Jun 1, 2006

Bob Frantz Says Goodbye to Toledo

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(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.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

WSPD now is the worst talk radio show on the planet. Bar none.

If there is a good thing out of all this, it is that Wilson has screwed that station up so badly that he will get yanked within 12 months.

liberal_dem said...

Good story, Mike, but not worth of the time you spent on it, sorry to say. Radio jocks come and go like athletes. His time to go was way overdue just like his ultra right-wing babble every morning. His pathetic and never-ending defense of Bush's War in Iraq made him out to be a fool.

He did, however feed that small knot of fellow right-wingers each day, but regular listeners grew tired of 'freedom fries' and 'anti-war traitors' that he spewed on a regular basis.

One needs only to see his written words to confirm his ultra conservative agenda: his blog.

His latest blog is about welfare mothers, WELFARE MOTHERS WARNED: NO MORE BABIES OR ELSE.

Below it is titled, THE TRUE MEXICAN AGENDA, which mimics those conservative Republican congressmen who wish to deport the 12 million illegals.

He has two race-related posts, THE COLOR OF DISHONESTY and THE BEAUTY OF GRAY, in which he uses color in his pejorative slant, in a tip of the hat to southern Republicans.

Next he bashes teachers with his post, THE FOURTH "R" that being reprogramming. He says, "That the far left movement in this country has decided to target America's youth should be a surprise to no one." Here he castigates teachers who dare question Bush's war policies. Again, a tip of the hat to Karl Rove who would have us believe that it is 'un-American' to do so.

It is clear to me that his right-wing political and social agenda did not resonate well here in Toledo. His small band of like-minded listeners failed to convince management that he should stay on.

So, in any business where the dollar is the bottom line, he was canned, like lots of American workers- workers who were doing an honest, hard day's work.

Welcome to the economic reality of the Bush Presidency, Mr. Frantz.

Mrs. Phoenix said...

Go with God, Bob. Peace out!

Timothy said...

well said, liberal_dem...

I don't listen to WSPD for the same reasons you listed in your litany there. I have better things to listen to than right-wing propaganda... like 91.7...

So much for news from WSPD.

historymike said...

Anonymous:

I am sure there are worse stations.

I think Kevin Milliken has been a good selection by Wilson to stave off the talent sloughing.

Radio is a funny business. If Wilson actually gets the numbers up, he will be here a long time.

The strategy - as I was told by Brian Wilson - is to appeal to a wider range of demographics.

Frantz ruled the 25-54 male segment in his daypart, and his show went from #8 to #3 overall in two years. However, he had some demographics in which he drew fewer listeners.

Wilson believes he can lose some 25-54 men while gaining more listeners overall.

And - don't forget - some of those Mitch & Marybeth listeners might be drifting right now with Mitch retiring.

historymike said...

I understand that Frantz was not loved by many people left of center, ld.

While I often disagreed with Bob, I did find him to be one of the best-prepped hosts I have listened to. He was an excellent debater, and did a lot of his own research.

He could be far-right on some issues, but he had centrist streaks as well.

I also respected how he reached out to the Muslim community with a live broadcast at the mosque in Perrysburg, which helped build some needed bridges in this town.

Would I sometimes yell at my radio? Sure, but I found Bob Frantz to be much less of a GOP talking points parrot than many right-wing hosts.

And I would love to have had taped him ripping the NSM's Bill White and Mark Martin when he conducted interviews with them before the October 15 rally/riot.

While these racist clowns were not exactly Rhodes scholars - and some might equate debating them something akin to shooting fish in a barrel - he absolutely destroyed them.

I've also said this before, but Frantz was one of the few people in town who correctly recognized the potential for violence on October 15.

I want to add one more thing: when I listened to Bob Frantz - even when he irritated me - I always knew something newsworthy would happen on his show.

I cannot say the same for Fred LeFebvre and Brian Wilson.

Anonymous said...

Right WIng? You may want to listen to WIlson, he is an avowed Libertarian. And Fred in the morning has had both Dems and Reps on the show and treated everyone fairly. The mornings are not a shout fest now either and Fred has lived here for more than 20 years he said. I don't think Bob ever lived here, he stayed in Norwalk, so he must have been recognized there not in a grocery store in Toledo. That whole article is one big "me" for Frantz. Most jocks/hosts go away without goodbyes, Schaffer got one because he'd been here 15 years, lived here, was number one here, Frantz can't say any of that. Good luck in Cleveburg though Bob.

-Sepp said...

Love him or hate him, NOBODY in this town held the local politicians feet to the fire like Frantz did.

Big Tex Cowboy said...

Aw shucks, Liberal Dem! I thought you had forgotten about me! You know, my life just hasn't been complete anymore without a daily smearing from Liberal Dem!

HM...thanks for the thoughtful piece in TFP, and thanks for the kind words here. You and I have spoken many times, and I know we don't see eye to eye on every issue...but you've always debated and discussed in the most respectful manner possible, and you in turn have my respect.

And to anonymous, you're correct about where I lived while working in Toledo...I have very serious responsibilities as the only child of an ailing mother who needed my assistance. I had to stay close to her, and couldn't move her to Toledo with me. Believe me, that 55 minute drive everyday wasn't something I enjoyed! But the truth is I spent more than 8 hours a day in Toledo every weekday, and many more on weekends with my family. And being recognized by voice in various Toledo locales is one of the fondest memories I'll have.

I wish my friends in Toledo nothing but the best...God bless.

Kate said...

I read the article Bob wrote in the Toledo Free Press. Those were the words of a gentleman. Nicely done Bob.

I don't know what your politics are - but it struck me that you refused to bait the people involved in your decision to leave. You just don't see that much anymore :-) Well played.

Hooda Thunkit said...

No doubt about it, since removing Bob, WSPD has some serious ratings losses to overcome.

Like Bob, as I do, or not as some of you clearly do, Toledo is worse for the loss of the likes of Bob Frantz.

And, Cleveland is better for our loss.

Take care Bob!