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:
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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.