Ever gone cold-turkey on a habit to which you were absolutely addicted?
Radio listeners throughout the northeast did that eight months ago when WTIC-AM canned McEnroe without warning. The move left listeners cut off from a voice who’d become a dependable, friendly afternoon companion. OK, an opinionated companion, but a companion to many nonetheless.
In his absence, many listeners expressed outrage by boycotting the station’s advertisers and starting a Facebook group titled “Bring Back Colin McEnroe.” The group drew more than 667 members and fostered an online discussion about whether McEnroe’s show would work on public radio.
“Colin’s show was an oasis in a desert,” wrote Eric Hahn on the page. “I would call his political view intelligent and educated before I would give it a label. I just know I want Colin’s voice back. It was something I grew to count on.”
Now people like Hahn have gotten their wish for at least 13 weeks. McEnroe will be back on the air Monday, Aug. 31, broadcasting from the FM dial with a one-hour show airing weekdays at 1 p.m. on Connecticut Public Radio. The station has agreed to a 13-week pilot for McEnroe’s show.
At a press conference at station’s headquarters on Asylum Avenue in Hartford Wednesday, McEnroe said his return to the airwaves made him feel like the state’s struggling media industry may be turning a corner.
“This has been kind of a tough time for America, Connecticut, and for those working in the media business,” McEnroe said as he announced his new gig. “Maybe we’re turning a little corner here.”
He said he’s excited to make a whole bunch of new friends while also hanging onto some of his old ones, including Dr. Jerry Rosenfeld.
Rosenfeld, a loyal listener for 16 years, stopped advertising on WTIC after McEnroe was canned and took his business to Connecticut Public Radio.
“When WTIC lost Colin, they lost me, too,” Rosenfeld said Monday. While public radio is much different from commercial radio, Rosenfeld said he’s confident McEnroe and WNPR will be a good fit.
Of the eccentric group of callers who often phoned into his show on WTIC, McEnroe said he will be taking some phone calls during the new show, but not many.
“It’s going to sound a lot different than the old show,” he said. “It’s going to be a fun show.”
It may disappoint some listeners to know that the show will be a little bit of a departure from the political fare some may equate with McEnroe, but then again it won’t be following Rush Limbaugh’s time slot like his previous radio show did for many years.
On most days, the show will be centered around a theme, McEnroe said. Other days, it will be like a magazine featuring a variety of topics and fast-paced discussion.
WNPR’s Chion Wolf will be the show’s announcer and sometimes sidekick, but McEnroe joked that she’s much funnier than he is, so she may not get much air time. And the show will be produced by Patrick Skahill.
McEnroe’s first guest Monday, Aug. 31 will be Gail Collins, New York Times editorial page columnist.
Connecticut Public Radio and the new Colin McEnroe Show can be heard starting at 1 p.m. weekdays at 90.5 FM Hartford/New Haven; 89.1 FM Norwich/New London; 88.5 FM Stamford/Greenwich; 91.3 FM Southampton, NY; 99.5 FM Storrs.