By RODNEY HO/ email@example.com, originally filed Saturday, July 16, 2016
More change is happening at Star 94.1. The afternoon team of Drex, Cassidy and Tingle is gone after 18 months.
When new management at Star 94.1 hired Jeff Dauler and Jenn Hobby as the new morning team, the existing trio of Drex, Cassiday and Tingle was moved to afternoons in February.
Grabbing Jeff and Jenn was a major coup for Star to compete against Bert Weiss and Q100 given their brand equity from the Bert Show.
But from a budgetary standpoint, Star had a problem with too many jocks and not enough slots. Drex, Cassiday and Tingle still had nearly a year left on their contract. So that’s why they were kept on air instead of cut immediately. It also meant that they had another full-time jock Mike Marino with nowhere to go. So they placed Marino as producer of Jeff and Jenn.
Clearly, this situation became unwieldy for Star, which is focusing on promoting Jeff and Jenn. So on Friday evening, Star took Drex, Cassiday and Tingle off air six months before their contract was up. The pop station is basically going to pay the trio not to work until January, 2017.
“They were very professional about the whole thing,” Drex texted me tonight. “I think it’s going to play out in the best interest of everyone. But I’m sad. I would have liked to have continued my employment with them as long as possible.”
In early 2015, Lincoln Financial hired Drex, Cassiday and Tingle just weeks before Entercom announced it was buying Star 94.1. So their job security was immediately tenuous. Then Dauler became unexpectedly available in November and Star 94.1 boss Mike Fowler was drawn to hiring him. Why? Fowler worked with the Bert Show at Q100 in the mid-2000s and they always got along.
Fowler truly believed Jeff and Jenn could make a big difference for Star, which hasn’t been able to build a solid morning show since Steve & Vikki, who were let go in 2007.
Star 94.1 has been making ratings progress since Jeff and Jenn arrived in February. Among 25 to 54 year olds, Star’s morning ratings were 3.5, ranked 12th, in January. By June, the ratings had climbed to 4.9, ranked seventh, up 40 percent.
The Bert Show, which suffered listener losses after Dauler left in November, has seen a rebound the past two months. After falling to fifth place among 25 to 54 year olds in April, the Bert Show returned to No. 1 in May and June.