Has WCRN dropped Money Matters?

Dan Strassberg dan.strassberg@att.net
Fri Dec 12 11:34:31 EST 2003

Since before it flipped to a largely adult standards format, WCRN (830
Worcester) has carried Barry Armstrong's (now nationally syndicated via
TalkAmerica) Money Matters call-in show (M-F 9:00-11:00 Eastern).
Armstrong's show originates in the Newton studios of WBNW (1120 Concord),
which Armstrong (or technically, his wife, Susan) owns. This morning around
9:30, I noticed that WCRN was carrying Christmas music, which it has been
doing since Thanksgiving, except duing Money Matters and during infomercials
(which WCRN carries on weekend mornings and M-F during the hour after Money
Matters). I tuned to WBNW and found that the show was on--albeit, not with
Armstrong, but with host Dave Cohen, who regularly hosts WBNW's weekday
Power Lunch program at noon. Cohen was taking calls from around the country,
so Money Matters is still in syndication. Cohen was apparently just filling
in for Armstrong, because at 11:00 Cohen signed off with "I'll see you
sometime." At 10:45, WCRN was airing an informercial. After the 11:00 AP
Network news, WCRN resumed the Christmas music. I would think that if
technical difficulties prevented Money Matters from airing on WCRN, the
station would have run an announcement and wouldn't have moved the
informercial into the earlier time slot. So I wonder whether WCRN has
dropped Money Matters or has at least dropped it when Armstrong doesn't
appear or has dropped it in the pre-Christmas period. Perhaps Armstrong and
WCRN or TalkAmerica failed to agree on what WCRN would pay to carry the
show. WCRN, which runs 50 kW D and holds a recently granted CP for 50 kW-U,
is the most powerful station that has been carrying Armstrong's show. Until
TalkAmerica became the syndicator, the show was brokered, which means that
Armstrong paid WCRN to carry it--and most likely paid quite a few of his
other affiliates. My understanding is that TalkAmerica, which used to
syndicate all of its shows in trade for affiliates' spot inventory, has
gradually transitioned to a more conventional business model. Therefore,
instead of paying stations to carry Money Matters, the network may expect to
receive payment from the stations. Although Armstrong's program is pretty
good, Armstrong isn't exactly Rush Limbaugh, Howard Stern, or Don Imus. It
wouldn't seem that many stations would be willing or able to pay for any but
the few top names in nationally syndicated talk. So if a program producer
signs with TalkAmerica, is he shooting himself (or at least his program) in
the foot? Can somebody explain?

Dan Strassberg, dan.strassberg@att.net
eFax 707-215-6367

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