If you’re a listener to the Breakfast Club on 98.1 WOGL, you’ve probably noticed the recent absence of co-host Bill Zimpfer.
That’s because the polka-playing Zimpfer wasn't kept on staff after his contract expired March 31.
“I would have loved to stay at WOGL, and finish my career there,” said Zimpfer, who started with the station in 1994 doing sports for Philadelphia radio legend Don Cannon. “It's a shame they didn't feel the same way.”
Zimpfer’s employment situation was a bit complex. He appeared on WOGL through a contract with iHeartMedia, whose contract with CBS ended on March 31. According to Zimpfer, management at WOGL assured him they would hire him on staff months before the station’s contract with iHeartMedia expired, noting that iHeartMedia took the unusual step of waiving his non-compete clause so he could take the job.
“In the end, CBS offered up only a ‘take it or leave it’ deal that could have cost me tens of thousands of dollars,” Zimpfer said. “I told them I haven't been working 40 years in radio to start giving things back, and decided to keep working under my iHeartMedia contract.”
Zimpfer decided to stick with iHeartMedia, which has added him to its NBC-affiliated news network, where he works as a news correspondent and anchor. He is also used as a special guest, regularly going on 15 to 20 stations nationwide a morning to discuss the day’s top stories.
“This week, I'll be used as a guest NFL draft correspondent,” Zimpfer said. "You never know... 'Knucklehead News' and the polka challenge could soon be nationwide."
A WOGL spokeswoman said there were no plans to replace Zimpfer, and the Breakfast Club would continue to be hosted by Marilyn Russell and Frank Lewis.
Zimpfer isn’t the only Breakfast Club host to have recently left WOGL. In late December, longtime host Valerie Knight announced on Twitter that the company cut her loose after a nearly 15-year career with the station.
Shortly after Knight announced her departure, that station announced it had hired Russell as a new co-host for Breakfast Club. Russell, whose career in Philadelphia radio dates back to 1993 at WDRE-FM (103.9), had previously hosted Morning with Marilyn on 97.7 BEN-FM before being laid off by parent company Greater Media, Inc.
CBS, WOGL’s parent company, disclosed plans back in February to merge its radio division with Philadelphia-based Entercom Communications, combining to create the nation’s second-largest group of radio stations with 244 stations and $1.7 billion a year in revenue. That trails only iHeartMedia, which currently owns 862 stations and takes in $1.7 billion a year in revenue.
In addition to WOGL, CBS owns Philadelphia stations KYW Newsradio 1060, Sportsradio 94.1 WIP, 1210 AM WPHT (talk), 92.5 XTU (country) and WTFY Today's 96.5 (Top 40).