The corporatization of radio is marching along, as the piglomerate Clear Channel dries up local programming and replaces it with their own, syndicated, mostly right-wing, talkers. The company had a meeting in Atlanta Oct. 10 & 11 with regional managers, and handed out flash drives to each one.
According to Radio-Info's Tom Taylor, they contained hour-by-hour breakdowns of each station’s schedule with a cost analysis.
"And if a local show wasn’t in the top three in its demo, it was in peril of being replaced by Clear Channel’s off-the-shelf “Premium Choice.” That was the test – top three, or you’re in trouble."
The world's largest media conglomerate, CC owns eight stations in our market, including the KJRs, KBKS, and KUBE.
The so-called "Premium Choice" programming would come from their stable at Premiers Networks which manages Rush Limbaugh, Coast to Coast, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Leo Laporte, Randi Rhodes and many others.
Taylor describes the havoc wreaked on live & local radio earlier this week as the efficiencies juggernaut rolled down the Eastern Seaboard.
It started on the East coast, in places like Albany, where WTRY (98.3) morning host John Gabriel was one of four cuts. In Syracuse, 27-year WSYR-AM/FM (570/106.9) afternoon talker Jim Reith is replaced by Premiere’s Sean Hannity. In Rochester, WHAM (1180) talker Beth Adams is one of three people zapped. In Allentown, 10-year midday jock/promotion director Barry Dawson is toast at rock WZZO (95.1). Down in Sarasota, country WCTQ (106.5) says goodbye to PD/afternoon driver Tim Jones, APD/MD/midday host Heidi Decker, WTZB (105.9) PD James Russell and WSRZ (107.9) producer and webmaster Chris Hengel. In Williamsport, PA, the cuts at hot AC “Kiss 102.7” WKSB included popular 30-year veteran Lou Kolb – who’s blind.
Then on West where longtime local talent went missing:
The Sacramento Board of Radio-Info.com noticed that KFBK (1530) traffic reporter Sheldon Orviss was missing. (Sheldon also did middays on R&B oldies “V101.1” KHYL.) And that’s how a lot of the detective work went yesterday – laid-off people disappeared from websites (though not always immediately). Others tweeted their fate or posted on Facebook. We know that PM drive host Tom Becka is out at news/talk KFAB, Omaha (1110) because of Facebook. Up in Bismarck, the MIA list included Bill Hickock at traditional country KBMR (1130), Uncle Jack at “Rock 101” KSSS, Genia Kelly at country KQDY (94.5) and KFYR (550) news director Jason Hulm. In Memphis, Ty Hawkins, formerly of CHR “Radio Now 101.9” KWNW, posted the news of his demise on Facebook. The Memphis Board of Radio-Info.com adds that WDIA (1070) afternooner Jeff Lee is gone, and likewise production director Aisha Raison, along with at least three others. In Parkersburg, 20-year-plus jock Doug Flint is gone at country WNUS (107.1). In Waco, “Talk of Waco” morning host Shane Warner is out, per the Texas Board of Radio-Info.com. In Little Rock, the ghosts include Rick Steel at country KSSN (95.7).
Clear Channel, bought Metro Traffic from Westwood One in late April, and has conglomerated it with its own Total Traffic Network. That has meant many more more radio jobs lost all over the country. Metro Traffic is a big player, here, but So far, those losses haven't hit Seattle yet. either.