Updated 12/31 -- SYRACUSE -- Longtime local rock radio personality Dave Frisina was fired by Galaxy Communications after his airshifts today on Syracuse's TK99/TK105 (WTKW/WTKV) and Utica's 96.9 WOUR. After he broke the news on his own Twitter feed, local media outlets quickly picked up the story. Frisina started his radio career over 33 years ago at 95X (WAQX) and made the move to TK99 in 2003.
After receiving the bad news from management, Frisina posted on Twitter: "Unemployed for the first time in 34 years...Happy New Year..." (Updated 12/31 - If you click that link, you'll find the tweet has since been removed.)
Prior to joining 95X, the Long Island native graduated from SUNY Cortland, where he worked for campus station WSUC. After college, he spent his entire radio career in the Syracuse market.
According to the Syracuse Post-Standard, Frisina was given the option to continue hosting his Sunday night speciality show Soundcheck, a show he created in 1978 to give local artists a chance to get some radio airplay. Station management said he didn't respond to the offer, and Frisina told the newspaper "I don't know where it will end up." Frisina's efforts to promote local talent helped him earn a spot in the Syracuse Area Music Awards (SAMMYs) Hall of Fame in 1994.
Galaxy VP/Programming Mimi Griswold told the Post-Standard that TK99 weekender Gary Michaels will take over Frisina's weekday shift in both markets. She told the paper she "can't discuss the circumstances" behind Frisina's dismissal. Frisina, who served directly under Griswold as TK99's Assistant PD, told the newspaper's Mark Bialczak he thought he had job security, but in hindsight, he should have had a "plan B" ready, specifically comparing his firing to that of Jim Reith, who was let go in October after 27 years with Clear Channel's WSYR.
Reith, who heard about the news on Friday night as well, posted the following reaction on Facebook:
Stupid, stupid move as Dave Frisina gets lets go without warning from TK-99. Another long time LOCAL voice silenced. It's so frustrating to watch a once great industry get destroyed. Dave Frisina is one of the all time greats in this town, and one of the all time great guys in the business. This just SUCKS.
More than 70 people commented on Reith's status update, mostly in agreement. The comments included one from TV meteorologist Tom Hauf, who asked, "Where does it end? Will there be any local in local radio?"
Here are select stories about Dave Frisina from the CNYRadio.com archives.
Last but not least, here's a shot of Frisina serving as a celebrity bartender at the "TK99 Classic Rock Tavern," which appeared during our special New York State Fair "mega-edition" of Picture of the Week this past summer. We happened to stop by as Frisina was serving a brew to local musician Doug Moncrief. Tips collected by Frisina and other TK99 hosts were donated to the Special Olympics.