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WCCO-AM buyouts begin: Tim Russell leaving

A few weeks ago, I wrote that some familiar voices would be leaving the Good Neighbor via buyouts. Now, the first name has surfaced: Tim Russell, the man of a million voices who frequently appears as entertainment editor on Dave Lee’s morning show.

While WCCO program director Wendy Paulson declined to comment, Russell’s agent, Amy Oppegaard confirmed the departure. Russell is widely known as a good guy, and I know his WCCO and “Prairie Home Companion” fans will want to know how he feels about all this. (The buyout doesn’t involve PHC, of course.) Oppegaard passed along my interview request and I’ll let you know if I hear from him.

I still expect other departures, though I haven’t yet been able to confirm the names I’ve heard. WCCO, which hired John Williams for its 1-3 p.m. show earlier this month, still hasn’t filled the 9-1 a.m. “Dark Star” slot that insiders expect Tommy Mischke to get at least part of. Amid the buyouts, the station remains in negotiations with AFTRA, the labor union representing on- and off-air employees.

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Comments (5)

  1. Submitted by Patrick Steele on 04/23/2010 - 08:23 pm.

    While I wasn’t big on his latest gig with the station, Russell was one of the last true talents left on the ‘neighbor. Guys like Russell or Malmberg don’t fall off the talk-host tree. The industry has been squeezed, but it’s amazing how little foresight and negotiating abilities the management appeared to have.

  2. Submitted by M L on 04/23/2010 - 08:28 pm.

    Good for Russell. He’s leaving a severely sinking ship. As far as WCCO, just another reason to listen to someone else. If they haven’t hit rock bottomo yet, they’re certainly close.

    I think the only thing I’ll tune in to listen to will be the noon hour news, any Wild game, or any Gophers football/hockey/basketball broadcast (although I hate the fact that Dave Lee’s still the play-by-play guy for football).

  3. Submitted by Tim McNeill on 04/23/2010 - 09:40 pm.

    WCCO radio really did not use Tim Russel in a way that made any sense. I bet Russel, after being cast aside once and now taking a good buy-out offer will have the last laugh at ‘CCO’s exspense. Plus, he gets out of a staion that is in a free-fall in this market. And, that comes down to how CBS and the New York bean counters who have taken this above average radio station and destroy it’s significance in this market. I now see why CBS brought Nick (the hack) into the management position. Sad to see such a power house of a radio station become nothing more than a radio station with no relavance. Rest in peace!! Me, it’s off to NPR. I bet Mike Lynch is gone next. He is the last Meterologist left after the station many years ago cut all their staff Meterologists. And, ‘CCO wonders why they have even lost that audience. Dunder heads!!

  4. Submitted by Hannah on 04/26/2010 - 11:42 am.

    WCCO Radio keeps its old folks — both listeners and on-air people? Sid Hartman, Charlie Boone, Denny Long, Sue Zellickson.

  5. Submitted by Kristy Grieger on 04/27/2010 - 10:57 am.

    Well said all of you, except WCCO could get rid of the Gophers all-together. Get the Twins back, however.

    I think CBS is in the position of creating an ESPN kind of network–a few local things here & there but mostly some inane, unintelligent garbage that is national, like the overnight stuff. (KMOX in St Louis had a talk-show on from Pittsburgh or PHillie when I checked the other day.)

    But seeing WCCO dismatled like pulling legs off of a daddy-long-leg spider makes me horrifically sad heartbroken and Let down. I’m gonna try not to frequent any of their sponsors, and encourage others to do so.

    They are getting rid of the very essense of what made WCCO the Good Neighbor–Live and Local. I feel like a neighborhood where the local dogs crap on my yard.

    However, if you dismantle the station, not even Ms Paulson or Mr Anselmo will have jobs…I guess that’s fitting. Dead air doesn’t cost anything, so I guess they’ve bowed to the CBS gods and have no expenses thusly not being in the red–except from embarassment.

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