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Just Who Is This Fancy New WHAS Radio Lady?

March 5th, 2010 by jake · 15 Comments

There’s plenty of, to be honest, panic in media circles this week over the announcement of Mandy Connell’s new role at 84WHAS. Connell, a longtime morning show host in Florida, will be taking the helm of our beloved Francene Cucinello’s old home on the radio.

While definitely conservative (she describes herself as “recovering dirty-foot-hippie-liberal”), I’m not quite sure why everybody is freaking out over her new role.

Here’s why: More than 130 applications were reviewed and dozens of talented radio honchos were interviewed for the job. She’s been at this thing for 14 years. She’s a quick study, if you listen to any of her archived programming, and is no stranger to dealing with government buttcramps and people like me with egos the size of Red China. And it doesn’t hurt that she’s got a heart.

According to WHAS Operations Manager Kelly Carls, “Mandy really stood out for her energy, enthusiasm and dedication to giving listeners an interesting, informative and engaging radio program. We believe she will really connect with the 84WHAS audience.” Which is precisely how she should be judged– by how she’s able to connect with her entire audience, not just the right-wing. And we’ve gotta stop comparing her to Francene. Because that’s setting the bar just a little too high, to say the least.

Here’s what Connell had to say about her new job, “To say that I am excited is a massive understatement. Not only do I get to join a heritage radio station like 84WHAS, I get to live in Louisville, which has more amazing restaurants than I dreamed possible. I couldn’t ask for a better new home! I can’t wait to dig in, metaphorically and literally.” Little does she know, she’ll have to REALLY dig in the next time there’s an ice storm, otherwise she’s likely to be trapped in her home for seven or eight months.

So, if I can give her a chance to show her true colors and talent, why can’t the rest of you? Let’s give her a break.

Now for the interesting and unprofessional stuff: I zoomed in on her high-res headshot and it appears that she is a fan of the gays (good mark)… because a gay clearly did her makeup.

She loves our dumbest president in history, Dubya, and his brother, Jeb:

And like I mentioned above, she’s got a good heart. She and her husband founded Cigars for Soldiers, an organization that gives back to our military personnel. Aside from the auto-playing music on the charity’s website that caused me indigestion, the organization has done a lot of good by needed relief and comfort to thousands of soliders– and not just by giving them cigars.

Unlike some unethical “journalists” (including those who think no one else knows they’re on the take) who are quick to attack, I’m not tossing her to the wolves just yet. Let’s see how she handles the job before we start throwing stones. There will be plenty of time for that in a few months.

Tags: Clear Channel · Francene · Gays · Hype · Media · Radio · WHAS

15 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Todd // Mar 5, 2010 at 12:08 pm

    Restaurant owners ought to be excited that she’s coming to town.

  • 2 Steve Magruder (I, not D or R) // Mar 5, 2010 at 12:33 pm

    I’m not freaking not. But to use a corollary from the Internet, she’s a node that should be considered ‘out’ and routed around. The simple reason for this is that the idea of some of out-of-town winger talking to us about Louisville matters is unacceptable. Perhaps after a decade of her getting a full understanding of the city and how it works, and demonstrating her commitment to citizenship in this city, I’ll give her a listen.

  • 3 Absolutely Disgusted // Mar 5, 2010 at 1:27 pm

    Should have been Joe, hands down without a doubt!

  • 4 Greg // Mar 5, 2010 at 3:56 pm

    Panic in media circles? From whom? Over what?

    You open your piece with the line about panic in media circles. Gee, I work in local media and am failing to see the panic.

    If someone thinks that Joe got passed over unjustly, “panic” is a very poor adjective. One gets angry when a friend gets screwed over. Or one gets bewildered, or stunned, or perplexed, or confused. One does not panic.

    But in this case, my little corner of the competing media world watches on with a shrug. I’m sure she’ll be great. I doubt that she’ll pull in larger numbers than Ziegler or Francene did. (Neither of whom were from Louisville- complainers take note.)

    Being conservative, I’m sure I’ll like her more than I liked Francene. And that’s that.

    Panic? Over what?

  • 5 Bob Johnson // Mar 5, 2010 at 4:23 pm

    That Ain’t makeup, that’s Photoshop… and a little overdone at that.

  • 6 jake // Mar 5, 2010 at 5:04 pm

    Yes, panic in media circles. It’s the hot topic of conversation. And tons of folks have been privately losing their shit with me– like I have any sway. ha.

    I’m not sure I said people were panicky over Joe not getting picked?

    People are panicky over her being right-wing, which I think is unwarranted, as I tried to make clear in the piece.

    (And it is, indeed, makeup. I have the gigantic original and zoomed in…)

  • 7 Greg // Mar 5, 2010 at 7:25 pm

    Oh, well if that’s what their panic attack is about, aren’t they 20 years too late? They had Rush in the mid day and Savage at night, and they don’t panic until they lose the 9-noon shift?

    They probably wanted a conservative voice because Francene was moderate enough that the Laura Ingrahams and Mike Gallaghers of the other stations began to have an effect. If so, that’s just smart programming.

    Better for them to panic over why Kentuckiana prefers that kind of host.

  • 8 willy // Mar 5, 2010 at 9:38 pm

    Is Bush that short or is Connell tall? Nice Glamour shot

  • 9 jake // Mar 5, 2010 at 9:41 pm

    Her posture leads me to believe she’s wearing some sweet kicks with heels.

    If I was a proper gay (I’m sorry, I have failed you) I would be able to tell you what kind of shoes she’s wearing without being able to see them.

  • 10 Steve Magruder (I, not D or R) // Mar 5, 2010 at 10:42 pm

    My main complaint is that this historic moment for the city, WHAS84-ReichWingRadio (sing it — it has a nice ring) is hiring an out-of-towner to cover local issues.

    Francene was already acculturated to the city by the time of this mayoral campaign. I don’t believe that anyone on Earth could adjust to our local culture and issues in time to be of any value this year. And her being a winger only worsens this, as she will likely only come to many understandings through that odd prism, and thus would only throw non-worthwhile monkey wrenches into the process.

  • 11 KYGuy // Mar 6, 2010 at 12:46 am

    Her job is to provoke. Get people pissed. Divide and conquer. The marching orders come from Texas HQ. Our public airwaves are controlled by the Cordish’s of broadcasting. Don’t kiss up to these bandits.

  • 12 Donna Baker // Mar 6, 2010 at 2:20 am

    Mary Walters was really good. I think Sterling did not “want” the huge responsibility of filling Francene’s shoes and the listener’s expectations. Joe Elliot was always a favorite of mine; however, after hearing him in the midday spot…I saw clearly he was NOT the right fit. We will always hear Francene behind the chair now…whomever sits in it as Mandy is permanently or if she has an uderstudy or substitute. Francene was a new comer and sometimes that fact is forgotten. When someone comes to radio and a city with a desire to learn and take in the entire perspective…they do just that. Someone who is an “insider” usually brings their bias, and networks and buddies expectations and notions along with thiers to the studio everyday. That is not always best. Mandy will listen more intently now…she will comment more “cautiously” now..and she will do tons of updated research and mark it as unbiased as she can. Why will she do all that? So the Liberals don’t cast her towards the guillotine, and so the conservatives do not accidentally call her Ms. Palin. Allow the station to direct themselves in our behalf and give Mandy the Grace and Respect our grandfathers would have given her and the support our Grandmother’s would have hoped for her. Be a roughneck at the bar and a critical academic on the other side of the topic but let Mandy begin a really tough job and a pretty good City to work in. Donna Baker, Shelbyville, Kentucky. (Friend of Francene C. and former radio gal)

  • 13 Jack // Mar 8, 2010 at 3:18 pm

    I’ve listened to Mandy for several years while spending time in SW Fl and she is an exciting, intelligent personality. Yes, she’s conservative, but she is respectful and most of all fun to listen to. She will be a great addition to local media.

  • 14 Carter Burger // Mar 8, 2010 at 3:36 pm

    Steve, you comments are the funniest of all. Were you hoping that Clear Channel was going to put Randi Rhodes in that slot or something? It’s almost as if you think WHAS owes you something on their selection of the host of that time slot.

    I think everyone should be happy that they didn’t just plug in the satellite reciever for that time slot. Already have it hooked up for Rush, would have been very easy to just pull Beck’s show down for that slot.

    Steve’s head may have exploded on that one.

  • 15 James R. // Mar 9, 2010 at 8:52 am

    The only thing WHAS radio is good for anymore is Kentucky Basketball and Kentucky Football. The rest has no balance at all.