It’s Time To Wake Up…
With those words Michael Scott Shannon changed the course of radio, not just in New York but throughout the world. As Z100 charged “from worst to first” led by Shannon as not only their Program Director but leader of the “Z Morning Zoo”, it changed the shape of Top 40 and Morning Radio forever. Outside of perhaps Howard Stern, no person did more to change the tone of a daypart.
After already a long career in Top 40 at stations like WABB Mobile, WMAK Nashville, and WQXI Atlanta it would be the morning zoo, developed by Shannon and Cleveland Wheeler at “Q105” WRBQ Tampa that would be cloned at stations all over the world and played a major part in the Top 40 boom of the 1980’s. After leaving Z100 in 1989 he attempted to replicate its success in Los Angeles with Rock 40 “Pirate Radio“.
Returning to New York in 1991, Shannon quickly rebranded WPLJ as “Mojo Radio” in an attempt to go after Z100. That would then give way to what was at first a very 1970’s centric Hot AC format emphasizing the WPLJ call letters. Todd Pettengill joined the station at that time as Shannon’s morning co-host, a pairing that would last through Shannon’s retirement today.
With a career that also included consulting gigs at stations like WPLY Philadelphia, imaging for other stations and programs including the Sean Hannity show, and launching the syndicated “True Oldies Channel“, Shannon made it clear during his final show that while he was retiring from WPLJ, he is not done with radio.
Once he’s free to do so, you would hope that there would be room for Shannon somewhere in New York. While he may finally wish to break free from having to do a daily morning show, perhaps a weekend show at 101.1 WCBS-FM or even News/Talk 710 WOR would be a fit for him. Any radio company anywhere could do worse than having Scott Shannon as an extra voice to consult programming or to coach personalities.
And if I were Cumulus, I’d strongly consider taking the time now to rebrand WPLJ. Over the past few years, the station has evolved to bear little resemblance to the station as it was during the years it was programmed by Shannon and Tom Cuddy during its ABC and Citadel ownership. Its not fair to ask new PD John Foxx nor the new Todd Pettengill led morning show to have to follow in Shannon’s footsteps. Give the station a new identity free from the shackles of its connection to Scott Shannon.