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Feder (Again) Takes On TribCo, WGN Radio

By Staff in Arts & Entertainment on Jun 15, 2010 8:40PM

2010_03_10_WGN.jpg The lamenting over the thousand-cuts-death of the Tribune Company coming from Vocalo's Robert Feder has been so continuous that it's almost become more static than noise (we still love ya, Robert!), but today's post about alleged shuffling at WGN Radio did what we thought couldn't be done - it surprised us, in ways both good and bad. For the past few weeks, the handwringing about the demolition of WGN's daytime lineup to bring in right-wing rabblerousers like Mike McConnell and Bill Cunningham has been non-stop. It seemed that the message from management to longtime hosts Steve Cochran and John Williams was clear - be ready to have your lockers cleared out at any time, gents.

Feder's post today turns all that on its ear, though, with the news that Cunningham was simply playing one of the oldest games in the book: using the rumor mill to benefit his side of the contract negotiations. The end result is that he's staying at his post at Cincinnati's WLW.

Despite Cunningham turning his back on the Chicago radio scene, Feder further reports that he's taping television pilots in town at the WGN studios and is apparently ready to take television to new lows. Or, rather, lows not seen since Jerry Springer's "Tales of the Midget Klan" heyday. Consider this:

Witnesses described the tapings as a fiasco, with Tribune Co. CEO Randy Michaels personally urging Cunningham to abuse and berate his unwitting guests. One segment featured the humiliation of a grossly overweight woman who was forced to get on all fours and eat like a dog. Another featured parents of child beauty pageant contestants who found themselves blind-sided when they were suddenly attacked by Cunningham.

Given the grudge that exists between Feder and Michaels, we're taking the report with a small grain of salt. That said, while trash TV certainly had its moment in the sun over the last couple decades, and certainly Michaels made his name with shock content, the idea that it might be making a comeback is just plain sad.