It is late afternoon and you're about to tune in to the Bernie McCain radio show. You know, "You're on WRC." No, you're not.
Last week, McCain signed off at WRC and joined the staff at the newly revamped WOL (1450-AM) as talk-show host/operations manager, beginning tomorrow.
Leaving the NBC-owned station for WOL, recently purchased by Dewey and Cathy Liggins Hughes, was, according to Cathy Hughes, a simple contractual matter. "Mr. McCain's contract with WRC ran out, and fortunately we were the station able to offer him a comparable situation. We're very happy to have him."
McCain, 45, says he is "extremely happy with the deal. There's no hard feelings in leaving WRC. There's no harshness on either side. I'm not new to management in radio. I've done it at other stations in Richmond, Philadelphia, California, and I respect what they [the Hugheses] are trying to do. People determine that a minority-owned enterprise cannot compete, and that's not true."
McCain's contract with WOL includes a talk show weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m. in addition to operations management, share-holding and the necessary time to establish his own business outside of radio.
"I'm trying like hell to open a fast-food operation by June or July -- one for ribs, one for chicken," says McCain. "I'm just like everybody else, don't have anything and want something that's mine that won't take me away from radio. Cathy and Dewey are giving me that time."
That, says McCain, is worth the salary cut he's taken in the switch. "I'm not making here what I was at WRC, but the incentive was to let me in on some of the action. I'm rolling the dice with them for tomorrow."
According to WRC programming director Gordon Peil, McCain ranks fourth among the city's talk titans with audiences 18 and older. Originally in the 10 a.m.-to-1 p.m. time slot when he started at WRC in December of 1978, McCain was relocated in March of '80 to 7-10 p.m. because, says Peil, "his style belonged there. Bernie tends to get into topical subjects that relate to hard news and often have an atmosphere of gossip about them. People aren't ready for that first thing in the morning."