe that Vicevich still has a home, but I guess TIC is the new right wing nut job hate radio destination.

  30. Tom TGR Wolcott
    Tom TGR Wolcott says:

    First and foremost I know that letting anyone go from a job or a position is a terrible thing. I have been on both sides of this fence. I have let people go, and have been let go.

    No matter how you feel about Diane or Collin, I first and foremost wish them luck and sucess in any endevour that they may take on.

    I never really listened to Colin, but I had not realized that he had been with WTIC for 16 years, and Diane 9 years.

    The TV and Radio Industry is an always changing field, and sometimes a bit to abrupt at times. Some changes are good and others are bad. But I am sure that the decisions were made to keep the station competitive not only in a programming department but finacialy as well.

    On a personal note I am pleased that Jim's show will go from 2 hours to 3 hours and that Colin is gone…I will miss Dianes laugh though….

    Tom

  31. libertarian27
    libertarian27 says:

    Congratulations Jim on the extra hour!
    Your show will now rival Rush's for the "Fastest Three Hours on the Radio!"

  32. Bob_In_TN
    Bob_In_TN says:

    The talk of Jim's show garnering the extra hour has been going on for quite a while now. Ratings speak for themselves regarding Colin's demise, I am, however, a bit perplexed as to Diane's. She spoke for the liberal elite in CT, a demographic which will certainly take a hit in the morning drive-time slot. Public Radio is about to see a ratings windfall.
    That being said, congratulations Jim, you've earned the extra hour. Good Luck in 2009!

  33. Jim
    Jim says:

    Hope Jim drops a comment on here defending his former friends and coworkers from his own angry mob of "fans". Stay classy Vice fans. Stay classy.

  34. Tom TGR Wolcott
    Tom TGR Wolcott says:

    Jim, I hope your are ready on Monday for 3 hours of the Bathrobe Party sitting in your chat room watching you hehehehehehe

  35. Jason
    Jason says:

    TFO above mentioned this….Diane Smith has the annoying habit of needing to say "un-huh" after ever comment. You would have thought that someone at the station would have told her to stop. It was totally annoying. I've never heard that from any other radio personality. Maybe they did tell her and she just could not control it. I don't know, but simply because of that habit, I did not like listening to her.

  36. Troy
    Troy says:

    I couldn't care one way or the other about Colin, as I never listened at that time. (If I listened to any WTIC, it's the Damon Scott show on the FM side.) However, I will miss Diane. Whatever I may of thought about her political viewpoints, she did offer quite a bit on the non-political side. She's been a strong supporter of the good things in the state (like her show, Postively Connecticut), and listening to her and Ray play off each other (they said on the show that Ray encouraged her to speak her opinions, even if they didn't share those opinion) was always fascinating. (Although Ray was usually right. -_^)

    I agree with TFO and Jason about the "uh-huh"s, but when your on radio and talking over the phone, it might have been the only way she could let the guest (and us) know she was paying attention. I'll miss her, but at least Ray's staying and Jim's getting more time to shine. So it takes two positives to get over the one negative. I hope Ray hangs out on Sound Off every now and then. I like listening to Ray and Jim chat.

  37. Steve
    Steve says:

    No offense, but for right now I'm going to close comments on this post. Jim's had a busy week and he may be back online this weekend. Many have asked him to chime in. I'm certain you'll hear more over the weekend, or maybe you'll have to wait until Monday.

  38. Lucinda
    Lucinda says:

    A loyal fan since day one, I am delighted that Jim will have an extra hour. He has earned it. God bless you, Jim.

    As for Diane, though we disagree politically, she was a good balance for Ray, and I thought she did a good job interviewing guests.

    I used to enjoy reading Colin's Courant columns way back when he first started. Then he started to become too much of a liberal elitist. I used to sometimes listen to him on the radio, but usually ended up turning him off to keep myself from throwing the radio out the window.

  39. Trawlerowner
    Trawlerowner says:

    WTIC changes are a plus and minus!! The pluses are the expansion of SOC to 3 hours & the loss of Colin McEnroe in the PM! The minuses are the loss of Diane Smith & Stan Simpson. Diane & Stan offered a bit of political balance to the station which is "good for the mind".  Congratulations, Jim on the SOC daughter's wedding & the expansion of your program time. 

  40. adam
    adam says:

    So "Fathead" Rush's show lives  & "Airhead/Pinhead" Colon's (spelling intential) show assumes room temperature. There is justice!

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