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He’s baaaccck: WINA rehires Schilling

by Lisa Provence
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Rob Schilling’s involuntary retirement from the airwaves didn’t last long. Thanks to a listener-driven campaign, he’s back after less than a month.

A month after WINA pulled the plug on the Schilling Show, former conservative talk show host/city councilor Rob Schilling is headed back on the air– at WINA.

“The last thing I told you was that I trust the market,” says Schilling. “I believe the market has spoken.”

Struggling Saga Communications, the owner of the Charlottesville Radio Group, which includes WINA, 3WV, WQMZ Lite Rock 95, 106.1 the Corner and WVAX Progressive Talk, fired two staffers around Christmas along with Schilling– the Corner’s Tad Abbey and WINA’s John Peterson.

Schilling will be back on the WINA airwaves starting next Monday, January 26. “This is the last thing people expected,” says Schilling. “This never happens.”

Outraged Schilling fans set up a Bring Rob Schilling Back blog and bombarded Saga and WINA with calls and emails detailing their displeasure. Albemarle Truth in Taxation Alliance, which has an email distribution of 1,000 addresses, published a list of WINA advertisers and urged its members to contact them.

“I emailed, I called, I even went over there and sat face-to-face with [Charlottesville Radio Group operations manager] Rick Daniels,” says listener Linda McCraven. “Rick was very positive. He said the decision was not made in their local office.” Daniels had not returned phone calls from the Hook at press time.

Many Schilling listeners extolled his conservative viewpoint in liberal-leaning Charlottesville. “He really does give a dialogue that’s really needed,” says Pat Napoleon, who describes herself as an independent. “Things in Charlottesvile can be one-sided. I’m not saying I agree with Schilling every time, but he brought some real thought to the issues. He’s intelligent.”

Beleaguered Saga issued a reverse stock split December 30. Its stock price was $1.54 at the time of this post, down from its 52-week high of $6.60. Saga has 61 FM and 31 AM stations in 26 markets. In his 2007 letter, chairman/CEO/president Edward K. Christian wrote that the company was having trouble in the major markets, “while our smaller markets continue to perform very well.” That didn’t stop the Charlottesville stations from getting hit with layoffs.

Schilling found out he has a radio job again January 19 and goes back on the air Monday, January 26, weekdays from noon to 2pm– one hour longer than before. “We always ran out of time in an hour,” says Schilling, welcoming the longer slot.

McCraven has just one problem with Schilling’s new time: He’s up against another of her favorite talkmeisters, Rush Limbaugh. Her plan is to switch around, depending on what is being talked about. “That’s what the dial is for,” she says. “I get to choose between two things I want to listen to.”

Schilling credits Saga and WINA management for heeding the outpouring of support he got from listeners and advertisers. And he’s already got an idea about the topic of his first show: “The time I was off and how it feels to be among the unemployed.”

Update 3pm: WQMZ’s call letters have been corrected.
Updated January 22: Omitted WVAX Progressive Talk is added to the Charlottesville Radio Group stable.

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  • Elizabeth Bowman January 21st, 2009 | 2:37 pm

    I’m thankful that the Schilling show is returning and will be on air for a longer period of time.

  • Schilling Uncancelled at cvillenews.com January 21st, 2009 | 8:14 pm

    [...] Saga Communications has changed their minds: Rob Schilling is back on the air. [...]

  • Cville Eye January 21st, 2009 | 10:03 pm

    It’s great to have a local talk show dealing with local issues. Most of the other media outlets just disseminate press releases and others serve as a platform for locals to provide their spin without questioning their validity. That’s why I try to listen to Spencer and Barefoot on Fridays, a bit more information than the spin.

  • Mr Famous January 21st, 2009 | 11:18 pm


  • Elux Troxl January 22nd, 2009 | 8:09 am

    Calling Schilling a conservative is an insult to conservatism.

    Schilling is simply another shallow thinker who has managed to memorize two dozen platitudinal cliches and string them together in random order as a response to everything without really saying anything, in the fashion of Palin, Coulter, and Limbaugh.

    Try David Frum or David Brooks for a look at triple digit IQ conservatism.


  • Ouch January 22nd, 2009 | 8:24 am

    Devastatingly well-said, Elux Troxl.

  • Vito Profaci January 22nd, 2009 | 9:15 am

    Don’t let the long hair fool you, Rob is a BIG TIME common-sense conservative.

  • observation January 22nd, 2009 | 10:33 am

    Wonderful to hear Schilling will be back. He has exposed a real problem locally as certain politicians are unwilling and resistant to going on his show. Schilling poses reasonable questions and expects leaders to answer. Politicians are unaccustomed to answering up, as the public also expects them to do. They would rather nod, shake their heads and avoid discussing controversial issues for all to hear. Ducking a head is very telling. It appears to many, some leaders have something to hide as they refuse to engage. Schilling fills a need, as he definitely keeps city and county government in check. Looking forward to a longer and better time slot…..

  • Sville Eye January 22nd, 2009 | 12:22 pm

    BRAVO!! I will turn my radio back on.

  • SON OF LBERTY January 22nd, 2009 | 12:43 pm

    A very Happy day indeed !! And to Elux Troxl and Ouch I suggest you listen to this wise person as you MIGHT learn something. Then again your minds are probably closed and out of business !

  • Outskirts Guy January 22nd, 2009 | 2:58 pm

    Love “the devil.” I suggest he grow his beard/mustache once again to keep the proper look.

    P.S. Does anyone even listen to local radio? I think I did in the 80’s. What a fine decade.

  • Peter Johnson January 22nd, 2009 | 3:16 pm

    Schilling belongs on the radio.
    Elux needs to chill. How’s that for a platitude!

  • Butch Magnum January 22nd, 2009 | 3:45 pm

    The FREE MARKET has spoken…we got Rob back!

  • joseba January 23rd, 2009 | 9:38 am

    why was this guy cut in the 1st place? if his show was only 1 hour before, the guy was working 5-10 hours a week with prep. how much could that have cost? not much.

    sounds like he was gone for reason other than money and was brought back for reasons other than money. cutting a guy who works 10 hours a week wont cure anyone’s balance sheet.

  • plop January 23rd, 2009 | 10:09 am

    joseba, Good question here. Seems they were getting a lot for the money with Schilling. My guess, there were decisions made beyond or outside of Charlottesville, as Linda said. I must wonder if some of the “head ducker” politicians put pressure to have Rob removed. The funny thing, Rob is a genius in asking the right questions and then expecting an answer. Some were hesitant to go on a show because they knew Schilling would ask them to answer up. The way I see it, as any politician refused Schilling’s invitation, they certainly made themselves look ridiculous in the eyes of the public. At one point, Albemarle’s Slutsky ignored a request to share his views on the local airwaves. Did he ever attend Schilling’s show? If not, why? What was Slutsky afraid of? The public expects our leaders to come forward to debate the issues.

  • Lonnie January 23rd, 2009 | 1:22 pm

    I’ve never been a fan of Schillings viewpoints (and he’s even attacked me on his show before).

    Nonetheless, I’m glad his show is back. He may be a right wing conservative, but he’s our right wing conservative. He voices viewpoints on local issues which might go unspoken otherwise, even though a significant number of people share them.

    More than I believe in my own political slant, I believe in honest dialogue, and we just can’t have that here without openly expressed conservative voices in our community like Rob’s.

  • Look at it this way January 23rd, 2009 | 1:41 pm

    Those of the liberal persuasion should be happy to have Rob back on the air because he comes across as such a whiny empty-headed diva that he’s only bound to accelerate the increasing irrelevance of right-wingers in Chville-Albemarle.

  • observation January 23rd, 2009 | 7:48 pm

    look at it this way or have it your way too, BUT, the people have spoken. Many don’t see Schilling as a right winger. He invites people of varying opinions on his show and he is always civil. The problem with some politicians, they are weak in defending certain viewpoints and as a result, they refuse to go on the show. As a member of the public, I can’t understand this. Why be wimpy dudes?
    I think you are incorrect in predicting a circumstance of “irrelevance” or failure. Schilling has been awarded a huge boost, as the public has called for such. Look at it this way, Schilling comes across much smarter than some of the libs you speak of. That is a big reason they refuse to engage with him! Schilling is clearly winning. Some of the local libs had better consider going on the show if they desire to advance in politics.

  • plop January 23rd, 2009 | 8:00 pm

    I can’t imagine any currently serving on city council or any currently serving on the BOS being awarded a contract by WINA or ANY station to host a talk show. Sorry, but you must have “the gift” and “talent” to draw in an audience. Schilling has the brain AND the talent. My advice to libs, smile and get over it, or maybe stop duckin head and go on the show!

  • D-mocracy January 26th, 2009 | 2:48 pm

    For all those who claim they love conservative talk shows, maybe Schilling will take some of that 2-hour radio time to:
    (1) discuss how the “market” he trusts has turned sour and brought on the current financial and credit calamity,
    (2) explain how conservatives like Reagan, Bush I and Bush II effectively increased the total national debt twelve-fold (from less than $1 trillion in 1980 to what will soon be $12 trillion),
    (3) present the truth (sorry Albemarle Untruth in Taxation Alliance) about the relative local, state and national tax burdens, and
    (4) hypothesize as to what makes conservatives believe in so many things that have little if any evidential base (WMD, Iraq was behind 9/11, creationism, tax cuts cause economic growth, government doesn’t work, etc.)

  • Well, no January 26th, 2009 | 3:01 pm

    Sorry plop, Shilling may be a good talker. But a brain? Debatable. And he’s shrill. Unlistenable. Onesided. Boorish. Boring. And, yes, wholly irrelevant. Next topic.

  • Never Went to a Game January 27th, 2009 | 11:28 am

    Hi there:
    1. The “market” caved to folks like Barney Frank (and Bush acquiesced) to such brilliant schemes as “home ownership for everyone.” Also, credit calamity woes fall on many shoulders: please remember that “predatory lending” needs a borrower at the other end.
    2. History has shown that–with a modicum of regulation–industries (especially small businesses) will spend much of their tax relief back into their businesses. I seem to remember that Reagan and Bush brought us from Jimmy Carter economy (where, by the way, one of the then big four auto makers died) into economic growth. This trickle down theory worked.
    3. If you want to decrease local and state tax burdens, I can do that easily: a) Tell Tim Kaine not to worry about my Pre-K kid; it is not the state’s business what I do with my 4 year-old. b) Tell Albemarle County to stop paying county spokesgirls and to eliminate other wasteful positions. c) Allow school vouchers to make our tax money work for us. d) Gee, novel idea: let us have teachers use Saturdays to conduct in-service training instead of wasting a child’s school day (which forces parents to hire babysitters at a cost or stay at home themselves on an unpaid day). Jeepers, so many way to spend tax money more intelligently.
    4. Goodness gracious…where do I start with the evidentiary explanation. WMDs: almost all intelligence (UK, CIA, even Saddam himself) said they were present; no one ever said Iraq “was behind” 9/11. (Hey, if your man had done his job in the 1990s, we likely would not have had a 9/11.). Creationism: I am not getting into that debate; too murky. Tax cuts cause economic growth: does it not make sense that if you put more money into people’s hands (not the state’s hands), it will cause economic growth? Seems logical to me–the debate between the Libs and Cons is more about in whose hands the money does the most good.

    Finally, government doesn’t work…come on D-moc. Please do not float that. Okay, go to the DMV anytime…go to the post office anytime…look at government proposals and their costs then follow how those costs balloon before the project even begins…look at Social Security…look at health care in Canada and Britain…look at David Slutzky. Anyone who is not for tiny, miniscule government is more likely suited for France or Spain.

    D, your wish is to kill the market, then let everyone live in a “fair” world with no consequences for bad actions, decisions, etc. While I am disgusted by the actions of these large companies (Lehman, Bear Stearns, etc.) and their management, saying that big business is evil and corrupt across the board is like saying government is evil and corrupt across the board because of people like Blagojevich, Clinton, Nixon, Clinton, Emanuel, McAullife, Weinberger, Slutzky, etc. Your points are off kilter but–in this evolved community that seeks to coexist–typical.

  • The Schilling Show Blog January 27th, 2009 | 10:17 pm

    [...] He’s baaaccck: WINA rehires Schilling (The Hook, January 21, 2009) [...]

  • plop January 28th, 2009 | 8:40 pm

    Schilling is SMART and he is doing a GREAT job!!!!!!! We’re listening… :-)))))))))))))))))))))))

  • D-mocracy January 29th, 2009 | 2:36 pm


    Never Went to a Game makes the same strange, off-base and erroneous arguments that conservatives make time and time again.

    1. The “market” didn’t cave to Barney Frank (homophobic, are you?). Please. Immediately after the maintream press begain runing articles on the financial credit crisis, conservatives begain blaimng their favorite whipping boy, Bill Clinton. This time they cited the Community Reinvestment Act of 1993…..yet, every study on that act, from the Federal Reserve to independent economists, said it had nothing to do with the subprime mortgage crisis.

    2. The trickle down theory didn’t work (read The Politics of Rich and Poor, by Kevin Phhillips, for example). The rich got rich, the poor got poorer, and the middle class stagnated. The perverseness of those lost years is that the rich were given huge tax cuts that many turned around and loaned to the Reagan-Bush free-spending government. And that had to get paid back, with tax-free interest.
    Hey Game, do you deny the huge budget deficts of that era and the pilinlg up of the national debt?

    3. Maybe you should have forwarded some of your brilliant tax-saving schemes to the Bush presidency over the last 8 years. Not invading Iraq would have been a pretty smart tax saver.

    4. The intel of WMD was staged. Dissent was squashed. The Post printed a story in March ‘03 detailing just how many weapons Saddam had disarmend himself of….under U.N. verification. Read the (/11 Commission report…..reading through the lines it is clear where the finger is pointed. Moreover, how does a president get an intelligence briefing (PDB, August 6, 2001) titled “bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.” with specific references to specific cities and not take any action?? How?

    5. Game, If government doesn’t work, then why is everybody (except the hard-cores) expecting government to fix the current crisis (caused by greed, broken markets, and a president that deregulated like crazy). Should the goverment have let the big brokerages and big banks fail and bring down the U.S. economy?

    And what is murky about creationsim? Even a conservative Supreme Court in 1987 (Edwards v. Aguillard) said it was religion masquerading as science.

    Wall Street is corrupt. It has been for a long time. It requires regulation. Corporations used to pay a reasonable share of the total tax bill….not any m ore. The really big players avoid taxes, they ship jobs to China (or elsewhere) and they vote in favor of the kinds of conservative policies that let them run free, and that caused the current mess.

    In August of 1993, Clinton got a defict reduction plan through Congress. It cut spending, it increased taxes (mostly on the wealthiest Americans) and it cut some spending. Republicans howled it would destroy the economy and cost millions of jobs. Not a single one voted for it. But the U.S. went on the longest sustained period of economic growth in the history of the country (look it up). More than 23 million jobs were created (compare that to Bush). The budget was balanced. Surpluses were passed on to the next president who promptly squandered them.

    One of the provisions of the current stimuls bill is to use American-made steel for bridges, buildings etc. American steel companies are at 43% of capacity, so this likely creates jobs. So why is the U.S.Chamber of Commerce and the Business Roundtable oppopsed to it? Those guys will probably blame the public schools.




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