Clear Channel Makes Its Annual Layoff Blitz

Clear Channel 2012 Restruction In Force Cuts Layoffs Firings Tampa Orlando CincinnatiClear Channel has begun what has seemingly become its annual reduction-in-force cuts to its employees in many markets today, following murky details about its financial future.

Detroit market manager Nick Gnau summed up the cuts to the Detroit Free-Press as:

Taking advantage of the latest cutting-edge technology and organizational structure so we can continue to operate as effectively and efficiently as possible.

Like every successful business, our strategy continues to evolve. As we move forward as a company this creates some new jobs and unfortunately eliminates others. These are never easy decisions to make.

Among the confirmed departures:

Atlanta – Tim Michaels, middayer at Country “94.9 The Bull” WUBL (via @CountryAircheck) as is Regional Mexican “105.3 El Patron” WBZY Afternoon host Primo Mickey. reports that Joel Burke is out as PD of Country 98.1 KVET-FM and 100.7 KASE.

Chicago – Robert Feder reports that Glenn Cosby, night host at Urban AC “V103” WVAZ and Effie Rolfe APD/MD/Middays at Gospel 1390 WGRB were among the four on-air staffers and unknown amount of behind the scenes staffers let go.

Cincinnati – John Keisewetter of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports that Jay Gilbert, afternoon host at Rock 102.7 WEBN, producer Joel Moss, and CHR “Kiss 107” WKFS middayer Joey are out.

Cleveland – Kasper, APD/MD/Afternoon Host at CHR “96.5 Kiss-FM” WAKS is gone (via RAMP)

Columbus – PD/Middayer Johnboy Crenshaw is out at Country 92.3 WCOL (via @CountryAircheck). The bulk of the airstaff at “Oldies 93.3” WODC is out, including morning host Andy Clark, middayer Amy Donovan, and afternoon host Kevin Kirschner.

Dallas – Alternative “102.1 The Edge” KDGE PD/Middayer Josh Venable is out. Venable also voicetracked middays at KYSR Los Angeles. Also let go were Adrian Hummel and Michael Blake from CHR “106.1 Kiss-FM” KHKS.

Denver – Rock 106.7 KBPI Denver afternoon host Uncle Nasty announced his departure. Keefer, afternoon host and two others at AAA 97.3 KBCO were also dismissed.

Detroit – JAG, the midday host at CHR “Channel 95.5” WKQI tweeted that he was let go. FMQB adds the following Detroit names are also out: Eric Chase, PD/Afternoon host at Sports 1130 WDFN, Frankie Darcell afternoon host at Urban AC “Mix 92.3” WMXD, 106.7 WDTW APD/100.3 WNIC Afternoon Host Kristin Burns, AC “Fresh 100.3” WNIC morning show co-hosts Jenna Cork and Dan Watkins, and Classic Rock “106.7 The D” WDTW afternoon host Dave Dahmer.

Houston – The syndicated Walton & Johnson show is out at Classic Rock “93.7 The Arrow” KKRW along with local producer Josh Reno.

Los AngelesAllAccess reports that Stella Prado, PD of AC 103.5 KOST is out after 20 years at the station in various roles. Trevor Trent, Imaging Director and middayer at Alternative “98.7 FM” KYSR is gone as well.

Miami – Michael Yo is out of afternoons at CHR “Y100” WHYI as is Rich Minaya at News/Talk 610 WIOD.

Minneapolis – Former Minnesota Viking Mike Morris is out as co-host of the Sports “100.3 KFAN” KFXN-FM morning show as is MD/middayer Thorn at AAA “Cities 97” KTCZ.

Orlando – LT, who was just moved from mornings to nights at Rock 101.1 WJRR tweeted her departure. Midday producer Bull has been let go from Hot Talk “Real Radio 104.1” WTKS-FM, which made the announcement on-air. Also gone from 104.1 is Program Director Katherine Brown and a few other producers. At sister AC “Magic 107.7” WMGF Program Director/Afternoon Host Ken Payne has been let go.

Riverside – Market Manager Bob Ridzak and Rhythmic CHR 99.1 KGGI PD/Afternoon Host Jesse Duran have been dismissed.

Pittsburgh – Flick, APD/MD/Afternoon host at CHR “96.1 Kiss-FM“.

TampaNTSMediaOnline has confirmed that Steve Versnick, PD of Talk 970 WFLA and Sports 620 WDAE has been dismissed. APD/Middayer Ryan Nelson and Afternoon co-host Jenny Dean are out at Country “US 103.5” WFUS. Afternoon host Hannah’s Boy Stu departs Urban “95.7 The Beat” WBTP.

In addition to our list of people let go, other lists can be seen at AllAccess and FMQB.

Our best wishes go out to all dismissed today, and hopefully there won’t be word from many more markets.

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  1. Tara Kingsley says

    I am very sad to hear of all the departures, especially Mike Morris at KFAN in Minneapolis. Best to all those who have to look for other work.

  2. K.M. Richards says

    Clear Channel certainly has an interesting concept of what constitutes a Christmas present to their employees. Apparently if you get to keep your job, that’s your present.

  3. MattParker says

    “Taking advantage of the latest cutting-edge technology and organizational structure so we can continue to operate as effectively and efficiently as possible.”

    “Cutting edge technology:” Automation, satellite delivery, voice tracking. Radio stations become repeaters. All so Bain Channel Radio can pay the interest on their debt.

    “Successful business:” Anybody followed the company’s stock price. P/E ratios. For this guy to call CC “successful” is real chutzpah. Guys like him who are destroying radio keep their jobs and get bonuses. People who draw listeners get fired. As inevitable as all Christmas stunt formats.

  4. djnastyneil says

    I’m also really sad to hear of these departures, especially Flick from 96.1 Kiss since I’m from Pittsburgh. Good Luck to everyone who has to now look for work right before Christmas!

  5. Nathan Obral (@myronfalwell) says

    This can only get worse. Does anyone REALLY think Thomas Lee and Bain want to keep their hands on what is essentially a company with growth in seemingly everything BUT its’ core asset (radio)? No. They want to unload this turd, but are trapped by a mess of their own making.

    Problem is, no one outside of Cumulus or Townsquare are capable of buying stations. And any series of white knight broadcasters like Larry Wilson are in tax limbo hell, so their options are limited, even if they do exist.

    While Cumulus is “too big to fail”, CC is bound for a massive collapse. I hate to say it, but those let go today were probably lucky.

  6. DJ says

    Oddly enough, nobody from New York City – even with the addition of WOR to the cluster.

    Best wishes to all, especially Stu. I bet Hannah is PO’ed about that.

  7. scoobyfan1 says

    If Clear Channel does happen to have a massive collapse, I would hope the type of people who owned these stations in the 80s or 90s would buy a lot of them again.

    Hopefully to create some localization and some creativity in a time where there isn’t as far as radio goes.

    I mean you can use modern technology to do good things with radio, but so far it seems like the people at the top of these companies don’t understand how to balance modern technology with localism and creativity.

    1. Nathan Obral (@myronfalwell) says

      As wistful as that sounds, I don’t think anything of that sort will happen.

      WORST case scenario – and one I’ve heard often, from many reliable sources – is Comcast swooping down and buying CC outright upon its’ collapse. Now think about that. Think about such a massive concentration of media upon one company. But, you see, no one ever question Comcast’s 51% buyout of NBCUniversal…

      1. Lance Venta says

        I’ve seen that speculated upon by a couple of the same people over and over again, but what’s in it for Comcast? Local ad sales? In many markets they won’t have cross-platform sales. They’d have to spin stations in most of the markets where they own NBC/Telemundo stations. The concentration would also come upon extra scrutiny. Seems to be wishful thinking from a select few more than anything.

        1. Nathan Obral (@myronfalwell) says

          Such a merger is probably more a feeling of total doom than wishful thinking. Lord knows I think worst-case-scenario a lot, so it’s understandable. If Comcast/NBCUni **wanted** to get back into radio, they should just bail out Dial-Global, who has the distribution rights to virtually all NBC/CNBC/Weather Channel programming to begin with.

          The smaller CC markets should be sold back to local operators. But who knows how much that CC is asking for those clusters, if they are even doing so in the first place.

          It reminds me of Dean Goodman’s aborted “Goodradio.TV” venture which tried to get all the small-market CC properties after the THL/Bain takeover… only to see that implode upon itself.

  8. E says

    The fact that this is titled as though this is annual is sickening to me. We in Minneapolis lost a guy who brightened my day each and every morning. Thankfully, he probably has the means to support himself and probably saved someone else from a real hardship.

    And how about that for a thanks for the rise in ratings.

    1. Nathan Obral (@myronfalwell) says

      That we are so desensitized to such massive downsizing is scary. There are no other words. None.

  9. MattParker says

    The radio industry thinks it can get rid of people and make more money. Replace people with satellite dishes and computers. Even if some of the audience and many of the advertisers leave, profits will increase because of all the people not getting a pay check. This is the logic NBC used when they put Leno on in prime time.

    Buy up a bunch of stations and save more money by putting the same programming on multiple stations. Even if you have to pay a ton of interest after borrowing to buy those stations (and paid more than they were worth for most of them).

    Only it hasn’t worked. Savings in personnel haven’t off-set revenue loss that much. And the debt is crippling. But the suits at Clear Channel will get a nice bonus this year anyway.

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