Jay Towers' One-Way Ticket to Clear Channel

It’s getting to the point in Detroit  radio that you can’t tell the players without a program.  Word tonight from Bill Shea at Crain’s Detroit Business is that 97.1 The Ticket Morning Show Co-Host Jay Towers is exiting CBS for a position with Clear Channel Radio.  Reportedly, Towers and CBS could not agree on terms of a new contract.

Rumors are running rampant with the news, including the possibility that Mike “Stoney” Stone (most famously of WDFN and more recently hired by WXYT) will be paired with remaining Ticket Host Bill McAllister.  There’s even more unlikely talk concerning Channel 95-5’s “Mojo in the Morning” heading to CBS’s 98.7 AMP FM and, in turn, Towers replacing Mojo at the Clear Channel property.  AMP recently hired Channel’s popular Nighttimer “Big Boy” away.

Why all the changes? After all, traditionally, consistency of on-air talent has always been paramount in building listener (fan) followings and, in turn, ratings. In short, time and money.  Today, no media outlet has the luxury of either—whether to build a following or adjust for changes in market factors. Just consider the long list of talented Detroit radio drivetimers that have either moved to different stations or are now out of radio entirely: “Deminski & Doyle,” Chris Edmonds, “JJ & Lynne,” Arthur Penhallow, Tom Ryan and Jay Towers (WDRQ to WXYT to WOMC to WXYT again and now Clear Channel, exact station unknown).

In the case of The Ticket, while the two-year-old “Motor City Mornings,” had been hitting its stride in the past year, the recent return of Drew to the WRIF Morning Show had been taking a significant bite out of the male audience the two battle for. 

For Towers, who knows whether salary was the issue or whether, perhaps, the powers-that-be at CBS feel inserting Stoney and, in turn, adding more of a sports flavoring to mornings to complement WXYT’s overall programming focus could most efficiently affect improved ratings. The industry has never been more competitive or complicated. Patience as a virtue? Today, it is no longer possible.