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Longtime Utica Radio GM Replaced

Longtime Utica Radio GM Replaced

UTICA-ROME — Several CNYRadio.com readers tell us Mary Jo Beach was relieved of her duties as General Manager and Vice President of Townsquare Media’s four station cluster today. Multiple sources tell us the new GM will be Karen Carey, who brings GM experience from running Clear Channel’s Rochester cluster. Her first day of work at Townsquare will reportedly be tomorrow.

According to her profile on LinkedIn, Beach exits the cluster just a month shy of reaching her 20th anniversary with the stations. Townsquare’s four-station cluster includes 100,000-watt country Big Frog 104 (WFRG), adult contemporary Lite 98.7 (WLZW), classic hits Oldiez 96.1 (WODZ) and news/talker 950 WIBX.

Mary Jo Beach, center, joins Regent Broadcasting executives at ribbon-cutting for the present-day Townsquare Media studios and offices in Marcy in 2003. We used this photo as a “Picture of the Week” last August.

Beach was GM with the cluster through at least two previous owners including Regent Broadcasting and Forever Broadcasting. Just like many GMs in broadcasting, Beach started out as a sales account executive and worked her way up the ladder to the GM office.

With the cluster consistently dominating the ratings — by both Arbitron‘s and Eastlan‘s accounts — it’s hard to spot any obvious reason for Townsquare’s decision, but with Carey named as the new market manager and expected to take over tomorrow, it’s apparent that upper management had their reasons and already had today’s events planned in advance.

Sources who contacted us anonymously say Townsquare regional manager Jeff Silver made the trip from Buffalo to Utica today. After he notified Beach, he notified the rest of the staff via email, saying “I want to thank Mary Jo for all the time and effort that she put into our Utica stations. I wish Mary Jo the best in her future endeavors.” The email also announced staff meetings taking place this afternoon and tomorrow morning, “to discuss the transition.” While Carey wasn’t mentioned in the email, we’re told her appointment as the new market manager was announced at the late afternoon meeting.

Karen Carey - credit: fybush.com
Photo: fybush.com

Carey appears to bring plenty of radio experience to Utica. She worked for Clear Channel in Rochester for 14 years, as Market Manager for the last seven. Checking the archives at Rochester-based NorthEast Radio Watch, Carey reportedly cited family reasons for her resignation in 2010. Among Carey’s accomplishments in Rochester, NERW’s Scott Fybush notes she oversaw the seven-station cluster’s move from Midtown Plaza (which has since been demolished) to new studios in the HSBC building. She also is credited for negotiating the contract that brought longtime popular Rochester morning man Brother Wease over to Clear Channel from the competing Entercom cluster, by employing Wease as a sales executive until his on-air non-compete clause with Entercom expired.

In between Rochester and Townsquare, Carey’s LinkedIn profile says she’s been working as an account manager for MPW Marketing, an advertising agency located just a few miles outside of Utica, in Clinton. If that company name sounds familiar, it’s the same firm where former Townsquare production director Geoff Storm has been working since May.

CNYRadio.com attempted to contact Silvers via email, but as of 9:00pm on Monday evening, we have not received a response. Based on the number of tips we have received, however, we have decided to move forward with the story and we will update accordingly if/when we receive any additional comment from Townsquare Media.

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Thanks to several CNYRadio.com readers who notified us tonight by sending messages through our Contact Form. That’s one of the many ways to contact us anytime you have news tips to share from your local radio or TV station, and just as our tipsters did tonight, you can leave the name and email address fields blank. Of course, if regular email is your thing, cnyradio@cnyradio.com works too, and if you don’t want us to use your name, just say the word.

7 Comments to Longtime Utica Radio GM Replaced

  1. Although, I don’t believe I ever met Mary Jo, I only have heard good things about her. My guess is, it’s all about $$. Either she was making too much or the stations weren’t billing enough. Maybe Townsquare pulled a Clear Channel and just couldn’t stand paying someone the big bucks, although they earned them. An accountant somewhere may have had a stroke when they saw what she was being paid. Utica-Rome is a tough market even with four stations totally dominate in the ratings. Not a lot of money to be spent on advertising and ratings don’t mean much, unless you are an agency. Probably not that much agency business in this economy.

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