Well, it figures — just as I hit “send” on my post criticizing WCCO Radio’s bid for Gov. Mark Dayton’s radio show, station executives call me back. I didn’t give them much of a window, so here’s their version at length.
I wrote that 7 a.m. Saturday — instead of 9 a.m. Friday during the Pawlenty era — represents “garbage time.” CBS vice-president Steve Moore says that’s factually untrue: the radio listening audience is roughly the same at both times (between 40,000 and 55,000 listeners 12-plus).
Even though I’m still comatose at that hour, the 7 a.m. Saturday spot made sense to Moore and Twin Cities market manager Mick Anselmo because WCCO legend Charlie Boone had just vacated it. Moore notes that President Obama’s weekly addresses are on Saturdays, and the Sunday D.C. interview programs are also on the weekend.
I noted those broadcasts are on later in the day, and the Friday slot allowed political reporters to get news out on a weekday. Moore countered that a Saturday show was set up nicely for the high-readership Sunday papers. (Radio and TV might not be so mollified.)
The duo insists requesting Ted Mondale as a co-host was not an insult — “he’s a Mondale!” exclaims Anselmo, whose station employed Ted’s sister Eleanor. “He’s involved with the biggest thing in the state! [As head of the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission, Ted Mondale is a key player in the Vikings stadium debate.] We were just making a recommendation!”
In fact, Anselmo and Moore insist, everything was up for discussion. They say they were surprised the governor’s office rejected the bids without so much as a callback. “I’ve already sent a response to the governor saying we’d welcome him here — this is the ideal place to continue,” Anselmo says. “I’ve asked for a meeting to discuss things. Everything’s up for discussion.”
WCCO poured cold water on remote broadcasts — something they tempted TPaw with — because Moore felt the show was better in-studio. (Neither he nor Anselmo was with the station during the last round of bidding in 2006.) Still, the language — “will not provide equipment, broadcast lines or personnel for broadcasts in remote locations” — isn’t exactly pillow talk to woo a leader whose obligations take him away from the Buick Studios.
Anselmo says the provision allows the program director to pre-empt the show at will is simply common-sense if there is breaking news. The refusal to partner again with statewide syndicator Minnesota News Network is a function of technology; downloads for any interested station do the trick these days, he says.
Dayton’s troops have not come out and said they’re furious with the Good Neighbor, but they did issue a terse public statement without reaching out to the station. Says Anselmo, “We want something that works for WCCO, works for the governor’s office, and works for the people of the state.”