Radio host Herman Cain announced Tuesday that he will no longer be syndicated on about 120 stations nationwide starting January 1, 2017.
He will remain on air on five Cox Media Group news/talk radio stations: Atlanta's flagship News 95.5 and AM 750 WSB, WDBO-FM 96.5 in Orlando; KRMG-AM/FM (102.3/740) in Tulsa, Okl.; WHIO AM/FM (95.7/1290) in Dayton, Ohio; and WOKV-AM/FM (690/104.5) in Jacksonville, Fl.
Cain is heard locally from 9 a.m. to noon weekdays on WSB.
The 70-year-old entrepreneur and 2012 presidential candidate has been syndicated nationwide since January of 2013, taking over for Neal Boortz, who has retired from full-time radio work but continues to provide daily commentaries for WSB and runs his own subscription-only podcast.
WSB program director Pete Spriggs said this was purely an economic decision."Syndication isn't as lucrative as it used to be," he said.
The five Cox stations represent 80 percent of Cain's listeners and a bulk of the revenue he generates, Spriggs said: "I'd rather see it as the glass as 80 percent as opposed to 20 percent empty."
Spriggs added: "Herman is one of the most amazing talents I have ever worked with. It's not easy to let go of national syndication. Everyone has an ego. But he understands the business reasons. He immediately started thinking about how this can help his digital assets including hermancain.com."
Michael Harrison, who runs Talkers magazine, which covers the radio news/talk business, said in this day and age of podcasts and radio apps, "you don't need to be on 100 some odd stations to have a national footprint in media. You can be nationally famous on one station because of the way online broadcasting works. People are way more sophisticated in their listening habits than they used to be."
Spriggs said the change will enable Cain to be more flexible when there's breaking news and provide the stations greater control of their ad inventory. And while Cain does some corporate endorsements, he isn't a huge fan of doing too many of them, Spriggs added. "He feels hawking too many products endangers his image."
Cox Media Group is basically bowing out of the syndication game, Spriggs said. Consumer advocate Clark Howard works for various Cox properties but controls the rights to his radio syndication.
Spriggs said Cain is committed to Cox for at least another year.
He said there will be scheduling changes coming soon but couldn't say what.
WSB and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution are both part of Cox Media Group.
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.