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WSB picks up Rush Limbaugh, moves Clark Howard to 8 p.m.

Rush Limbaugh jumps to 95.5FM and AM 750 News/Talk WSB starting at noon, October 1, 2012. CREDIT: AP

Rush Limbaugh jumps to 95.5FM and AM 750 News/Talk WSB starting at noon, October 1, 2012. CREDIT: AP

Rush Limbaugh, the most popular radio talk show host in America for more than two decades, is moving to AM 750 and 95.5FM News/Talk WSB.

Limbaugh will take WSB’s noon-to-3 p.m. weekday time slot starting Monday. Oct. 1.

“When you have the biggest talk personality on the biggest news/talk station in Atlanta, I expect the chemical reaction will be positive,” said Ben Reed, Atlanta market manager for Cox Media Group, which includes The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Our listeners will benefit from it.”

Limbaugh has been on news-talk 640/WGST-AM since the late 1980s and consistently has been the station’s biggest draw.

For WSB, Limbaugh’s arrival means several changes to its weekday lineup:

- Syndicated talk show host Neal Boortz, now based primarily out of Naples, Fla., will see his daily stint cut back an hour. He will be on the air from 8:30 a.m. to noon. Boortz is retiring in January and will be replaced by businessman and former presidential candidate Herman Cain, who had already planned to do three hours a day.

- Consumer advocate Clark Howard, who has been with WSB radio since 1991 and is now heard on more than 220 stations nationwide, is moving to the 8-10 p.m. slot from his current 1-3 p.m. time period. Howard — who recently began co-hosting an HLN TV news program from 5-7 p.m. weekdays called “Evening Express” — will still tape his Atlanta-based radio show from 1-3 p.m. because other markets will continue to run it live. He explains the changes on his popular website www.clarkhoward.com.

- Syndicated radio and Fox News host Sean Hannity’s program will air live from 3-5 p.m., but WSB will be adding a news program from 5-7 p.m. Erick Erickson, who runs the website RedState.com will be the show’s host/commentator. Hannity’s third hour, from 7-8 p.m., will be tape-delayed (Erickson has been hosting a talk show from 6-8 p.m.).

- Local talk show host Adam Goldfein gets pushed two hours later to 10 p.m. to midnight.

- Syndicated financial expert Dave Ramsey also gets moved two hours later and will start at midnight instead of 10 p.m.

WSB, which ranked ninth in Atlanta Arbitron ratings in August, has lost some steam since All News 106.7 (WYAY-FM) hit the airwaves in May.

“Summer is usually very tough for news talk stations,” Reed said, “so I don’t panic when I have a month that dips in the summer.”

WSB’s new 5-7 p.m. news program will try to counter that.

“Atlanta depends on WSB for news, weather and traffic information, and now WSB will provide even more,” Reed said.

Limbaugh has remained a durable powerhouse in radio despite controversies he has faced over the years. He is heard on more than 600 stations nationwide and draws more than 14.75 million listeners each week, according to Talkers magazine. Hannity is the nation’s second most popular radio host, with at least 14 million listeners a week.

WGST, which was a soft rock station in the early 1970s, went all news in 1977 and morphed into news/talk in the 1980s.

Howard, Boortz, Hannity and Ramsey were all personalities previously on WGST, which was competitive with WSB in ratings in the 1990s but now lags far behind. WGST ranked 21st in the August ratings.

Word is that WGST has laid off several people today in preparation for a likely format change. Right now, while Rusty Humphries is normally airing, WGST is running a Glenn Beck repeat. (He normally airs from 9 a.m. to noon.)

“I think I speak for a lot of people who used to work at GST to say that this is a very very sad day to see this happen,” said Mike Rose, who worked at the station from 1985 to 1998 in roles including producer and program director. “It was a great operation, a family-like atmosphere. It cultivated a lot of the great performers on radio today.”

The two likely formats available are syndicated comedy or Spanish sports talk, said Eric Seidel, who was station manager from GST from 1986 to 1997 and developed Howard and Hannity. “Hannity was a diamond in the rough when we found him and he got his radio legs with us,” Seidel said. And Howard was an accidental talk show host who started covering travel as a travel agent and adjusted into talk show work with Seidel’s help.

The station was ahead of its time when it was simulcast on FM from 1993 to 200 at 105.7 and its ratings were competitive with WSB for a time.  Losing that simulcast hurt the station’s power, which slipped steadily throughout the 2000s as its core listeners moved further outside its AM grasp and outside the Perimeter.

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By Rodney Ho, Radio & TV Talk

305 comments Add your comment

George

September 26th, 2012
3:05 pm

Will the last person out the door at WGST please turn out the lights??

Tom

September 26th, 2012
3:07 pm

Interesting.

NetRadioJock

September 26th, 2012
3:09 pm

That is crazy how they are doing Hannity’s and Erickson’s show. That is not good programming.

David

September 26th, 2012
3:11 pm

Barf. Adam Goldfein is my current favorite on WSB and I’ll never get to hear his show anymore (have to hit the hay earlier than 10pm). Guess I’ll be heading to another station during noon-3pm. Rush is so stale.

ByteMe

September 26th, 2012
3:13 pm

9 straight hours of crazy. That’s gonna leave a mark on their audience’s brain.

DW

September 26th, 2012
3:15 pm

Such a sad demise to WGST…

Rod

September 26th, 2012
3:17 pm

what a waste of good radio time. Time to reset my radio channel selection.

RTA

September 26th, 2012
3:19 pm

Good idea reporting the news from 5-7 during rush hour. But that’s just my opinion. You have to compete with the new stations. Good call on that one at least.

Gary

September 26th, 2012
3:20 pm

Lets all quit listening to the spin machine ….I have done this a long time ….WSB is only good for weather traffic breaking news.. the talk shows are a sheer waste of time..

skeeter

September 26th, 2012
3:22 pm

After 8:30am, I just do as Boortz say, CLICK!!!

Old timer

September 26th, 2012
3:23 pm

Don’t like Limbaugh….I am sure they could find someone better.

KD

September 26th, 2012
3:25 pm

So where’s Rusty Humphries? WGST is playing Glenn Beck right now. When I heard Glenn Beck instead of Rusty Humphries I came here to see if any news had broken. Didn’t see this one coming!

Rodney Ho

September 26th, 2012
3:26 pm

@KD I have no idea where Rusty is! I heard they pretty much let most of the local folks go at GST earlier today so my guess is: format change. But to what?

Laura

September 26th, 2012
3:33 pm

After growing up with WSB (atlanta native) I will have to say good bye. I can’t stomach Rush. Too bad.
Ciao

innerjuju

September 26th, 2012
3:34 pm

And they say the press is controlled by the left. Hard to drown out the spin from these on the right….

Juan Carlos Diego Raul Sanchez

September 26th, 2012
3:35 pm

Man the Reg guys are slaying AM stations also…Paaatiiitong…Rusty is horrid – i saw on his web site he is on from 6-9…

lizbot

September 26th, 2012
3:38 pm

Ugh…I am really going to miss having a non-rant program during the day. I’ll get my Clark fix on TV. Buh-bye.

HRpufnstuf

September 26th, 2012
3:39 pm

Thanks for the warning, I avoid Limbaugh and Hannity at all costs. No wonder we have such stupid people in America regurgitating their hate-filled rants.

Big D

September 26th, 2012
3:41 pm

I’m glad to have an evening news show for my drive home. WGST in the last few years has lost the Braves, Ramsey, and now Rush. Stick a fork in them.

bob

September 26th, 2012
3:42 pm

bring back “the kimmer”!

pjcace

September 26th, 2012
3:44 pm

I thought cutting Clark back to 2 hours sucked. This is a whole new level. Guess 750 isn’t for me either. No thanks on Rush and Sean. Time to reassign my 750 and 95.5 presets to something else.

austinklee

September 26th, 2012
3:45 pm

I wonder if Art “Madman” Mehring will get picked up by WSB as well…or move to TV?

Percy Flage

September 26th, 2012
3:47 pm

Clark Howard, Dave Ramsey, Adam Goldfein – Useful radio, worth listening and learning

Limbaugh, Hannity, Boortz, Cain – steaming piles of waste

austinklee

September 26th, 2012
3:47 pm

@Rodney Friend of mine mentioned they are moving to all Spanish programming.

Patrick

September 26th, 2012
3:49 pm

WOW! I have been listening to 640 WGST for so long, but without Rush & Rusty, I will have no choice but to switch over to WSB (only for Rush). Guess I will have to turn back to sports talk during the other time slots. Rodney, you are the best, you always have the scoop and keep us informed on these issues.

Molly Moo

September 26th, 2012
3:51 pm

What will happen to Beck and Coast to Coast???

ATL RADIO INSIDER

September 26th, 2012
3:53 pm

bulldogbubba

September 26th, 2012
3:54 pm

I say too bad for us Clark Howard fans.He is the one person in all this that does not rant and rave through out his program.He at least gives information worth listening for.As someone already said Rush is stale. Goodbye WSB!!!!!!!!

skeeter

September 26th, 2012
3:57 pm

What’s this I hear about Belinda getting her own show?? I guess the late Royal Marshall was too middle of the road on his politics to last on a hate filled station. I think Mark Aryum(sp?) also falls into that “not hateful enough” category.

BlondAlto

September 26th, 2012
3:58 pm

Sad about GST…….Hope all of you who were laid off will find good jobs soon. Our family have been fans for awhile…..informative column. It’s so helpful to know the “skinny” on what’s going on with local radio!

MaggyLeCat

September 26th, 2012
4:00 pm

Time to renew my Sat radio subscription

Jeff W

September 26th, 2012
4:01 pm

I hope that is not the case but WGST management pulled the same thing a few years ago when they decided a change was needed. They may have screwed up with this act.

Atlantan

September 26th, 2012
4:02 pm

such a long was from Ludlow… Actually big fan so I’m looking forward to the change. Still like GST for Levin.

jacket backer

September 26th, 2012
4:03 pm

PTC DAWG

September 26th, 2012
4:07 pm

I always liked Boortz’s show when he was local.

National talking heads don’t interest me in the least. I guess they do well without me.

Doug C.

September 26th, 2012
4:08 pm

Congratulations WSB… A parade of clowns, is now yours.

Stuart

September 26th, 2012
4:08 pm

Too bad about WGST. I used to listen to it in the 90s when they were actually doing something. It just goes to show how incompetent the 8000 ton monster known as Clear Channel can get. I am aware of the changes in broadcasting but I wonder if these people actually have a clue. If you break it fix it.

Clarkfan

September 26th, 2012
4:10 pm

So if I understand it correctly, if I live elsewhere in the country I might get to listen to Clark Howard in the afternoon, but in Atlanta, where he got his start, I have to wait until 8 pm? Thank goodness for podcasts.

Jed

September 26th, 2012
4:11 pm

Clark Howard is the best thing going for WSB radio. It’s a shame he’s getting bumped to such a late time slot.

Kaley Fornia

September 26th, 2012
4:13 pm

I am so upset that Clark is going to be on at night!!!! I am removing WSB from my preset right now!! All News 106.7 is now the #1 preset! Boo on COX for doing that to Clark! And what a coincidence…just in time for the elections for Rush! Atlanta radio is going straight down the pitts!!! Thank GOD I have my Sirius XM radio!!!

bluebengal

September 26th, 2012
4:14 pm

the only time i listened was for clark, well adios.

Captain Midnight

September 26th, 2012
4:14 pm

Herman Cain won’t last a month. He’s ok for a fill in, but the Talkmaster he aint.

john

September 26th, 2012
4:15 pm

WGST 640 and 92.9 Dave FM it’s been nice to know you. Atlanta now has become the largest area of dead air in the country.

Oxwinkle

September 26th, 2012
4:18 pm

So, do Beck, Levin and C2C go to WGKA or does Cumulus start up a talk station on 97.9 or 100.5?

Tom

September 26th, 2012
4:19 pm

Great line up unless you are a Lib and can’t take the truth…

The Kimmer Peterson

September 26th, 2012
4:20 pm

Northern Neighbor

September 26th, 2012
4:31 pm

Am I the only one who misses Ludlow Porch? I could talk about home-grown tomato sandwiches all day long.

funseeker

September 26th, 2012
4:32 pm

I might start listening to music again on my car radio.

Winger

September 26th, 2012
4:33 pm

The libs “hate” it when the talk shows tell the truth. Bring it on.

rod

September 26th, 2012
4:34 pm

belinda better save her money with neil no longer helping her with her endorsements