Clear Channel Cuts, Round 2: Butch Charles Out

April 28, 2009 by

UPDATED 4/28 at 11:00pm: SYRACUSE -- Clear Channel carried out its second round of massive layoffs of the year today -- eliminating 590 jobs on top of the 1,800 let go on January 20th.  Multiple sources concur one PD has been laid off in Syracuse, a former Ithaca radio journalist was cut in Albany, a former Utica sports talk host loses his job in Houston, and a Senior VP with ties to Central New York was cut at corporate HQ.

Word of exactly what happened in Syracuse was slow to unravel today, but by mid-afternoon, trusted sources hinted we should take notice that Butch Charles is no longer listed as the program director of Hot 107.9 (WWHT) and Power 106.9 (WPHR), on either station's website.  His talent bio is also gone from Power's website.  Operations Manager Rich Lauber is now listed as the PD of both stations.  When we called his office for confirmation and additional comment, he stated on his voicemail he was out of the office yesterday and today.  Added 10:15pm: Radio & Records now has a nationwide listing of those sent home today. Charles, who once owned WPHR, is included on the list, complete with his personal contact information.  He's also included on the casualty list at AllAccess.

(Added 4/29: Rich Lauber returned our call, confirming the exit of Charles, but was not authorized to provide any further details beyond what's already been reported in the national trades.)

Even though it's outside of our "coverage area," we have heard from at least two sources that Clear Channel Albany eliminated several FM music station personalities.  Added 10:15pm - We've also learned former WHCU Assistant News Director Greg Fry, who left Ithaca last July to for a reporter job at WGY, was among today's staff reductions.  At the same time, WGY anchors will be adding more out-of-market newscasts to their daily duties.

Thanks to reader tips, we've learned of similar cutbacks in Rochester.  No cuts in the WHAM 1180 newsroom, but staffers -- who have already been voicing newscasts for out-of-market stations -- will add three more distant stations to their workload.

Added 11:00pm - The Houston Chronicle says former WIBX SportsWatch host Brad Davies and his co-host were trimmed from the payroll at Clear Channel's all-sports KBME 790.  (Tip of the hat to Radio Insight's Twitter feed, where we learned of this.)

Nationwide, reports 590 positions were cut today -- not as bad as January 20th, when over 1,800 jobs were eliminated, but the total between both rounds of layoffs equals nearly 12% of the workforce in Clear Channel's radio division.

Updated 10:00pm - RadioInsight has its own summary of the biggest national cuts, along with links to various websites (like this one) with more details about cuts in several other markets including Chicago, Detroit and Washington DC.

The cuts didn't just hit local markets -- corporate positions were eliminated as well.  All the major trades report Clear Channel eliminated its entire "Corporate Marketing" department, including Senior Vice President Sanda Coyle, who, incidentally has a CNY connection: an observant reader points out Coyle once ran the sales department at WTVH-TV.

3 comments on “Clear Channel Cuts, Round 2: Butch Charles Out”

  1. You can hear Kathy Denman doing AM traffic reports on both WSYR and WHAM, and the guy who does them on WGY (Matt something maybe?) was on WSYR in the past. Something amusing I noted a few weeks ago when I had to make a run west... I suppose there's no reason why you can't have one person do the traffic or news for multiple stations, but someone's still got to write it specifically for each location, why not have *them* read it too? -- Too bad CC doesn't can Reith for one of the syndicated shows and save a buck that way, unless they're planning ahead for that whole local content deal that's being floated about (but they sure aren't worried about those rules for WHEN).


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