(Toledo, OH) Bob Frantz believes he has unfinished business left in Toledo.
The former WSPD-1370 morning host and Toledo Free Press columnist, who recently accepted a position as the mid-morning (9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.) host at WTAM-1100 in Cleveland, wants to say goodbye to the friends he has made in Toledo during the past few years.
“I was disappointed that I didn't get the opportunity to say goodbye to my listeners,” he said. “I really believed that Toledo was a place I never wanted to leave.”
Frantz said he is not sure why WSPD would not let him have a “goodbye” segment before leaving Toledo.
“They certainly have done it in the past. Denny Schaffer got the opportunity, although he had been around a lot longer than me,” he said. “Station management might have feared that the listener dissatisfaction would have resulted in people calling in and ripping the station and the company. I had a lot of friends, though, that I would have wanted to spend some time with on my last day.”
Frantz was reluctant to discuss many details of the events that surrounded his departure from WSPD.
“I really don't want to get in a flame war over this,” he said. “For one thing, I am still working for the same parent company [Clear Channel] that owns both stations, and I also feel like it's time to move forward.”
Frantz did say the departure of former WSPD program director Al Brady Law was a turning point in his career.
“Al got a great job offer in St. Louis, and the station management immediately offered the afternoon slot and program director position to Brian Wilson,” he said. “Their attitude seemed to be that they would kill two birds with one stone, replacing Denny and Al with one guy.”
Frantz declined to discuss the specifics of station moves that sent him from a highly rated morning show to doing sporadic one-hour “Eye on Toledo” segments in the evening.
“I will say this — if Al was still the program director, I would still be in Toledo,” he said. “I would have been a 20-year host. I had everything going for me, since I was a sort of three-tool media figure, doing radio, print and television. I also had been building a nice following as a speaker on the regional lecture circuit.”
WSPD program director and afternoon host Brian Wilson said he believed Frantz had greater potential in the new program than as morning host.
“In the fine-tuning of the station, a new program director is going to look at the strengths and weaknesses,” he said. “In assessing the talent, I looked at Bob and saw that he has an ability to focus on specific subjects with great knowledge, what I call a ‘laser beam' versus a ‘shotgun' approach.”
Wilson said the move coincided with a desire to improve overall ratings for the station.
“Bob's numbers were very good in narrow demographics, but we wanted to appeal to a broader range of listeners,” he said. “Fred LeFebvre has a long history of success in morning radio here in Toledo, and I believe that we made the right move in the long term.”
Frantz has maintained a philosophical attitude toward the changes.
“When all of this started happening, I wrote on my blog that everything happens for a reason,” he said. “I still believe that to be true; if Al stayed in Toledo, I would have never taken the Cleveland opportunity. I wound up in a much bigger market, and went from a 5,000-watt station to a 50,000-watt station.”
The move to WTAM has had benefits for Frantz, who took over the WSPD morning slot in 2003.
“There's a comfort level that can only come from going home again, working with the bosses that first hired me, and the bosses who never wanted me to leave,” he said, adding he needed to be in close proximity to his elderly mother. “The people at WTAM know how to do news like no one else in the state, and the level of support I get there is remarkable.”
Still, Toledo will always hold special memories for Frantz.
“I miss the small town feel of Toledo; it's a cliché, but it's true,” he said. “In spite of that it's a good-size city with a lot of influence. You only have to look at the 2004 election to see how important Toledo is to the national scene. Plus, I loved going to a place like the grocery store and have people recognizing my voice.”
Frantz said, despite moving, he would like to keep in touch with his regular Toledo listeners.
“Nothing makes my day more than when I look on the WTAM call screen and see ‘Toledo' after the caller's name,” he said. “With the power of WTAM, people can still pick me up in Toledo, and the station has streaming Internet audio for people with high-speed Internet access.”
This article is also available on the Toledo Free Press website.