Short Run Deserved More Air Time

By Leonard Shapiro
Special to
Tuesday, October 23, 2007; 12:33 PM

When Dave Feldman and Carol Maloney were summoned to the office of WTEM Radio program director Bill Hess along with their producer, Dave Ross, after their two-hour mid-day talk show this past Friday, they were stunned to hear that they were being taken off the air, effective immediately, after less than six months on the job.

No, Hess told them, it had nothing to do with ratings.

No, he insisted, it was not in the least bit performance-based.

Yes, he admitted, the station had received nothing but generally positive feedback from listeners almost from the day they began last May.

So why pull the plug?

Feldman and Maloney had just been steamrolled by the media juggernaut known as Dan Patrick, the former ESPN SportsCenter anchor who recently left the so-called Worldwide Leader to strike out on his own. In addition to signing up last week to associate himself with all things Sports Illustrated, Patrick also is now in the third week of his new syndicated radio show, and apparently WTEM just had to have him.

Never mind that Feldman and Maloney's smart and more than occasionally sophisticated show had been a true breath of fresh air from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the all-sports, all-the-time ClearChannel Communications affiliate.

Never mind that they had even begun to build a loyal and dedicated following by attracting top-flight guests (in the spirit of full disclosure, yes, occasionally even including moi), and offered up discussions that were not always centered on the Redskins sputtering offense. (You think Coach Thompson would ever have a segment on just how long an out-of-town golf trip with the boys should last before a wife or girlfriend threw his socks and underwear out the window?)

And never mind that Maloney was the only female voice on local sports talk radio on any station, and an extremely well-informed and opinionated voice, at that.

Despite all of the above, sadly, the show won't go on any more.

"I thought it was a fun and entertaining show," said Maloney, also an anchor/reporter for Comcast Sportsnet who, like Feldman, Channel 5's sports director, had never done this sort of show before, even though both seemed to thrive in the format. "We tried to be a little different. Nice, different and funny. Maybe nice wasn't working.

"But they kept telling us how much they loved us, right up until the moment they said goodbye. We worked so hard and did the best job we could. My biggest regret is that we didn't have a chance to go on the air one more time and thank everyone who contributed, and everyone who listened. That kind of bums me out."

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