Clear Channel lays off nearly 600 nationally including two veterans at the Boston cluster
Corporate radio giant Clear Channel Communications announced the latest round of nearly 600 job cuts nationally affecting its Boston cluster.
Nationwide, 590 jobs were cut in the radio division, or 2.7 percent of the division's total work force at the end of 2008. Clear Channel didn't break the cuts out by geography or job function, but said some on-air personalities were included. Employees were notified of the cuts Tuesday.
BRW has learned that locally, popular veteran Top 40 jock Deirdre Dagata was cut from WXKS 107.9FM where she has been hosting the 8-Midnight shift. She is being replaced by former Kiss 108 night-time personality Jackson Blue who will be voice-tracking from his station in Dallas. Jackson Blue confirmed his voice-tracking shift at Kiss via his Tweeter page. In December 2006, Dagata lost her midday show to voicetracking DJ Shelly Wade and shifted to weekend/fill-in role at Boston's Top40 giant. She moved back into Kiss 108's weekday line-up this past September after night-time jock Jackson Blue left Medford for Dallas to host afternoon drive at KHKS-FM. Now, she is forced out again by voicetracking programming again.
Starting today, Kiss 108 which is celebrating its 30 years on the air with its annual Kiss Concert later this month will only have two live, local shows during mornings(Matty In the Morning) and afternoons(Romeo). Rest of the station's schedule will be filled out by syndicated programming(Ryan Seacrest) or voicetracking DJs.
In addition of elimination of evening local programming, another broadcast veteran at Clear Channel's Boston cluster, Steve Riggs, who most recently served as the Director of Engineering and IT, lost his job on Tuesday after 18 years.
The latest round of job cuts at Clear Channel comes on top of 1,850 layoffs announced in January(BRW 1/23), which mostly affected sales. Both rounds of cuts accounted for about 12 percent of Clear Channel's staff.CC Media Holdings Inc., Clear Channel's parent company, also said Tuesday it had suspended its 401(k) company match.The Wall Street Journal said Clear Channel's affected programming likely will be replaced by shows from its syndication division.The company is scheduled to report first-quarter results on May 11.
BRW Notebook :
Talk rage : Tomorrow morning(4/3) at 9am, WTKK 96.9FM's Michele McPhee and her “Outrage Brigade” will protest at Brandeis University to show their discontent with William Ayers speaking at the university.
“The idea that Brandeis University – the very school attended by the students and Weather Underground affiliates who shot and killed Police Officer Walter Schroeder in cold blood in Boston , Massachusetts in 1970 – would invite the founder of that terrorist organization to speak in Waltham is outrageous,” said McPhee. “The move is incredibly disrespectful to the memory of the slain Boston Police officer and to his daughter Claire Schroeder, who is currently a sergeant in the Waltham Police Department. Bill Ayers has a right to speak, but we have a right to make sure he is not heard.”
McPhee is heard on WTKK 96.9FM from 7 to 10pm weeknights.
Honor roll : Greater Media announced WTKK's program director Grace Blazer has been named the recipient of the 2009 Judy Jarvis Memorial Award for Outstanding Contributions to Talk Radio by a Woman. She will be honored for her achievements in talk radio programming at the upcoming Talkers Magazine New Media Summit 2009 on June 5 in NYC.
Shifting the Zone to the left : Progressive talk radio will return Monday(5/4) to the Boston airwaves. WWZN AM/Zone 1510 which has been dabbling with the time-buy business model for the past couple of years by leasing out its airwaves to sports talk hosts, comedians, preachers, betting shops, snake oil salesmen, foreign language programmers,etc will finally have a real format for most of its broadcast day. The Zone 1510 will switch to a format featuring syndicated liberal talkers Stephanie Miller(10-12), Thom Hartmann(12-3pm) and Ed Schultz(3pm-6pm) anchored locally by Jeff Santos in the morning drive(6-10am). The format is similar to what WKOX AM aired before switching to Rumba 1200 format in December 2006(Correction 4/30 : The original update incorrectly stated that WKOX AM 1200 switched from progresiive talk to Rumba format in December 2005. It was actually December 2006).