Chris Walsh (chris_walsh) wrote,
Chris Walsh

Radio bloodletting (firings)

No one died. At least no one I know.

Firings happened on Portland radio. I just spent several minutes scrambling to find out who got fired; I thought Cort and Fatboy had been canned. No (or at least not yet, this is radio we're talking about), but at lunch I tuned into Rick Emerson. Emerson, by his standards, was emotional and subdued: his news man Tim Riley was being let go, and had one last day on The Rick Emerson Show to say goodbye. Tonight I was surprised not to hear Cort and Fatboy on at 7, but checking their station KUFO's main page I saw they'd moved to the 3-7 slot. Looks like Marconi got fired, too. Marconi's former co-host Big Jim is now doing the 7-midnight duties Cort and Fatboy had for years...for the whole time I've listened to them, in fact.

I'm working on an entry about how cool Cort and Fatboy's Bagdad broadcast was; I'll post that later. (Meanwhile, you can listen to Friday's show here.) I'd hoped to post it sooner, but honestly I'm thrown for a loop right now: I thought for a few minutes that my friends had been fired. I don't know Marconi, and I've only briefly met Tim Riley, but I know getting fired sucks and I don't wish it on people. (Except one former boss, but that's a long story that has nothing to do with Cort, Fatboy, Marconi, Tim Riley or anyone on the radio.)

One way this firing was unusual, at least Tim's, was that his immediate Portland bosses, who reportedly did not make the decision, gave him one last show, and allowed him and Rick to say exactly what happened with no sugarcoating, no saying He's moving on to different things. No, they were allowed to say he's canned and it's because the economy sucks and we're upset about it but we love Tim and he deserves this last chance to join us on the show before he leaves us. The usual way of these things is canning someone after a show, or even during a commercial break, and having the next DJ not mention it at all. It's like stepping into an alternate dimension, like when famous alt-rock station WHFS in Washington D.C. was suddenly a Spanish language station. I haven't heard Cort and Fatboy's Monday show, as I didn't know it was suddenly happening earlier, so I don't know how they handled it; I'll listen later and find out.

My friends are still on the radio. But I'm guessing they feel a little like the guy next to the soldier who just got shot.

Edited To Add: Rick Emerson posted a blog entry on his site (and presumably his show's MySpace page, too) about Tim Riley's firing and the general climate:
As promised.

Here is the (somewhat) longer post regarding today's show, the future, life, the universe, and everything.

Words cannot convey how important Tim Riley has been to the Rick Emerson Show. I've often said (only half-jokingly) that I functioned as his sidekick, and it's true that he offers something unmatchable, something irreplaceable. That fact is not lost on anyone, least of all on Sarah and myself.

This is the part where I explain, to those who weren't able to hear today's program, that the economic implosion so often documented on our show has finally affected our show. It's been a bad year...not just for CBS, but for media folks of every stripe, and for workers and companies in all manner of industries. We've been largely immune from the cutbacks and downsizing that have claimed so many jobs this frequently held by friends, colleagues, listeners, and loved ones.

No one at CBS wanted this to happen, and their concern and understanding was never more clearly expressed than in the extraordinary gesture of letting us bring things to a close on our own terms. Today's program was hard to do...and, at times, hard to listen to...of that, I have no doubt. It was, however, the opportunity for all of us -Tim, Sarah, Ritchie, myself, and you- to say goodbye, farewell, and until we meet again.

And that brings us to The Future. Sarah, Ritchie, and I will be playing it by ear these coming days and weeks...doing our best to keep a smile on your face and a song in your heart, while also coming to grips with this change, and pondering the -wait for it- New Direction we must now embrace.

In the short term, we'll be there, every day, making each show and moment count. Things will get much worse before they says our President-Elect. For those who still have jobs, regular paychecks, and some semblance of stability, our most deeply-held hope is that your situation remains secure. For those who face (or will face) a life-changing setback, reversal, or downturn...we pledge to be an outlet...a venue for your pain, frustration, confusion, or anger. Just as important, if not more so, we will strive, in whatever way possible, to entertain, to lighten, to distract, and to amuse. We owe you that. We always have.

To Tim Riley...we owe a thanks beyond repaying. For laughter, for dazzling -if confounding- wordplay, and for making news something beyond art, something beyond our wildest expectations and imaginings.

Tim's new contact email is, and his daily thoughts and updates can be found at

This is goodbye, for now. As always, stay tuned for details. You ain't heard the last of this mighty foursome.

Goodnight, and good luck...all of us.
Tags: portland, radio

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