Where's Chris Medlock?

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I hadn't planned to post again today, but I've received several e-mails from people who tuned into the Chris Medlock show on 1170 KFAQ this afternoon and were surprised to hear the Laura Ingraham show two hours early instead of Chris.

Chris was laid off this morning. The new schedule has Laura Ingraham from 2 to 5, an hour-long call-in show from 5 to 6, hosted by Elvis Polo, followed by Mark Levin from 6 to 8.

Although I'm told that Chris's ratings have been good -- the best for his timeslot since Tony Snow was on mid-afternoons several years ago -- parent company Journal Communications is suffering. In June 2007, the stock neared $14 a share; it was at $5 as recently as last September; yesterday it closed at 39 cents. (It ticked up today, back to 50 cents.) According to the transcript of the company's 2008 4Q earnings teleconference, Journal had a net loss of $223 million for that period. Journal Communications' flagship is the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel newspaper:

At the daily newspaper, total revenue of $50 million was down almost 13%. The major revenue category of advertising was down 18.6%, while circulation revenue was essentially flat and our other revenue category was up nearly 12%.

Other revenue includes using the presses in off-hours to do commercial printing. Read the report for specifics.

I'm not in a position to criticize the move as a business decision, but I'm disappointed to lose a knowledgeable voice on local issues from the airwaves, and I'm disappointed with the way the layoff was handled. If it were my station, I'd have given Chris a chance to say "so long for now" to his listeners.

I would not have tossed his webpage, his blog, and his podcasts straight down the "memory hole" -- deleted from the website without any acknowledgment of what had happened. (I wasn't surprised, however, because that was done when Michael DelGiorno left in 2007 and again when Gwen Freeman left in 2008.) Something I appreciate about the the Urban Tulsa Weekly, Tulsa World, and some of the TV stations is that they see their archives as more than just ephemera; it's a part of the contemporaneous record of Tulsa's history, so they don't purge articles by former staffers. Chris's commentary and that of the newsmakers who spoke on his show ought to be a part of that record as well. (Ditto for KFAQ's other hosts, both past and present.)

I wish Chris all the best and hope that he'll continue to be a part of Tulsa's civic dialogue. I hope, too, that KFAQ continues to engage local issues in some form, but it will be harder to do without Chris Medlock's contributions.

MORE: Steven Roemerman is not happy with the cancellation of Chris's show or with the way it was handled, and he wrote KFAQ management to complain. He received a response from Brian Gann, Operations Manager for Journal's Tulsa stations, which read in part:

The economy has forced many businesses to make choices. With our move at KFAQ, we've had to make a difficult choice to stop working with someone we really care about by canceling the Chris Medlock Show. It was not an easy decision. We do hope to be able to call on Chris' expertise in the future.

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26 Comments

I was also very disappointed at this move. Medlock had the best local show since DelGiorno, perhaps even better that DelGiorno's.

Some advance warning would have been nice. I was wondering if maybe he'd offended to many deep-pocketed Tulsa big-wigs.

Perhaps this would open the door for Chris to run for mayor?! One can hope...

Bob said:

KFAQ's sudden action is really shabby. When Michael DelGiorno departed, he had a formal "Good-bye" show that was a first class send-off.

I as well will miss Chris' views on local, state and national politics, events, and trends.

If the Bank of Kaiser Soros now suddenly starts advertising on KFAQ, should we suspect a Quid-Pro-Quo??

Show them the head of Chris Medlock, and they'll show KFAQ some advertising dollars??

Audi?

Latin for: To Listen.............

Todd said:

I am upset at KFAQ for nuking him without letting him say goodbye. I never thought I was going to get over MDG departure and then I start to love Chris' show as much if not more!

I still like PC's show as well but I think Chris should have had a chance to say goodbye. And I looked forward to his show everyday. It's one less thing to listen to KFAQ for now. And having Chris and PC show cooperating with each other led to some of the best AM radio I ever heard.

Sidney said:

I will miss him too. I agree Journal Broadcasting should have given him a chance to say goodbye, at least in his blog and they should archive his shows. Do you know if he'll begin reposting on MedBlog (his old blog)?

WHAT THE HECK?!!! I'll criticize KFAQ's business decision... I'll criticize it by not listening to their 1170 any more. 740 KRMG here I come.

Todd said:

Hey Steve, I feel your pain. Trust me. I loved the Medlock show and Laura doesn't do much for me but maybe KFAQ was in a hard spot.

KFAQ will regain respect in my eyes if they send out a news letter or archive his shows.

I wonder if Elvis would burn me a copy of the show intro?

Ben in Tulsa said:

Chris Medlock was laid off! Why didn't the radio station instead lay off Pat Cambell, the plain-wrap bloviator from out of town?

I fear that KFAQ has caved in to the moneyed interests of downtown Tulsa.

Who will speak for us now? What reprisals can we take? We can at least vote against Mayor Kathy Taylor and Councilman Eric Gomez when they run for reelection.

Also, we can listen to radio station KRM-Who when they put on Rush Limbaugh.

So long to inside views and discussions of local matters.

Todd said:

The person I talked to at the station said it was a rough decision for them and that they cared about the Medlock show.

While I believe the response to be sincere, I still feel like something else was going on with them not letting Chris do a farewell show, maybe KFAQ was embarrassed?

I hope that's all it was and that the Mighty Q hasn't given into the moneyed interests of downtown Tulsa!

Nicholas Krise said:

I’m not trying to sound condescending in this post – but I have to admit I’m surprised at the ignorance of the radio business on these comments.

The radio business is one of the most cut-throat, and cruel businesses to be in – that’s why the people that are successful in it ARE successful. They have thick skins, and the guts to take it.

As a listener, I don’t like it better than anyone else here has posted. But as someone who has some familiarity with the radio business – it’s not a shock.

Shocking to be are the putzs like Opie and Anthony who pay someone to have sex in New York’s St. Patrick’s cathedral and get a slap on the wrist, a week off – and they're back on the air. No harm no foul.

I’ll have to admit, I’m a bit bummed for Chris, but I’m not worried about him. He has the talent and backbone for this sort of shenanigans. He’ll land on his feet well.

And as for KFAQ – you’ve just proven that you are not one scintilla better – if not worse - than the rest of the radio industry. Should you fail and go under – good riddance to you and those that made the decision to axe Chris Medlock. You’ll have received what you sowed.

Todd said:

I for one understand that the radio business is cutthroat, what makes me suspicious is to view the heat that MDG was under and KFAQ let him have a farewell show.

Gwen just walked off from what I know and was never heard from again (until Nashville).

Chris being 'suddenly' canceled is partly surprising because a couple of weeks ago he was airing a retraction about an e-mail he had received from someone who he presumed to be with the Tulsa World.

And then all of a sudden, he's gone?

That's the suspicion and I have had many friends in the radio biz to know how it operates.

Les Stockton Author Profile Page said:

I'm sorry to see Chris gone and gone without any fanfaire. I will say that it was good to have someone with his background, that understood city and county inner workings, as well as the rules for how tax dollars must be spent. A lot of times, opinions are expressed on these issues, without having a full knowledge of how it has to work by law. Chris' knowledge helped with that.
He will be missed.

Dennis said:

"KFAQ is Tulsa's Fox News Station that Stands Up For What's Right!"

Do they really? What's right, was to let Chris say goodbye to his loyal listners.

What's right is to keep his information on their website so people can find out why he is no longer on the air.

What's Right is to have some type of story on their website explaining what happened to Chris so one doesn't have to search the internet (thank God for those who did run a story on Chris's behalf like Batesline)wanting to know what happened to him.

It seems to me the KFAQ motto applys only to who are outside the Journal Communications Group and that they are above doing what right. I say we call Pats Show and when we get our turn to speak we say reinstate Chris Medlock. Journal may get the message when every call into their station on air and off says " GIVE US CHRIS BACK" Then and only then may they "Stand Up For What's Right"


Penny said:

Chris will be missed. He had really grown into a great talk show personality. It was fun to watch him develop. He is certainly much more informed on what's going on around town than anyone else at KFAQ seem to be. Even though I'm sure it was a tough decision, I think we're all suspicious that some of the powers that be in Tulsa wanted Chris removed. We must remember, this is still their town and we all just live here!

I'm sure he'll come out of this okay, but it's going to make afternoons a lot more mundane. Mike maybe you can encourage him to get his blog back up and going?

Take care,
Penny

Unbelievable. And yet, not so much.

There goes Tulsa's only conservative public voice. The old money and the midtowners are now in control of what we hear.

KFAQ has now become like MSNBC. They'll get rid of whoever they don't like and just switch to something different in the blink of an eye.

The strongest reason I listened to KFAQ was because of the Chris Medlock Show. Now, Glenn Beck is the only reason for me to tune into the station. Otherwise, the RHINO Republican 740 station is now my new home. It has Limbaugh, Hannity, Savage, and Boortz.

As for Pat Cambell, he is just a talking head. He always seems to be condescending toward Tulsa conservatives.

Bad decision, KFAQ. You think Laura Ingram will do better than Medlock? Something tells me that KFAQ has been pressured into this move. Or maybe bribed.

-L.H.
www.hirschfiles.blogspot.com

Pamela Author Profile Page said:

WOW I am stunned at this. I had a relative in town for the weekend. This is the first I heard about this one. The only reason I listened during the week was for the local stuff. That is pretty much gone with Chris' removal from the line-up.

No radio listening for me right now except for maybe the old time radio on Sunday nights.

At least they could have given him a goodbye program.

RexP said:

I hope Chris will continue to blog and podcast on his own. I valued his wealth of knowledge.

Jennifer said:

Guess it is time to buy the radio attachment for my ipod because I cannot stand Laura Ingraham. So inadvertantly, KFAQ has lost a listener. From 2-4 was the only time I could listen to the radio because I am in the car.
Isn't that defeating the purpose? If he had the ratings and bringing in advertisers, why switch him to someone whose voice is like nails on a chalkboard? Surely, he did better than Laura in local ratings.

sjt said:

kfaq made a terrible mistake.

the only thing they had going for them was chris medlock.

it also looks like because he took up for what is right in tulsa, they caved into the powers to be. there is no one in tulsa like chris medlock.
his background, his experience.
did he want to stay in radio? i don't know.

he swayed the river tax vote, he found a lot of problems that was not handled until he got involved. he helped get randi miller defeated.
he helped who owns tulsa and other groups.

the way his termination was handled was not correct and no one should be done that way.
i hope he gets a lot of money. we do not treat people that way in oklahoma. he should have been kept over others. i am going to hold some people accountable when i vote.

i am not listening to kfaq anymore. i listened every day mon-fri for years.

shawn fifield said:

well, i guess that i will be changing to KRMG. i will listen to glen beck, but otherwise, nothing else will keep me on KFAQ.

i was so mad when i tuned in and hear laura ingraham with her fingernails on a chalkboard voice and called KFAQ as quick as i could but nobody was home.

luckily i could find out what happened here, because while KFAQ is "standing up for what is right" they seem to be hiding under their desks. the last thing this action would be is "right".

i almost switched after bill o left but chris made me feel comfortable. now we get gibson, ingraham, and levin. well, i am gone, rush and sean here i come.

i hope chris does well and knows he will be missed.

Tommy Brownell said:

To the person above the commented about the ignorance here about how the radio business works: That may BE how it works, cut throat and all...but I am sure capable of also deciding I am done with KFAQ, just like that.

I'll probably still catch Glenn Beck some mornings. Otherwise? I'm good. Incredibly disappointing, and thank God for Batesline, or I would never have known what happened to Medlock.

Michael said:

I liked the Medlock show. Maybe he can hook up with Batesline and have a podcast page. Wouldn't be the same as taking callers, though. Maybe people could post questions for him, and he could pick some of the questions and work them into his podcast, similar to what the producers of Lost do on their podcast (yes, I'm a fan of Lost).

Christie Edgar said:

I left on vacation on March 13th and returned to KFAQ this afternoon today only to find out the appalling news that "Still Here" Medlock is in fact no longer here. Co-inki-dink that we will be in a heated Gubernatorial election soon? Co-inki-dink that we will be in a Mayoral race (oh how I pray that there is a race)? A Co-inki-dink that our new president and cabinet have not been reserved at voicing their disdain for NPR radio?
I tolerated PC in morning because I knew I could still get some valuable information by Beck and Medlock later. So press release to Brian Gann and company, "Due to the recent down turn in quality programming a KFAQ, I will be re-setting my auto program set by removing 1170". I guess I can donate my desk radio to someone who DOESN'T care. Don't worry Glenn...I will become "An Insider" and be Beck educated via streamline.
Sorry Elvis, but sometimes we loose friends due to the company we keep.

Mark Savage said:

Terrible move by management. Chris' show was original, informative, and entertaining. He was developing into a real radio talent. Too bad for the station and Tulsa.

Heather said:

I think this was a really terrible move on there part. His show was the only one that I listen to on the radio.

Jeff Carpenter said:

They fired the wrong guy for whatever reason.

Today (Memorial Day) at approx. 5 pm I watched Mayor Taylor's jet streak low across the western approach to T Town. Back from home and ready to go to work tomorrow I guess. Maybe Medlock will get involved in the next election. I hope so.

Valag said:

I realize I'm way late with this comment but I want to voice my opinion none-the-less. Chris was the best thing to happen to KFAQ in a very long time. I was a daily listener, and regular caller. I always looked forward to hearing his show. It was the highlight of my radio listening day. KFAQ's treatment of Chris is deplorable and I'm quite sure their ratings have suffered for it. Also disappointing to me is the fact that they filled his time slot with Laura Ingraham of all people. My apologies to those of you who like her, but I find her to be highly annoying. Since this has happened, I've found myself listening to the competing station most of the time. Not so much out of protest but because their format is now more appealing to me.

I guess the plus side of all of the is the fact that Chris is a shoe in for our next mayor.

Go Chris!

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on March 13, 2009 5:35 PM.

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