Clear Channel Syracuse Cuts 4: Reith, Marisay, 2 Producers

October 26, 2011 by

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.

Thank you very much to the many readers who submitted tips today.  Any additional information or corrections?  Email or use the Contact Form.  All tips will be kept confidential, and if you use the form, you don't even need to supply your name or email address.

Coverage Elsewhere

  • 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

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.

3 comments on “Clear Channel Syracuse Cuts 4: Reith, Marisay, 2 Producers”

  1. CC once again proves that they are not broadcasters. What in the hell are they thinking--or are they? Their press release is unbelievably arrogant saying they are going to increase local by cutting local.

    Note to the 'occupy' protesters: add to your list (a.)bring back equal time and (b.)allow anyone to apply for licenses at renewal time. Renewal should be based on how well broadcasters serve the community or have I bought into the lie that spectrum is owned by the public.

  2. So long's been real....a real pain. Thought you had Syracuse by the tail! You'd cut people off, cause after all, it was your show! You were not a nice guy.

    You had the chance to bring us together...but you enjoyed dividing us. Hope your "next door" is out of town...bye!


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