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Dave Luzcak and Carole Caine have raised millions of dollars for Children's Hospital of Milwaukee with the Miracle Marathon. (PHOTO: Children's Hospital of Milwaukee)

Carole Caine, WKLH part ways

At the end of June, Carole Caine of "Dave and Carole" on WKLH-FM 96.5, had her last day on the air.

The newly branded "Hometown Rock" station wanted to take the morning show in a new direction. Monday was Caine's last day.

"We look forward to growing what we've built through the years and being a favorite with Milwaukee morning listeners. Change isn't easy, but it's inevitable," station VP Annmarie Topel said in a statement.

Caine became a part of the morning program in 1986, shortly after her co-host for nearly 30 years, Dave Luczak, came to Milwaukee.

"The originator and founder of the morning show, Dave Luczak, will continue on in mornings," WKLH's station ownership, the Milwaukee Radio Group, reported. "Some will recall that Luczak started the show almost 33 years ago, debuting as 'Girard & Luczak' on 96.5. He will continue as the host of the show, bringing compelling and entertaining morning radio to his many fans. The audience will continue to hear their favorite guests and characters on the show, as well as ever-changing interviews with athletes, comedians and celebrities."

The Milwaukee Radio Group that also owns and operates WHQG-FM The Hog, Jammin' WJMR-FM, The Energy WNRG-FM and Joy WJYI-AM. The group is a part of Saga Communications.

On the WKLH Mornings page online, with a rebranded image of Luczak, it read:

"Thank you. Yes, thank you for your comments, as blunt and direct as they are. How much you all admire and respect Carole is no surprise.

"You've been together for a long time and it is never easy to accept change. We understand those of you who are disappointed and upset. Perhaps this type of thing has happened in your own place of employment. We get it. We really do.

"We hope you will understand that it's a decision that was made with careful thought and deep respect for all parties. Thank you again."

Caine, along with the rest of the team, has had an incredible impact on the community, often participating in fund raising efforts. Among the top is the millions raised for Children's Hospital of Milwaukee.

"We are very grateful for the many years Carole Caine has been with us. She has had a long, admirable and impressive career with WKLH," Topel said. "We wish her well and thank her for her years with us."

ANALYSIS: As the comments of support for Caine and the call for her return on the station's Facebook page continue, area media writers have speculated why Caine's contract was not renewed.

Some have pointed to the Nielsen ratings, and the apparent slide in WKLH's position and how the show performed among key advertising demographics. Others believe the station ownership is strapped, especially having to reach a settlement after not paying for Nielsen's services for years.

Both of the aforementioned reasons are probably true.

The other underlying factor, which seems to go unnoticed or unspoken, is that the industry as a whole is in flux. Despite the studies and numbers being touted by radio ownership groups, the listening audience is more fractured that it has ever been. With online streaming options, digital downloads and the change in tastes of popular and classic music, it is no wonder that everyone involved in digital and traditional media are scrambling to hang onto an audience.

Change is inevitable … and every outlet is doing its level best to throw ideas on the wall and see what ultimately sticks.

MANAGEMENT: The Milwaukee Radio Alliance has named Tom Cheng as its new Group Sales Manager. In that role he will be in charge of advertising on 102/1 WLUM-FM, Trending Radio 93.3 WLDB-FM and the ever-changing-it-seems-station now known as The Party 100.3 FM and 1290 AM WZTI-AM.

"It is with great admiration and respect that I announce Tom Cheng as Group Sales Manager for the Milwaukee Radio Alliance," Bill Hurwitz, VP and GM, said in a statement. "Tom has been a senior account executive with the Milwaukee Radio Alliance for 16 years. …

"This is the best of both worlds for us and Tom."

Talkbacks

Wiseman64 | Oct. 15, 2015 at 2:56 p.m. (report)

At first I wasn't going to listen to WKLH after Carole left, but when they said they were going to go in a new direction I decided to keep listening to see what they were going to do that Carole would not "fit in". Well all these months later and the only thing that has changed at WKLH is the complete reliance on GINO SALOMONE for humor. Gino is now on almost everyday. They have been doing the Judge Gino bit multiple times a week. Dave without Carole just doesn't work. It's too bad - it WAS really a great morning show. Time to move on to something else.

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