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Posted on Mon, Aug 10, 2009 : 6:29 p.m.

Andy Evans leaves WTKA mornings; Ira Weintraub takes over Monday

By James Briggs

Radio hosts don’t often get to say goodbye to their listeners, but Andy Evans is getting a rare week-long signoff.

Evans, host of Michigan Insider, the morning-drive show on WTKA (AM-1050), will host his last show Friday. Sam Webb, Evans’ partner for the last two years, will remain in the morning slot and co-host Michigan Insider with Ira Weintraub, who takes over Monday.

Evans, who lives in Toledo with his family, said he is moving onto a new career, but declined to offer specifics. Evans still might occasionally appear on air for WTKA, but he said nothing formal has been arranged. A message left for WTKA program director Brian Cowan wasn’t immediately returned.

“It’s a grind,” Evans said. “I’ve been in radio nine years, and I decided I’m young, and now’s the time to make the switch.”

Evans joined Webb in August 2007, a little more than three months after Cumulus Media Inc.-owned WTKA fired Dave Shand. Michigan Insider got off to a rocky start, Webb said, but found its niche once Evans joined the program.

“All I wanted was the chance of being good, and I really thought once he came on, we had that,” Webb said.

Ratings are difficult to determine, especially because of the overlap between Detroit and Ann Arbor markets, as well as the shaky Arbitron system, but Evans said he and Webb stopped worrying about them.

“Our boss never really told us the ratings,” Evans said. “But when we went on location, it was amazing how many people told us they were listening to the show. I know people were listening, and we just had fun together.”

Weintraub, who attended the University of Michigan before earning a journalism degree from the University of Maryland, has filled in as a WTKA host for more than a year. Before coming to Ann Arbor, Weintraub was a producer for the John Thompson Show on WTEM in Washington, and a producer and Web editor for Redskins Radio.

Weintraub will fill a role similar to Evans, providing radio experience that balances Webb’s opinions.

“I think we’re going to continue what Andy was doing,” Weintraub said. “I’ll bring some different things from my background, but I don’t want to change too much.”

As both a Michigan supporter and journalism graduate, Weintraub said he’ll be walking a thin line of objectivity.

“I’m a big Michigan fan, but I also went to journalism school,” Weintraub said. “I’m excited when they win, but if they aren’t doing something right, I’m not gonna be afraid to speak my mind about it.”

In addition to the morning show, Weintraub also will assume Evans' other duties, hosting Countdown to Kickoff and the Red Berenson Show.

“I think he’ll bring to the table a lot of the same things Andy did,” Webb said. “He’s had some extensive contacts in sports, he has knowledge of Michigan, and I think he’ll bring hockey expertise that’s really important to our show.”


Ravella Ryder

Fri, Sep 11, 2009 : 7:39 p.m.

I really like the show now, as do many of my friends. Ira has a great radio presence and sounds like he is having a good time, too. Welcome to Ann Arbor sports radio, Ira!


Mon, Sep 7, 2009 : 11:50 p.m.

Agree with SonofScoot. That show is unlistenable now.

Pete Bigelow

Tue, Aug 11, 2009 : 8:54 a.m.

A comment has been removed from this story because it was off-topic.


Tue, Aug 11, 2009 : 6:39 a.m.

Andy did a nice job of bringing some balance to the show. Now with Winetraub every Michigan slappy can tune in and hear nothing negative about Michigan and everything will be sugar coated....... Good luck to Andy