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Radio vets Cosby, Stuck among Clear Channel layoffs

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Several Indianapolis radio employees lost their jobs this week in a round of layoffs by San Antonio-based Clear Channel, the parent company of WRZX-FM 103.3, WFBQ-FM 94.7 and WNDE-AM 1260.

Among those let go: Don Stuck, the morning show host on WRZX; and Ace Cosby, a veteran disc jockey who most recently served as a producer at sports talker WNDE.

"It was a tough day but I made a business decision I thought would benefit our ratings and revenue going forward," said Rick Green, vice president and market manager for Clear Channel’s Indianapolis stations.

Green declined to say how many total employees were let go but confirmed Stuck and Cosby were among them.

Stuck had worked in various roles at the Clear Channel stations for about 25 years, mostly at WFBQ.

He had worked at WRZX as a morning host for several years, including a stint with a co-host, Dave "Gunner" Gunn. Gunn replaced WFBQ DJ Jimmy “Mad Dog” Matis after Clear Channel laid off the 23-year drive-time veteran in 2010.

Cosby worked at WFBQ almost 30 years before Clear Channel laid him off in 2009. He returned in 2010, on a part-time basis as a board operator and sidekick/co-host with Mark Patrick.

Green said the moves are part of Clear Channel's efforts to use "technology and talent we have around the country"—which often translates into fewer disc jockeys— to grow ratings across its more than 750 radio stations.

The Bob & Tom Show, which got its start at WFBQ, now is heard on more than 150 stations. WFBQ midday host Laura Steele also is heard on stations in Dallas, San Antonio and Seattle.

Green said he intends to hire a new morning show host for WRZX.

Wendy Goldberg, a Clear Channel corporate spokeswoman, declined to say how many people the company let go nationally "as a policy, and out of respect." Radio industry websites estimated the layoffs to be in the hundreds. 

The company has been implementing a strategy it calls "Premium Choice" that rolls out voice-tracked programming created by disc jockeys in other markets but localized with weather, traffic, news and sports.

"We always look for the most efficient ways to run our business, particularly in challenging economic times, and we never look for layoffs," Goldberg wrote in an e-mail. "But the future of our company and industry depends on our ability to acquire, grow and promote new talent. This new strategy will help us do that."

It's more about greed if you ask Bill “Radio” Remeika, a 16-year Clear Channel veteran who now handles traffic updates for WXIN-TV Fox 59.

"Corporate people in radio tend to treat people like disposable tissues," Remeika said. "You use them, then throw them away without consideration of what they've meant to your company."


 

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  • music?
    I change the station more than i dont.most of the music belongs on top 40 hit stations.If this is rock and roll,i like country.
  • Poor Choices
    If they had really wanted to save money they shouldn't have got into hit the decks crappy techno/electronica non-music. It's a ROCK station for pete's sake not a dance club!!!
    • Commercial Free Hours
      I just love how they're foisting their commercial free hours on listeners. It's not that they want to do you a favor, it's that they can't sell enough commercials hence the hours become commercial (and revenue) free.
    • Evil Empire
      They don't call Clear Channel the Evil Empire for nothing. They are the reason traditional radio is over. They ruined the radio business years ago. I'll definitely miss Don Stuck. I'll have to stick with my CDs until I get a car with internet radio...that is the future!
    • Indy Needs a Metal Station
      Indy seriously needs a metal or hard rock station, who's with me???
    • Will they ever listen?
      I have seen so many bad moves by radio companies in Indianapolis it is ridiculous. First getting rid of the oldies station, then 93.9's soft rock station turning into i94 because you know, we really needed yet another generic top 40 pop station. NOT and now this. I've been listening to Don Stuck for the past 5 years and the city is at a loss. I'm in the travel and hospitality industry and one of the best ways for travelers to learn what's going on in the city is to listen to the radio. I just can't believe how awful and greedy some of these companies are. Stupid move clear channel.
    • Local and Indpendent
      Will it ever stop? Cutbacks at the detriment to the listeners that keep them afloat. CWEB had it right, WTTS is the last standing true local and independent station left in the city. The big corporate monsters don't get it. Loyal listeners stay loyal due to that jock who lives right here in the city and speaks to them each and every day. When ratings tank...then and only then will corporate radio begin to learn. They are proving that radio is a dying breed...and that makes me so sad.
    • Death knoll tolling
      How sad for those good people let go by Clear Channel. As part of the local ad community, the value of radio for our clients continues to fall to the bottom of media choices today thanks in part to lame-brained firings like this.

      Clear Channel has stripped their stations of any sense of long-time local personality. Bob & Tome now only comment on Indianapolis area items once an hour while the rest of their programming is easily forgettable.

      And that "premium choice" voice-track programming is no solution to radio's problems.

      With their listening audience declining every day, mega huge, public corporations like Clear Channel are stuck with having to cut their expenses to keep shareholders happy and the easiest way is by reducing human inventory.

      Laughably, Clear Channel radio time rates continue to rise, even as the total listening market continues to shrink.

      What the bean counters at mega big radio corps like Clear Channel don't understand is they're getting rid of the last reason listeners have to tune into their stations. With no local air personalities, no local promotions, no sense of community, there's no reason not to tune in Spotify, Pandora, XM/Sirius, CDs or Ipods for the "you choose" music/sports/news you want to hear.

      There are those locally-owned stations who will try to stay afloat by keeping their local audience listening.
    • They're eunning out of $
      This is not exactly about greed, it's about need. When large companies began operating radio in the 90s, many went on buying sprees. Now they are stuck with a huge debt load in a bad advertising economy. The only solution they see is to lower expenses. It's true that these companies have driven listeners away with their operational methods. Radio served it's listeners better when it was owned by smaller operators who were closer to their communities. Those people cashed out theough when the big companies waved huge wads of cash at them.
    • Indy's loss
      It is a shame about Stuck and Cosby. They were both talented. WRZX was the only Indy station I listened to on my commute in the morning, mostly because of Don Stuck. With that option gone, Sirius now gets my ear.
    • No need for radio anymore...
      I wonder if the Rick Green has read the "Clear Channel Creed"

      http://www.clearchannel.com/Corporate/PressRelease.aspx?PressReleaseID=1165&p=hidden

      Why should I bother listening to WRZX or Q95 when the LOCAL people are gone when I have iTunes and Spotify with no comercials? I hope B&T, Laura Steele & Dave Gunn aren't next, I won't even need to turn the radio on.
    • Want Local?
      Elvis Costello had corporate radio right more than 25 years ago. Another sad day for listeners.

      If you want local try WTTS - 92.3. Great music and involved in the community. by far the best choice on the dial.
      • cookie cutter
        They are moving to the radio equivalent of Chicken McNuggets. Bland, ordinary, same everywhere, hardly anyone like them.

        Radio is killing itself by losing its local identity in favor of a mass-produced nationally syndicated product with no personality.
      • Job killer not job creator
        When business models are "updated" to reduce the need for talented, experienced people, or even human people at all (because they cost too much), why do we reward them with our business? Is it any wonder the economy is going down the toilet?
      • 1980-90 is how it should be
        I think you missed your timeline by a bit. Radio - when it was local - in the 80's and early 90's was when it was making bank and bonding w/listeners. That's why corporate came in and starting buying it out. Problem was then as it is now - people cost money. Coporates came in, blew out talent, vanilla-ized stations to sound the same market-to-market, had the same PD/MD making decisions about music, sound, etc. and left no differentiation for listeners.

        People buy from people - basic premise of sales. People listen loyally to people on radio, not music. You can get music anywhere. But when bean counter mentality says I can pay one person, program a dozen and hire 1/4 of the on-air talent, and the less expensive the better, then that's sure to build a better return. If not, they'll buy more radio stations, put more people out of work and "lower" expenses - in reality they lower listenership, loyalty and revenues.

        The other killer to radio is the glut of stations that have occupied every frequency on the FM band. I now run an LPFM; a great concept to supplement local radio, but so restricted and low priority (not just low power) it's tough to actually serve the community of license. Thanks NAB!

        Best thing that could happen is the Clear's and Cumulus's have to shed stations at a discount so that local people could take them back and create a real resurgence of local radio to serve their communities.
      • Bad business move
        Unfortunately what terrestrial radio doesn't or won't understand is, they cannot compete with satellite or other digital music delivery channels. The thing that makes terrestrial radio unique, is the localization. Take that out of the mix and they are just like all the other options. And they can't compete with them. Bad business move.

        I turn off my iPod or Satellite or Pandora and tune into local to hear local info/personalities, without that I guess I will just be keeping my digital music flowing.
      • Local Media is disappearing
        A special thank you to ClearChannel and Gannett for doing their best to rid society of local programming. There's a reason why people are not reading and listening, you yahoos - no local flavor, meaning there's a million other places to get news/music/programming. It's been turned into a commodity.
      • What is this "radio" that you speak of?
        I didn't even know it still gave radio. I switched to MP3 and podcasts years ago.

        Talk about a dying industry.
      • Sad Day
        The news is terrible. Ace has been around the Indy market forever.....back when WFBQ was the "Album Station" and Disco Destroyer days!!! What a sad day for Indy radio.

      • Stuck?
        Ridiculous. They obviously have NO idea what their listeners like. There is no loyalty - only greed.
      • It was a tough day, yeah right!
        "It was a tough day but I made a business decision..." to fire some good people so I could save my own tail. Unfortunately folks like Rick Green don't get it that "remoting in" other on air talent from elsewhere is not going to save radio. Radio needs to be local, with local DJ's, local stories and just plain local in general. That move once again proves that station and corporate GM's just don't get that radio can't be done like it's still 1980 or 1990.

        HD radio is not the savior either. It doesn't work at all on AM (1070 is the only one in town, now with this experiment) and on FM, the subchannels are either not on or not programmed very well.
      • Shame on Clear Channel!!
        DON STUCK is the ONLY reason I listen to X103!! You now not only have fewer "disk jockeys" -- you have fewer LISTENERS cuz I'm gone!! Stupid move people!! oh wait, and you're even hiring a NEW morning DJ for X103? Unbelievable. Greedy greedy SOB's.
      • Stuck?
        They let Don Stuck and Ace Cosby go and kept the Deuce? Clear Channel clearly has no idea about talent, loyalty, or local presence.
        • No loyalty
          I am saddened to hear that Stuck and Ace have been axed by Clear Channel. Apparently there is no accounting for loyalty in Clear Channel's mission statement. Ditching good DJ's with over 20 years experience? What are they going to do, hire a teenager for minimum wage?
          • Bad Radio
            I'm not saying that Stuck or Cosby were great, but this type of "Premium Choice" radio is awful. Big Corporate Radio is a real drag to listen to and frankly the reason that most people carry an Ipod. Personally, I think we need more independant radio that is locally run and has real jocks in the studio. Nothing worse than a Starbucks on every corner or the same radio station/format in every market. Watch these ratings and programming continue to drop.

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