It’s been just over a week since Bob Lacey and Sheri Lynch signed off of the radio in Charlotte.
But their absence from the local airwaves will be short-lived: A little more than a week from now, the duo behind one of the city’s most renowned morning shows will be back on the air here.
Last week, they signed a multiyear deal with Beasley Media Group that will bring “Bob & Sheri” — the nationally syndicated program that was dropped at the end of last month by its longtime home station, 107.9 WLNK-FM — a few clicks down the dial to their new home: K 104.7 (WKQC-FM).
Lynch told the Observer that she and Lacey will make a guest appearance on K 104.7’s current morning show, “Phil & Mel In The Morning,” at 8:25 on Monday to announce the news to listeners.
The tentative date for “Bob & Sheri’s” debut on K 104.7 is Monday, May 17.
“They were really motivated, wanted to move fast and we had no reason to slow it down,” Lynch said. “We came to a deal that we all loved really quickly, and the best part of it was ... Beasley is not cutting (anyone). There’s no head-count change. They’re keeping all of their employees, which we love.”
Once “Bob & Sheri” starts airing on K 104.7, “Phil & Mel” will move to the afternoon time slot, while Jack Daniel will move from afternoons to middays. At that point, Melany Myers — who has been working middays on her own after finishing up mornings with Phil Harris — will scale back to just doing the afternoon show with Harris.
“When we heard that (‘Bob & Sheri’ and WLNK) were separating, we were on it right away,” said Bill Schoening, vice president/market manager at Beasley Broadcast Group. “It’s a privilege to have such an iconic talent join our station, and the Beasley Media Group.”
Schoening added that Harris and Myers “are all on-board with the whole move and, matter of fact, recommended it.”
‘Bob & Sheri’ fans unload on The Link
“Bob & Sheri” had been on WLNK since the duo came together for the first time more than 29 years ago.
This spring, however, the station’s new owner — Urban One — has been re-shifting its priorities. It recently changed the station’s nickname from “The Link” to “Mix 107.9,” put more emphasis back on music, and moved afternoon show “Matt & Ramona” to the morning. Urban One only was able to do that after announcing the end of its relationship with “Bob & Sheri” on April 30, a surprise that came as a significant blow to the show’s fans in the Charlotte area.
And those fans blew back.
Said one in a Facebook review of WLNK: “I would not recommend this radio station. They are letting go of Bob and Sheri, radio hosts that I’ve been listening to since I was a kid. ... As of April 30, I will turn my dial elsewhere.”
Another reviewer posted: “They made my mornings so wonderful. ... They will be a loss to you and how sad you don’t know that. No worry as they will be in big demand.”
Someone even started a petition to get them back on the air at WLNK. “Although the likelihood of 107.9 The Link changing their mind is nill (sic),” the person who started the petition wrote, “I think they need to see a great number of people show their displeasure at the decision they made.” More than 1,300 signatures were collected.
Contrary to popular belief, Lacey, 71, and Lynch, 55, were not employees of WLNK. They were — for a quarter of a century. But in 2017 they co-founded a company with Tony Garcia (their longtime head of affiliate relations) called Now! Media and took independent ownership of the show, wresting control of it from the station, then owned by Entercom.
At the time, “Bob & Sheri” aired on 41 affiliate stations across the country. That number had swelled to 70 before WLNK’s decision bumped it down to 69.
The pickup by K 104.7 makes it 70 again.
“An important thing about our business these days is, it’s really at the end of the day it’s about talent,” Schoening said, elaborating on Beasley’s rationale for wanting to pick up Lacey and Lynch. “Anybody can play music. But to have the talent with it is essential, in my opinion.”
“I mean, it’s just a really good fit,” Lynch added. “It’s a better fit for us formatically.”
What makes Charlotte important
Since going off the air in Charlotte two Fridays ago, Lynch said, “our digital streaming numbers and our podcast engagement numbers just went through the roof.”
“We have some affiliate partners that are gonna spike, too, because we had listeners in Charlotte telling other listeners in Charlotte how to, like, get Alexa to play our affiliate in Columbia, or our affiliate in Fayetteville. So I can’t wait to see if they had a sizable spike in their streams, too,” she added. “It’s just — man, it’s a different world.”
At the same time, Lynch had said from the moment she found out WLNK was dropping they would be actively looking at other options in the Charlotte market.
“It’s important from a morale standpoint,” Garcia said, “because you want to be heard at home. It’d be one thing if the show started in Charlotte and then the two moved. ... But the fact is, you’re gonna run into Sheri at the Harris Teeter. You’re gonna run into Bob at a restaurant. So it’s important to continue to be available via the radio — via over-the-air radio — to the audience in the home market.
“While the business could survive without Charlotte, without a problem,” he said, “you want to be on at home.”
Garcia declined to share the terms of the deal but said it should keep K 104.7 locked up as an affiliate for multiple years.
As for the tentative May 17 start date, Lynch said the only reason it should be thought of for now as tentative is because there are still a few issues to be worked out on the engineering side of things on the station’s end.
Presently, Lynch, Lacey and their staff are still producing and broadcasting from home, which they’ve been doing since the pandemic started worsening last year. Eventually, though, Lynch said they hope to be able to do the show from Beasley’s South End building (which is also home to “V101.9” WBAV-FM, Fox Sports Charlotte WBCN-FM, “Kiss 95.1” WNKS-FM, “Power 98” WPEG-FM, and “Country 103.7” WSOC-FM.)
“That’s something that we want to look at,” Lynch said. “The reason that I can’t say definitively ‘yes’ is our old studio at WLNK had been built and designed for us, for what we do, and the way we deliver and pull in content. So before I can say to you definitively we’re going to K’s studios, I need to talk with our engineers and make sure that’s even a possibility.
“But my director Max is chomping at the bit because he’s in a windowless room with two crazy schnauzers. He would do the show from the men’s room at a truck stop just for a change of scenery. So we’ve talked about this internally. If we can figure it out and make it work without having to invest in a ton of gear, then yeah.
“At least part of the time, I want to get out of the house.”