STAY TUNED: Naples radio host Bob Harden missing from the airwaves

BILL GREEN

This week, we’ll start out the column with my favorite segment, reader questions.

Bob writes: “What happened to the Bob Harden morning radio show? All of a sudden off the air this past week. Homepage for WGUF 98.9 removed his name very very quickly and no mention why or what happened. He was replaced with the Wall Street Journal report.”

I spoke with WGUF General Manager Roger Harris. He tells me that Harden resigned. Harris says the station is only airing the WSJ report on an interim basis and encouraged listeners to tune in for announcements of future plans.

Harden says on May 12 he was asked to renegotiate his contract to the station’s benefit or resign. He says he did not like the way in which the request was put to him.

“I felt I was not valued or appreciated in this organization,” says Harden, who went home, thought about it, came in the next morning, did his show and resigned.

“The only thing I regret is not thanking my listeners.”

Harden was a daily radio host for the past three years. He hosted a weekend show on the station for five years prior to that.

Harden says he hopes to work in local radio again.

Unofficially, Don Imus, Laura Ingraham and Neal Boortz are syndicated names being mentioned around town as possibly coming to the station. We may find out as early as Monday.

Rebecca in Naples asks: “What is the fate of ‘Harry’s Law’ on NBC?”

Good news, Rebecca, “Harry’s Law” has been picked up for a second season. It will return in the fall. NBC plans to air the show at 9 p.m. on Wednesdays.

J.H. of Naples writes: “Can you supply me with an e-mail address allowing me to write expressing my disappointment in the Fox network dropping ‘Chicago Code’?”

A groundswell of support is building, J.H. Petitions. Campaigns. Visit facebook.com/TheChicagoCode for all the resources you need to let your voice be heard. And good luck!

Sue comments: “I hope some station picks Craig (Wolf) up. I miss his mature reporting and educated voice.”

And to B.J. in Naples, and all those I haven’t responded to yet, I’m working to get you some answers.

WINK eyes weekends

Just how much news can one local market support? WINK seems to think we’re not there yet.

Last month we told you about WINK’s decision to replace “Oprah” with news at 4 p.m. That starts June 6.

Well, the station just announced it’s adding three hours of news to the weekend. “WINK News Now: Weekend” will air every Saturday and Sunday from 7:30 to 9 a.m. beginning June 11.

“Viewers trust the responsible journalism and reputation of WINK News … Our viewers have been asking us to provide our quality of news to their weekend mornings,” says Wayne Simons, WINK-TV vice president and general manager.

Erin Maloney will anchor the new newscast.

“And we’ll be introducing a new meteorologist to Jim Farrell’s weather team,” said Russ Kilgore, WINK News Director.

“Katie Walls will handle the weather duties. Katie comes to WINK most recently from WSIL in Illinois.”

Bye, Oprah; Hi, Oz

Oprah may have refused to say goodbye during her stripped-down finale on Wednesday. The love letter to viewers ended simply with “until we meet again.”

But stations are saying goodbye to one of the most beloved talk show hosts of all time. And while news will replace her in this market, syndicated shows will benefit the most from her departure.

Appropriately, an Oprah spin-off, Sony’s “Dr. Oz,” can be declared a nominal Oprah replacement, having snagged her coveted news lead-in slot in more than 80 markets across the country.

After Oz, it appears Warner Bros.’ “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” has captured the second most Winfrey spots, with more than 25 going the comedian’s way. Of note, Ellen already had the 4 p.m. time slots competing against Oprah in many markets, especially those stations owned and operated by NBC.

Other syndicated shows that have inherited her coveted spots: CBS Television Distribution’s “Dr. Phil,” which in some cases is moving from 3 p.m., where the show now plays in many markets; “Judge Judy,” also from CBS; and Warner Bros.’ “Anderson,” a newcomer featuring Anderson Cooper.

Of the top 25 markets, Oz will get Winfrey spots in nine markets, including Los Angeles; Ellen will take two (Boston and Minneapolis-St. Paul); Dr. Phil (Miami) and Anderson (Washington) will take one each.

In six top 25 markets, stations have chosen to abandon syndication and run local news. Local programs can be cheaper and become better watched than syndicated shows in untested time periods. And with another election cycle rapidly approaching, an extra newscast is a magnet for campaigns often frantic to find newscast positions for political ads.

Programming notes

For those of you with HDNet, the high-numbered cable channel will present a very special double-feature of Jim Henson’s Fantasy Classics “The Dark Crystal” and “Labyrinth,” for one night only, 8 p.m., Monday.

HDNet’s presentation will mark its first television airing in more than 10 years and the first time they can be viewed in high definition.

“The Dark Crystal,” celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2012 and “Labyrinth,” celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, consistently build on their cult following as children, families and film lovers continue to discover these ground-breaking movies.

With the 2010/11 season officially behind us, there’s some summer programming of note to mention. Here are some significant premiere dates.

Monday: “Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition” (ABC)

Tuesday: “America’s Got Talent” (NBC)

June 1: “Love in the Wild” (NBC)

Wednesday: “Masterchef” (Fox)

Also of note: “So You Think You Can Dance” (Fox) debuted on Thursday and returns on Wednesday.

Bill Green is a Naples Daily News/naplesnews.com journalist and a professional couch potato. Contact him at bgreen@naplesnews.com.

© 2011 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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