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Rick Redding: Mandy Connell moves on

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mod-mandy_connellAfter three years, Mandy Connell is leaving her job as the morning talk show host at WHAS Radio to work early mornings (5 a.m.  to 9 a.m.) at KHOW Radio in Denver.

Connell joins a talk radio station that airs conservative hosts including Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity.

“When I came here, I said there were only two reasons I’d ever leave,” she said, after the announcement was made on her station Wednesday. “If I get a big ole pile of money or if I get a chance to move to Denver.”

A native of Florida, Connell’s affinity for the Mountain West comes from her husband, who retired from the Army at Ft. Collins before the couple met and married in Florida. She came to Louisville three years ago, taking over after the tragic death of her predecessor Francene Cuccinello.

“WHAS is a powerhouse anyway. I didn’t reinvent the wheel, I just had to not suck,” she said of her tenure in Louisville. “There are wonderful people here, and it’s the most beautiful place to be in the spring.”

Her new station, like WHAS, is owned by Clear Channel Communications, based in San Antonio, and for die-hard fans, her show will still be available online at iHeartRadio. She said the process of moving from one Clear Channel station to another was done with the knowledge and support of her bosses here, including Operations Director Kelly Carls.

Connell asked me to appear on her show once, though I can’t remember the topic. While I disagreed with her politics, I always thought she was knowledgeable and aware what her audience wanted to hear. That audience seemed to be older white males who like to bash President Barack Obama. In addition to her daily show, she updated her blog every day.

My main criticism of her show was that although it was billed as a local show, she focused a large percentage of her airtime on national issues – especially those hot button ones that got her audience fired up, like immigration and gun rights. And the perceived shortcomings of the President.

She’s also a tough interviewer, and seemed to relish opportunities to spar with Third District Congressman John Yarmuth, a frequent guest whose positions on most issues were the polar opposite of her own.

Connell told me that Carls, director of operations at the local Clear Channel operation, was “trying to figure out who’s next” in the job, that he’d been aware of her impending departure for a while.

Her last day on the air in Louisville will be August 9.

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