I was out of town last week and noticed today that Bill Simonson’s “The Huge Show” is occupying the 3-6PM slot once again on WTKA 1050AM.   I believe Huge last filled this time on WTKA was back in 2008 before he was moved to a tape-delayed segment from 6-8pm.

AnnArbor.com chatted with PD Ira Weintraub about the change this weekend.   The reason for the change per Ira:

“Budget cuts,” explained WTKA Program Director Ira Weintraub on Friday. “It was based on decisions made elsewhere and decisions made locally.”

Ira told me they still plan to preempt the show with their popular afternoon special events like Signing Day and Grill Wars, which is good.

“We’ve definitely had people that wanted to hear from Marcus [Ray] and Jeff [DeFran] and from Ben [Holden] and The Beatniks.”   Ira added, “We’re trying to do a few things to bring back some of the staples that were on in the afternoon.” 

According to Ira it came down to who to syndicate in the afternoon slot between CBS radio host Doug Gottlieb and Huge.   “I chose the regional coverage over the national coverage because we have national coverage for the previous 5 hours [John Feinstein 10-12, Jim Rome 12-3) and when it’s over we have a lot more national coverage.”

Ira added that given Simonson is back on live in Ann Arbor he expects he’ll bring more U-M-based content to his show.

Make take?

  • Huge is an acquired taste, often seemingly trolling the common denominator, but I’m glad they went with regional content vs. Gottlieb. And he definitely lands some strong interviews.
  • I’ll miss Steve Clarke’s midweek segment and Marcus Ray on Friday.  
  • I think having a consistent regional host in the afternoon, something missing for years, will help cultivate a stronger following.   Barring an influx of local advertising money, I don’t think we’ll get back to the WTKA afternoon heyday when a dedicated, Ann Arbor-based host like Dennis Fithian will man the mic.
  • Other upside?  Perhaps we can rekindle the Jim Carty vs. Huge feud:

Bill ‘Huge’ Simonson (The Huge Show
Jim Carty (Ann Arbor News (formerly)/New York Times

OVERVIEW: Do you remember?  Yes, there was a spell a few years back when Huge was regularly teeing off on Carty on his radio show (which used to air live in Ann Arbor).   According to Carty it started after he declined to go on air with Huge because he didn’t care for the style of the show.  Despite an olive branch from Huge when Carty retired from regular journalism, I’m guessing each man still has a few things to get off their respective chests. 
EDGE:   Carty strikes me as a lawyer, not a fighter, and I’ve run into Huge a couple times—he’s a pretty big dude.  Sorry JC, Huge by KO.

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And talks about you-know-what.

Worth a listen, about 13 minutes of audio:

HT:  mgoblog user UMICH1606

For those who listen to 1050AM WTKA may have noticed that the Dan Patrick Show has run the last couple days in the slot that used to be occupied by Michigan radio host Bill ‘Huge’ Simonson. WTKA has moved the Huge show out of the drive time slot and onto a 6-8pm window and on delay.

I called the station to ask about the decision. Sounds like it came down to a ratings and perhaps a few complaints from listeners. While Huge is technically a local show, the frequent focus on Central Michigan athletics I think wore thin on some Ann Arborites. So they’re moving Dan Patrick into the slot.

I didn’t hear Huge’s reaction to the show (because Dan Patrick was on!) and I didn’t hear the delayed show. I’m sure he’s pissed but sometimes radio hosts downplay setbacks like this.

A few quickly scribbled thoughts:
* I’m not a fan of the Dan Patrick show. To me, Patrick is still a witty teleprompter highlight reader and not a radio host. The cute frat boy towel whipping humor is really for the birds.
* I’d prefer a local host, Huge included, cover this critical slot especially during football season. I still miss Dennis Fithian [MVictors interview] and without knowing the financials behind the decision, think it was a big mistake letting him go.
* For a local show, Simonson and his producer Brett Muller got some incredible guests and when talking sports, it’s an interesting listen. While some guys think he’s a prick, Huge seems like a good man all in all, he’s adopted children FWIW and always steps up for quality charitable causes including the WTKA football take-over. So why does that matter? Believe me, Dan Patrick won’t be broadcasting live from the Griese-Hutchinson event next year nor will he be promoting the other great things that go on around the A2 community.
* Here’s where I think Huge falls down. Some of the stands he takes come off as schtick e.g., How can I piss off MSU football fans this week? and that silly feud with Jim Carty. And when he starts to joke on the show or with guest, I think most of the audience turns into crickets.
* Just a thought, how about WTKA bring back former morning host Steve Clarke in a 3-5 or 3-6 slot? Clarke dials in each Wednesday morning and he’s money. He also does a great job in the Bud Light Victors Lounge.

The net: Financials aside, I don’t like the move on face but I’m sure there’s much behind the decision that I don’t understand.

UPDATE 11/12: JC, Esq. has a post up reacting to this post with some insight and to me, some great news. Here’s a snip:

This has been coming for a while and I wouldn’t be surprised if the show is completely gone at some point sooner rather than later. Expect WTKA to put together an all-local afternoon show that will focus on Michigan sports.

Check out the full post here right now.