Les is more: Will Keiling give Meier a boost at WGN?

Leslie Keiling

Leslie Keiling

To fans of Steve Dahl and Garry Meier in the 1980s, she'll always be known as "Lane Closure." And though her unmistakable voice was heard on almost every radio station in town since then, Leslie Keiling has spent the last decade delivering traffic reports exclusively for WGN AM 720.

Now we're about to hear a lot more from her than the travel times on the Kennedy.

According to plan, Keiling is expected to take on a more prominent role as a contributor to Meier's afternoon show. It's part of a top-to-bottom programming overhaul at the Tribune Broadcasting news/talk station under new president and general manager Jimmy deCastro. WGN's revamped lineup goes into effect this week.

Outlining his strategy for the station, deCastro confirmed in a Chicago Tribune interview Aug. 20 that Meier "will be partnered with a co-host." But whether Keiling is officially designated as co-host is another matter. Meier has been adamant about not sharing top billing since his acrimonious breakups with two former parters — Dahl after 14 years in 1993 and Roe Conn after nine years in 2004.

In any case, deCastro is determined to improve Meier's show and its underperforming ratings.

In the latest Arbitron monthly survey, Meier tied for 22nd place (with two Spanish-language stations) among listeners between 25 and 54 with a 1.7 percent share and cumulative weekly audience of 121,100. For the full spring quarter, he also finished 22nd with a 2.1 share in the demo.

The promotion of Keiling also appears designed to increase the role of women on the air at WGN. Other female personalities just added to the station's lineup include Marianne Murciano and Wendy Snyder on weekdays, and Kathy O'Malley, Judy Markey, Patti Vasquez and Hannah Stanley on weekends.

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