Q100 management took Bert Show co-host Jeff Dauler off its Web site last week and not surprisingly, took him off the air today.
His contract expired December 31, 2009. Clearly, he did not sign a contract since last Wednesday, when Q100 excised him off the Q100 Web site, something he did not see coming. But he remains in negotiations for a new contract. He told me last week that the talks have been going on since July. Obviously, things did not go smoothly. His agent B.B. Abbott said last week even if he is off the air, this does not mean talks are over.
Management often tells shows to ignore personnel matters on air. But you have to give Q100 credit: Bert talked about it today at 7:20 a.m. He said Jeff’s deadline is Friday. If Cumulus (Q100’s owner) and Jeff do not come to an agreement by then, he won’t be back on the Bert Show, Bert said.
Bert said he wants Jeff back but he does not make the final decision. “I don’t sign his paycheck,” Bert said. He was involved in the talks the past six to eight weeks, trying to be the ambassador between the parties, he said. It was an “emotional roller coaster,” he noted. “I went above and beyond to make sure Jeff is part of the show. Jeff and his agent has had tough times with Cumulus… I have done everything I can.” But he now dubs it a “stalemate.”
UPDATE: Last week, I got a firm “no comment” from Q100 operations manager Rob Roberts about the negotiations. But Roberts’ boss John Dickey, who oversees programming for Cumulus Broadcasting as a whole, sent a listener a note this morning:
I am working hard to keep Jeff. What you read in the AJC is not true. Should come as no surprise that the newspaper had it wrong. That’s why their readership has fallen so dramatically. Keep listening. Thanks.
Dickey, in an email at 1 p.m. today, declined to comment about the negotiations beyond this statement: “It would be logical to think that jeff was facing a cut but that is not the issue.” He doesn’t deny a pay cut is in the offing but also doesn’t say what the actual issue is if it’s not just about the cash.
Jenn Hobby and Melissa Carter on air also said they want him back and are having a hard time believing that Dauler might be gone for good. “I need someone to fuss at,” Carter said.
“He might have felt it was a disrespectful offer,” Bert said, in response to a caller saying it was Jeff’s decision to move on. “Change could be a good thing,” the caller said. “Jeff chose not to take what was offered.”
Bert said, “this show is better with Jeff than without Jeff… this show is based on balance. When one person is out, something is missing.” He has not considered a replacement until Jeff’s deal is truly dead.
“I dont think it’s going to be a big loss,” said another listener, who said the others should take pay cuts to help Jeff out. Bert said that was offered.
“Personal shots at Jeff today are unfair,” Carter said, since Jeff isn’t around to defend himself.
Dauler confirmed on his Web site today that negotiations are on going. He listed 10 items of concern to fans. Here are three:
3. This is still a ‘pending negotiation.’ I have not left The Bert Show and Q100. Sometimes these things get … um … challenging. Remember when you were a kid and you wanted to do something and your parents said ‘no’ and you got mad at them so you ran away but only to behind your garage and you thought like 6 days had passed so you went home but it was only 45 minutes and your Mom still loved you? This process is nothing like that. This process is nothing like anything I’ve ever experienced, which is why I had to insert a totally pointless analogy.
7. I will have answers this week. I promise. If no answers, then I promise to promise you answers the following week.
8. What have I been doing? De-cluttering the house. Trying to think of resolutions that I won’t break till March. Searching
CumulusJobs.comMonster.com. Hanging with friends and spending time alone. Not drinking as much as I would have thought I would have been.
From what I hear, Dauler doesn’t make anywhere near what Bert Weiss makes but has done just fine, taking home well into the six figures in annual salary and benefits.
Unfortunately, these are challenging economic times. Revenues are down despite the fact the Bert Show is a top performer in the ratings, behind only Frank & Wanda at V-103 among 18 to 34 year olds and a top 4 performer among 25 to 54 year olds. Q100 certainly offered Jeff a pay cut, possibly a sizable one. He is unwilling to take it. Thus, they are now stuck.
Questions: at whatever pay Q100 is offering him, could he do any better elsewhere in this environment? Does he have any possible job offers elsewhere? Could anyone afford him at whatever price he’s asking? Is he worth it? He has built brand equity in this market after eight-plus years. He gets endorsements through Q100. He gets free advertising for his Flying Biscuit franchise. His wife Jessica gets to do her “Jessica Shops” segments and promote her Web site. Without knowing the dollar figures involved, it’s hard to say who’s being fair and who’s not. But ultimately, it’s the Bert Show, not the Jeff Dauler Show.
Can the Bert Show survive without Jeff? It’s similar as saying, is “Idol” okay without Paula Abdul?