Thursday, November 30, 2006

Clear Channel Axe Chops in Cincinnati - And Columbus

UPDATE 11/30/06 4:35 PM - We have learned of more people being let go from Clear Channel's Columbus cluster. Scroll down for more...


It had to happen eventually, with Clear Channel cluster after cluster dumping people to save money.

AllAccess reports that the company's axe has now swung in Cincinnati and Columbus.

In Cincinnati, the trade site reports "at least" 15 people were let go in the downsizing yesterday, including from various stations:

* Hot AC WVMX/94.1 "Mix 94.1" - local morning host/producer for Whoopi Goldberg's show, Mike Stevens (who used to host the shift live and local until Whoopi showed up), and afternoon host "Madison".

* Top 40 WKFS/107.1 "Kiss FM" - midday personality Storm Bennett, and promotions assistant/part-time talent Mark Stone.

* Rock WEBN/102.7 - midday personality Wendy Walker, and promotions coordinator Steve Dent.

* And commercial production staffer Shaun Schaefer and engineer Andrew Costa are reported to be out of work as well.

Up I-71 in Columbus, AllAccess also notes that Danny Wright is out of a job at the Clear Channel cluster there, also due to budget considerations.

No, not THAT Danny Wright, the former WGAR/WGCL/etc. personality (and OMW reader) who now hosts the Jones Radio overnight country show "Wright All Night".

The Columbus Danny was, until now, APD and creative services director at CC's top 40 powerhouse, WNCI/97.9.

UPDATE: We have some more names out of Columbus thanks to an OMW source there, fine folks who are hitting the unemployment lines at a rather unfortunate time of year:

* News/talk WTVN/610 lost a bunch of people, including evening news anchor Stuart Osborne and news editor George Zonders.

Both names should be familiar to Northern Ohioans. Osborne used to do news anchoring via WAN for CC sister news/talk outlet WSPD/1370 Toledo, and both Zonders and Osborne have been heard doing reports from Columbus for CC sister talker WTAM/1100 in Cleveland.

We're told that WTVN also let go production director Scott Kahler, and midday producer Lindsay Guhl.

UPDATE 12/2/06 10:09 AM: In the interests of accuracy, one name has been removed from this item for the moment. We're checking it out.

As per usual, this is a good list for those looking for talented staff who are only out of work because their company is cutting budgets to the bone, in preparation for a buyout.

With all the other recent changes in the Cincinnati market, maybe these folks can land somewhere within new stations run by Entercom and Cumulus...


Anonymous said...

Wow too bad for WTVN, especially Kahler who had been with the station for a bazillion years. I will always remember former WTVN host from the 70's Bill Smith idolizing Kahler and his production work. I understand Smith is now Production man at WRKO in Beantwon

Anonymous said...

This must be a scary time for Rock 107 and JER-FM employees who are making the move to CC in the near future....How many will make the cut?

Ohio Media Watch said...

Though we could be wrong...

We've never had any indication from all the noise coming out of the WRQK thing that they were planning on making any wholesale changes to the station, or even retail. (Hah!)

We'll note, though, that the recent wave of CC mass layoffs may change everything. Or, they may not. Time will tell.

For now, we believe everything is still "status quo", unless we hear otherwise.

WJER-FM is not an issue here. The existing staff, what's left of it, will stay in Dover and broadcast on AM 1450, as they are now, with Mr. Petricola as their boss (and once again owner, when he buys it back).

As far as I know, no WJER-FM employee is going to end up moving to Clear Channel.

Even WJER-FM morning man Bill Morgan, who's heard regularly on CC's WARF/1350 now, is working for the University of Akron and their Zips/ISP Sports Network, not CC. He has nothing to do with, as far as we know, whatever the future programming will be for 101.7 when it moves north.

The break away of 101.7, at this point, will be the mere loss of one frequency out of two. Oh, of course, and a lot of coverage...


Anonymous said...

Wonder if Cleveland is next. I would think it is ripe to clean the closet of some of the old clutter. Time for a change, get rid of the old high paid curmudgeons like Lannigan,Triv and get some fresh TALENT (not the like of Bob Frantz who is just a Triv/Rush wannabe).

Ohio Media Watch said...

Well, there's a problem with your scenario.

Those "older, highly-paid curmudgeons" make boatloads of cash for Clear Channel.

If you've been paying attention to the national layoff picture - Radio & Records actually has a listing of all the CC layoff stories in the past month or two - you'll notice that you never see names like that on the list.

They make money.

You'll see veterans, you'll see well-regarded people, but you generally won't see the "stars" like Lanigan, Triv, et al.

As far as Lanigan goes, he's in that chair at WMJI until he retires, period. He's one of the very few local broadcasters who have that status. (Joe Tait is another one, as is Channel 8's Dick Goddard.)

And...we haven't listened to Lanigan in roughly 2 years. (That's not his fault - we're generally allergic to morning drive.)


Anonymous said...

It appears Clear Channel won't stop until their entire company is reduced to rookies. The ouster of Osbourne and Zonders from WTVN News may just be the beginning of the end of what has always been a great news operation. Somebody ought to dismiss the Mays family also.

Anonymous said...

That is an awful shame about Kahler - and Zonders as well. They are both seasoned professionals. Maybe that's why CC canned them.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you used "stars" in quotes. Stars have a tendency to burn out over time. Case in point with the two you mentioned. Are you insinuating that CC wouldn't get rid of these overpaid people??? Their strategy is to make it so unbearable that they don't want to stay. You don't think that Triv/Lannigan are getting closer & closer to leaving... don't kid yourself.

Anonymous said...

These corporate goliaths destroyed creative, local radio. Now you listen to the same play lists no matter what part of the country you live in. The Columbus am station sounds just like the Cleveland am radio. They've oversold spots so that talk radio is only about 15-20 minutes out of the entire hour. They wonder why the listening audience is diminishing and why CC has to sell their stations because they can't bring in the revenue to cover the enormous debt they took on purchasing their empire.

Anonymous said...

As one of the very first veteran CC staffers let go in the first "consolidation purge" in 2001, I feel badly, not only for the people axed, but for radio and what CC has done to it. Been there...

When the dust settles years from now, broadcast historians will sadly lament that this company was directly responsible for killing a once-thriving medium.

Anonymous said...

Hey OMW..You had 93.3 FMs PD Steve Cherry listed as one of the cuts in Columbus. Why is it no longer in the blog? Was your initial story you published incorrect? Curious.

Ohio Media Watch said...

Mr. Cherry was on the list we received from our initial source, who stands by the list. But at least one or two folks are asking "are you sure?", so we pulled his name pending some verification from more sources.

-The Management

Anonymous said...

You can put Steve Cherry back on your list. He's out too. Is his wife axed too?