SYRACUSE -- It's been a full week since longtime WSYR radio talk show host Jim Reith was replaced by syndicated programming, as part of Clear Channel's latest nationwide "reduction in force." (Three others in Syracuse were also let go.) While quite a few naysayers were quick to express their delight with Reith's cancellation, many more fans have expressed hope he'll return. One fan has even launched an entire website devoted to getting Reith back on local airwaves.
Benjamin Kay of Syracuse has designed a "Jim Reith Show" website, which can be accessed via www.JimReith.com or www.TheJimReithShow.com. Right now, parts of the website are still under construction, but for now, Kay is focused on gathering names for a petition to bring Reith back to local radio. As of Wednesday evening, nearly 70 people "signed" the petition, many of whom have also have posted comments of support.
We asked Kay for more details about this project and what he's hoping to accomplish.
CNYRadio.com: Are you somehow connected to Jim Reith? Former co-worker, a relative, or just a fan of the show?
Kay: I do not know Jim Reith personally; I just believe his show is a great asset to the community. I’m a fan of ALL LOCAL… business, radio, sports & television.
CNYRadio.com: Did you register these domains on your own, or did you seek Reith's permission first?
Kay: Yes I did register the domains personally with the surprise they were available.
CNYRadio.com: Have you heard anything from Reith himself about your effort? Have you attempted to reach him?
Kay: I have not heard from Mr. Reith but info has been posted on his Facebook page. When the fan support has increased I will try and contact him directly.
CNYRadio.com: What is your goal in terms of number of "signatures?"
Kay: I believe with 5000 signatures/likes "The Jim Reith Show" will have a strong return with many opportunities. As Jim said "when one door closes, another opens," this website may be that door.
(Editor's Note: The website now mentions that 5000-signature goal, but it wasn't publicly-stated when we submitted our questions to Kay.)
CNYRadio.com: What do you hope to accomplish with the website? Obviously you want Reith back on-air, but do you have any specific "targets" in terms of particular stations or groups who you'd most-like to notice your petition?
Kay: The goal of the website is not necessarily to bring Jim back to AM 570/FM 106.9; it’s to bring his followers together and make the show return.
CNYRadio.com: What's your motivation? What prompted you to make this effort?
Kay: As a web designer, building a simple web site for The Jim Reith Show fans was the least I could do. The Jim Reith Show has helped the community in so many ways especially fundraising, local talent, politics and the list goes on.
CNYRadio.com: Your website also has buttons labeled "Live" and "Podcast," but right now, both pages just say "Coming Soon." What are your plans for these pages?
Kay: The website will depend a lot on the future...hopefully jimreith.com will be the place to go to watch the show live or listen to podcast.
After giving the proverbial dust a week to settle, CNYRadio.com contacted Cumulus Media Operations Manager Tom Mitchell to ask if there's any chance Reith could end the station's search for a local afternoon host on 105.9 The Big Talker (WXTL). The station has been seeking a new local host since Gary Nolan exited the station in April.
Mitchell responded, "at this time we do not have plans to put Jim Reith on 105.9 The Big Talker."
Could the phrase "at this time" be the key part of that statement? Or is it a safe bet to cross WXTL off the "possibilities" list with a pen rather than a pencil? Feel free to post your thoughts or predictions in the comments section below. You need a CNYRadio.com login to comment, but sign-up is free and it only takes a moment. Or, you can post a comment below this story's headline on the CNYRadio.com Facebook Page.