The big clash between John Laws and Charles Wooley has taken an interesting turn as the Laws camp fights back against the 60 Minutes interloper.

Macquarie
Regional Radioworks (MRR) announced last month that veteran TV reporter
Charles Wooley would front its own morning talkback program on 39 of
its stations. Under the deal, Laws was set to lose nearly a third of
his total syndicated reach with 19 Macquarie-owned regional stations
dumping his show for Wooley’s Across Australia.

But on
the same day that Macquarie announced its new program, the syndication
arm of Southern Cross Broadcasting which handles distribution of the
John Laws show, swung into action. Its first targets were local markets
with at least two or three players where the Laws program was being
dumped.

“So far we have got seven stations that have committed
to broadcasting the (Laws) program and we are hopeful of another 15,”
Southern Cross Syndication’s general manager Bill Barrington told
Crikey. “I’m not really that surprised. We’ve got the best program on
Australian radio.”

Interestingly, Barrington also revealed that
the seven stations he had already signed comprised five stations that
would be in direct competition with Wooley and two new signings outside
areas that used to receive the Laws show.

He said it was
“realistic” to expect commitments to be made by the other 15 stations
in the coming weeks. If the Laws program pulls that off then it will
find itself competing with a new rival while at the same time
unexpectedly enjoying a strengthened regional presence.

MRR’s
national sales manager/strategist Daryl Mitchell wouldn’t comment on
the number of complaints about Laws going off air but said stations
that were taking the John Laws program but will now be taking the
Charles Wooley program have a potential audience of 1,568,378