In what I've heard was due to high-up corporate decisioneering (specifically, decisions by people owning the radio stations, not the actual station-runners), a bunch of Portland DJs got axed. It was in typical radio style: suddenly they're gone and only the more maverick remaining DJs actually mention it.
As The Oregonian's Peter Ames Carlin reported Saturday, Entercom fired DJs Jaime Cooley of 94.7 Alternative Portland (also the first programmer of 94.7's all-local online/HD Radio channel), Mike Turner of KGON 92.3, and Gavin Dawson of sports radio KFXX 1080. (I first heard of their firings when Dawson went over to Rick Emerson's show on CBS station 970 AM. Emerson's the "more maverick remaining DJ" that came to mind when I wrote the preceding paragraph.) CBS Radio fired 106.7's morning host Dave McKay, Movin' 107.5's Stacey Lynn, and Rebecca Webb, the morning news anchor on KINK FM 101.9. On and off, she'd been with the station for 30 years. (Mike Turner had been at his station for 20 years; Jaime, for 13, including the times of troubles mentioned in my long post about 94.7 making big mistakes then doing its damnedest to correct them. Tenure didn't save them.)
One unusual touch is that all of this has actually been reported on with behind-the-scenes details, thanks to Carlin and Emerson. Carlin mentions Webb passing Dave McDonald, the KINK executive who was going to be the person to fire her, when she was on her way to her car with a box of her belongings. In the article, Webb said
He kept saying, "I wish it didn't have to be this way." I said, "Well, it really doesn't."This is partly why my working in radio is a bad idea; I'd have real trouble dealing with that, or even the possibility of that. I should admit, at one time I seriously considered getting into radio. A friend of mine named Sylvia, who'd been a DJ for a few years in the late Seventies/early Eighties, told me: DON'T. It's a strange, difficult industry, she stressed to me, and as an observer of the business (and being friends and acquaintences with various on-air people), I've seen examples of that. I've also gotten to hear Mike Russell, among others, sound off on local radio history; and of course Emerson is a great source of that sort of knowledge, too.
I feel bad for the people who got canned. I had at most two e-mail exchanges with Webb, and didn't listen to her too much; I've never met Cooley, though I've listened to her plenty, and all the signs point to her being a Good Egg. I hope, and wonder if, Cooley's friends in the local music scene have ways to help her. I wasn't familiar with the other DJs. Still, overall, I can't speak more eloquently than "that sucks."
I hope 94.7, one of the main stations I listen to, doesn't get too watered-down in the wake of Jaime Cooley's exit. The big programming change, beyond the loss-of-Jaime change, is that the station's stopped running its 9 o'clock nightly People's Choice Countdown ("your top five most requested current songs of the day," as Jaime would put it), and I'm guessing it's not coming back. Too bad; the station's listeners could be maverick enough to choose something like Cobra Starship's "Snakes on a Plane (Bring It)" for its Top Five back in September 2006, after the film had already left theaters. And the DJs who remain are definitely music/radio geeks to a wonderful extent: Greg and Tara and Gustav and Squid are, I find, genuinely fun to listen to. I hope not to lose them, too. (This goes double for the other DJs who I know in person.)
I can't talk just about the fun/cool aspects of radio in this here blog. I like to be a positive person about what I'm a fan of, but sometimes stuff happens that just (say it with me) sucks. And I felt weird about not posting about this; hey, that's what radio stations often do, ignore the change.
So it's noted.
And I'd shake the hands of any of the DJs who lost their jobs.
P.S. If I'm wrong about where the decisions came from, tell me. I have no way yet of knowing who decided which people to can; I revert to blaming Corporate Overlords a little knee-jerk-ily. Maybe I'm being knee-jerk here.
P.P.S. I just realized that another title for this could be "There Goes the Last D.J.," but that thought is really depressing.