Bean counters control radio these days. Programmers and music directors are up front for show. Why not, the bean counters wonder, not hire two employees or even three, rather than one good. Three is better than one and good is a matter of opinion.
Case in point is what recently happened at CBS Radio, right after its president, Dan Mason, left for other opportunities. I'm going to guess that Mason saw was coming down the pike and decided to get going while the going was still good.
In April 2015, Andre Fernandez became President of CBS Radio. He came from Journal Communications, where he was President and CEO. His other big job at Journal was, wait for it, Chief Financial Officer for 6 years! He's another bean counter!
One of the first things he did was to fire WWFS Fresh 102.7 morning host, Jim Douglas. Shortly thereafter let Kim Berk, the morning co-host, with Jim Douglas, go as well. That's two big salary dumps; saving oodles of money, I'm sure. He also got rid of afternoon host Dylan, the DJ formerly known as Dead Air Dave on WXRK the Krock.
Here's what doesn't make sense to me; WWFS-FM then hires not one, but two duos to fill morning and afternoon drive. If their excuse for those firings were the old "we're going in a different direction" speech, it certainly fit the bill. I'm sure these two teams aren't making nearly the same money, as was Douglas.
Another anomaly is the signing of WCBS-FM morning host, Scott Shannon, to a lucrative new contract. Sure, the ratings are the best they've been in years, but why sign a sixty-something DJ to a long-term contract when the name of the game is shedding big contracts.
The next big move was the firing of Ross Brittain at WOGL-FM, in Philadelphia, on July 31, 2015. He had hosted the morning show there with Valerie Knight, Frank Lewis and Bill Zimpfer. He was the captain of the ship, and the other three were his mates. Now, it's just the mates running the ship, er, show.
Ross has worked at some great radio stations, including WKSS Hartford, WZGO/WTRK/WEGX Philadelphia, WZGC, Atlanta, and WABC-AM, New York, in the waning days of its music format. It was at WHTZ/Z100 in New York that he really hit it big as the co-host of the Z100 Morning Zoo with Scott Shannon. I find it ironic management fired Ross and Scott got a new contract. Follow the money, I guess.
Earlier in July, long time WOGL night host Bob Charger was let go, too. That shift is filled, for now, by Angela Mason and Nicky G. I'm sure they're mostly voice tracking, just as the overnight show is voice-tracked with Ron Cade and Tommy McCarthy.
Here's the huge news; "Shotgun" Tom Kelly "retired" from KRTH qua Kearth 101, in Los Angeles, in August 2015. Retired my butt, it's just another cost cutting move by CBS Radio. He was the afternoon drive host for 18 years, and was only one of two DJs to have a star on The Hollywood Walk of Fame. The other one is "The Real" Don Steele.
Tom's new position is "Radio Station Ambassador." With this grand title, he'll make appearances on the station's behalf at different events, ranging from raising money for charity, to opening new businesses.
Is this any way to treat a 62-yearold man that was still at the top of his game?
Andre Fernandez should be treated like every other bean counter and vampire in radio; put in a studio, tied in a chair with headphones and a blindfold, and forced to listen to such songs as "Total Eclipse of the Heart," "Higher and Higher," "Nine to Five," and anything by “Air Supply.”
Radio without air personalities is just music playing in your ears. We can get that from our phones and portable music players.
Matt Seinberg lives on Long Island, a few minutes east of New York City. He looks at everything around him and notices much. Somewhat less cynical than dyed in the wool New Yorkers, Seinberg believes those who don't see what he does like reading about what he sees and what it means to him. Seinberg columns revel in the silly little things of life and laughter as well as much well-directed anger at inept, foolish public officials. Mostly, Seinberg writes for those who laugh easily at their own foibles as well as those of others.
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