Babe Pages/MOJO experiment fails; Chris Baker back to KPRC

Mike McGuff and the Radio-Info boards both posted an interesting press release from Clear Channel, which we'll post in its entirety and comment afterwards:

Houston gets a Morning Cup of Joe and a Good Baker

KPRC-AM Announces Chris Baker to Follow Joe ‘Pags’ Pagliarulo Starting March 2nd

Houston, Texas , February 17, 2009 –Beginning Monday, March 2nd, Houstonians will get an ever better cup of 9-5-0 Radio Mojo when Chris Baker returns to the airwaves on his hometown station KPRC-AM announced Eddie Martiny, President and Market Manager for Clear Channel Radio Houston. The Chris Baker show will air live from 3-5pm daily, while award winning Joe ‘Pags’ Pagliarulo will move to mornings to host “your Morning Cup of Joe” from 6-9am.

“Chris has a lot of fans in Houston, and he’s incredibly talented. We are excited to bring him back to Houston, back to the same station and time slot in which he began on-air over eight years ago,” said Michael Berry, Operations Director for Clear Channel Radio Houston’s AM stations. “With Walton & Johnson moving up the dial to the Arrow, 93.7 FM, the morning show slot opened on The 9-5-0. ‘Pags’ was the perfect choice for the mornings. If ‘Pags’ can appear on Fox News Channel, CNN, Headline News, CNBC and fill in for Glen Beck, we know he will be the perfect cup-of morning Joe for Houston.” added Berry.

Joe ‘Pags has been honored with multiple AP and broadcast association awards of excellence, and has been ranked among the most influential talk show hosts in America. Chris Baker is a stand-up comic who has been making Houstonians laugh for years, but he also makes them think. Houston loves his brand of talk and humor, and Clear Channel is looking forward to his listeners responding to his message.

The new KPRC-AM 9-5-0 Radio Mojo line up will be:

Morning Cup of Joe with Joe ‘Pags’ Pagliarulo 6a-9a
Michael Garfield 9a-11a
Outlaw Dave 11a-1p
Dave Ramsey Show 1p-3p
The Chris Baker Show 3p-5p
The Michael Savage Show 5p-8p

KPRC-AM is the first radio station in Texas, originally broadcasting in 1925. KPRC-AM’s legendary TalkRadio format transitioned to “guytalk” in July of 2007. With the exciting move of ‘Pags’ to the mornings and the addition of Baker and the station will retain the popular Radio Mojo format.

Retain the popular Radio Mojo format? This "new" lineup would seem to be confirmation that the Babe Pages/Radio Mojo approach has been an unmitigated disaster, since this lineup looks hardly anything like the original lineup.

The new lineup isn't bad, although we don't really understand why the nation's fourth largest city gets a non-local talker from San Antonio (Joe Pags) in the morning drive slot of a once-great station (for that matter, we don't understand why the Houston Chronicle has outsourced its UT and Texas A&M sports coverage to the San Antonio newspaper, but that's slightly off topic). And Michael Garfield's previous non-weekend stints have not always been examples of good radio, but at least he's local.

Chris Baker
Baker, who has long been a friend of the little blog, told me earlier that he was looking forward to being back on Houston radio, but was not yet ready to comment further. We are definitely looking forward to his return.

The Chronicle's David Barron couldn't secure a quote from Baker (Advantage: blogHOUSTON), but did manage to get this out of Michael "Babe Pages" Berry:

“Chris did not leave (Houston) because of performance issues, but to pursue other opportunities and over disagreements during contract negotiations,” said Michael Berry, AM operations director for Clear Channel’s Houston stations. “With a talented talk-show host, just as with a professional athlete, sometimes these differences occur.

“We did not want to lose him, and we have wanted him back since the day he left. This move accomplishes that. This is Chris Baker’s radio home.”

Everyone who follows Houston media knows that Chris Baker was terminated (despite his ratings, which were stellar) and that Michael Berry had a hand in it. As a political scientist, I expect politicians (and ex-politicians) to lie, and lie frequently, so I guess it shouldn't surprise me when Berry does what pols and ex-pols do. But let's just say I find it distasteful, and leave it at that.

Thank goodness we can all say goodbye to that dreadful Babe Pages/Radio Mojo experiment on KPRC (whether anyone at Clear Channel will admit it). They have so damaged that radio station in a short time that it may never return to its past glory, but getting Baker back where he belongs is a good first step.

Posted by Kevin Whited @ 02/18/09 11:02 PM | Print |

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