SYRACUSE — Earlier today, we reported Jim Reith has exited WSYR radio, after 27 years at the news/talk station. It appears Reith’s departure is among many nationwide, ordered by WSYR’s owner, Clear Channel Communications. Since this afternoon, the tips have poured in, and we’ve learned at least three others received pink slips in Syracuse today.
After learning of Reith’s exit, we contacted local Clear Channel management for comment. No response yet, but we aren’t expecting one — multiple national radio industry sites say Clear Channel’s corporate-level spokespeople say they will not comment on personnel issues, so we’ll surmise local managers have been told to keep mum as well.
But after hearing concurring tips from several readers and doing some quick research online, we feel confident in reporting the following layoffs, or “reductions in force,” as Clear Channel is calling them:
- Mike Foltz, who produced “Central New York’s Morning News” on WSYR.
- Bill Ali, best known to Reith’s audience as “Producer Bill.” Ali also served as a traffic reporter for WSYR and other Clear Channel stations in Syracuse and other upstate markets.
- Rachel Marisay, who used her full name doing news on WSYR, went by “Rachel” for middays on adult contemporary Y94FM (WYYY), and as “Gabby Knight” on country station B104.7 (WBBS). Her name and profile have disappeared from the two FM station websites.
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- The Syracuse Post-Standard kindly linked to our earlier story; their story includes a 1992 clipping from the Herald-Journal, listing local radio programming schedules from 1992 — titled “how Syracuse radio has changed.”
- CNYCentral’s coverage includes criticism from David Rubin, former Dean of the Newhouse School at Syracuse University.
- NewsChannel 9 WSYR-TV (which is clear to note it is no longer affiliated with WSYR radio or Clear Channel) has a story with a 2008 screen shot of Reith moderating a political debate.
Nationwide RIF Coverage
- National radio trade website All Access has a running list of Clear Channel RIFs across the country.
- The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle says three were laid off at news/talker WHAM 1180.
- RadioInsight.com has links to various reports (including one to our original report on Reith).
- Radio-Info.com also reviews some of the notable cuts nationwide, and a separate story points out some cuts can be attributed to the recent merger of Clear Channel’s own Total Traffic Network and former rival Metro Networks.
Rumors of layoffs have been swirling for nearly two weeks, after national sites like Radio-Info reported Clear Channel flew managers from various markets to Atlanta for a major summit to announce long-term plans. The speculation only got worse as one manager from Iowa actually walked out in protest (and as the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports, he already landed a new job).
After the meetings, it was revealed that Clear Channel promoted a number of local general managers to the position of “Regional Market Manager,” while some programmers were promoted to “Regional Programming Manager.” In Syracuse, GM Joel Delmonico was elevated to RMM of Syracuse and Binghamton, while Ops Manager Rich Lauber was named RPM for the same two markets.
In yesterday’s edition of the Taylor on Radio-Info newsletter, Tom Taylor reported that managers received flash drives in Atlanta, breaking down talent expenses for each station, hour-by-hour. Managers were reportedly instructed to find ways to reduce costs where possible, perhaps pushing stations towards use more syndicated programming.
Managers who weren’t invited to Atlanta earlier this month were reportedly summoned to a separate meeting today in Chicago, and Clear Channel Radio CEO John Hogan will be addressing the entire company via webinar tomorrow.