No, the decision by WISN-AM (1130) to dump Glenn Beck's syndicated show from its weekday lineup has nothing to do with Beck's increasingly outlandish take on the world.
It definitely doesn't mean other conservative talkers are in danger here, although Beck's TV and radio empire does seem to have seen better days.
I've read my Twitter feed and Facebook page with amusement since I first broke the news Tuesday morning about the imminent end of Beck's show in Milwaukee. Everybody seemed happy at Beck's demise in Milwaukee.
Both conservatives and liberals see the move as a good thing -- for very different reasons. Lefties see it as a defeat for conservative talk radio, while righties see Beck as increasingly out of the conservative mainstream as he paints an apocalyptic future for America.
But this decision has absolutely nothing to do with any shift away from a conservative talk format by WISN.
This is nothing more than a business decision by a station that's focusing during the morning hours on its local talent, rather than syndicated programming that fits its conservative talk focus. And Beck's ratings made it a relatively easy decision on WISN's end.
Among listeners 25 to 54, attractive to advertisers, WISN was in 11th place from 8:30 to noon in February, while WTMJ was in first with Charlie Sykes' conservative talk show, according to ratings numbers from Arbitron. That WISN didn't benefit during February's increased focus on state politics is a sign of Beck's weakness among Milwaukee radio listeners.
WISN program director Jerry Bott didn't focus much on ratings when I talked to him about the end of Beck's show here.
"It didn't perform as well as we had hoped," Bott told me.
Removing Beck from WISN's lineup had to be a interesting corporate discussion, since both the Milwaukee radio station and Premiere Radio Networks, which syndicates Beck's show, are owned by Clear Channel Communications.
The winner in this WISN's morning talker, Jay Weber, whose show will air from 6 to 10 a.m. starting April 18 with the disappearance of Beck's show. The station has been happy with his performance, and is banking on building his audience further.
"The reason we're making this particular move is the overwhelming demand from WISN listeners for more Jay Weber on the radio," Bott said, citing "hundreds" of e-mails.
Weber currently has a three-hour show, from 5 to 8 a.m. Beck runs from 8 to 10 and Madison-based Vicki McKenna airs from 10 to noon.
Under the new schedule, Weber gets an extra hour of air-time (and an extra hour of sleep). McKenna's schedule stays the same.
Another winner in this is WISN's news director, Ken Herrera, the former host of WTMJ's morning show. He'll get a showcase in the 5 a.m. hour anchoring "WISN's Morning Briefing," which will provide a first look at the news and issues of the day.
As for Beck, this is his second unsuccessful try at making it on WISN. This time around, he's been on the station since March 1, 2010. Previously, he'd been heard on WISN from 2001 to 2004.
It's not likely he'll be back on Milwaukee radio.
On TV: Veteran TV political analyst (and UW-Madison grad) Jeff Greenfield is leaving CBS News and may focus on writing books. TV Newser quotes an e-mail from Greenfield to CBS News staffers saying, "while I did not initiate this decision, I think it was the right one."
- HBO says its docudrama version of "Too Big to Fail," based on Andrew Ross Sorkin's book on the economic crisis of a couple years ago, will debut on May 23. William Hurt, Paul Giamatti and Matthew Modine star.
- Discovery has changed the name of its Science Channel to simply "Science."
- Billy Crystal has joined Twitter to push his new FunnyorDie.com video that debuts today.
A weird little dose of Charlie Sheen: There's a new "E! True Hollywood Story" chronicling Charlie Sheen's recent adventures tonight at 9 on E!
In the meantime, here's Sheen's own "unedited" remix of his "20/20" interview. I'd usually warn about the rough language, but the bigger warning is that it's more than 7 minutes long and definitely disjointed:
Tim Cuprisin is the media columnist for OnMilwaukee.com. He's been a journalist for 30 years, starting in 1979 as a police reporter at the old City News Bureau of Chicago, a legendary wire service that's the reputed source of the journalistic maxim "if your mother says she loves you, check it out." He spent a couple years in the mean streets of his native Chicago, and then moved on to the Green Bay Press-Gazette and USA Today, before coming to the Milwaukee Journal in 1986.
A general assignment reporter, Cuprisin traveled Eastern Europe on several projects, starting with a look at Poland after five years of martial law, and a tour of six countries in the region after the Berlin Wall opened and Communism fell. He spent six weeks traversing the lands of the former Yugoslavia in 1994, linking Milwaukee Serbs, Croats and Bosnians with their war-torn homeland.
In the fall of 1994, a lifetime of serious television viewing earned him a daily column in the Milwaukee Journal (and, later the Journal Sentinel) focusing on TV and radio. For 15 years, he has chronicled the changes rocking broadcasting, both nationally and in Milwaukee, an effort he continues at OnMilwaukee.com.
When he's not watching TV, Cuprisin enjoys tending to his vegetable garden in the backyard of his home in Whitefish Bay, cooking and traveling.