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WTOP Announces Newsroom Contract Buyouts

The contract buyouts are a Voluntary Separation Program for all full-time non-managerial staff

Eduardo Razo

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WTOP announced to staff on Tuesday that the company is offering contract buyouts to staffers who work in the newsroom for the station, website, or website development.

The contract buyouts are a Voluntary Separation Program for all full-time non-managerial staff and are not for the remainder of the station’s departments. Furthermore, they are for staffers 55 years or older and whose tenure with WTOP would add up to 65.

“During the pandemic, in DC and across the country in all Hubbard markets, there was downsizing. WTOP programming did not downsize. We hoped that the economy, radio listening in DC, radio listening at WTOP and our revenue would all come back close to 2019 levels. In 2021 we made some progress, but in 2022 both listening and revenue have gone backwards from 2021 levels, let alone where they were compared to 2019,” Senior Vice President and General Manager Joel Oxley said in a statement (h/t Radio Insight)

“In the past number of months we have reduced controllable costs wherever we were able to in marketing, outside vendors and not replacing personnel. We felt we needed to take this additional step of offering the Program to continue to try to be more in line with the current economic landscape, while giving eligible employees the opportunity to choose whether to accept the separation packages being offered in connection with the Program. Any eligible employee who elects to participate in the Program will receive the specific separation package offered to that employee, subject to the conditions identified in the Program.”

Along with announcing the buyouts, WTOP will also see Director of Content Integration and Operations, Craig Schwalb, leaving the radio station. Schwalb had been with the station since 2020. He had previously programmed WABC in New York, WPRO in Providence, WRBZ in Raleigh and had also worked for CBS Radio and SiriusXM.

WTOP has been one of radio’s top billing stations for years, so the news is likely to leave some in the news/talk radio industry concerned. Station Market Manager Joel Oxley just won the Marconi award for Legendary Radio Manager of the Year at last week’s NAB Show.

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News Audio

1110 KFAB Adds Emery Songer as Afternoon Host

“My wife and I can’t wait to be a part of the Omaha community and meet all the amazing people that make this city move.”

Barrett News Media

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1110 KFAB has added Emery Songer as the station’s new afternoon host.

Songer has previously worked as the morning show producer at 1040 WHO in Des Moines since 2018. Both stations are owned by iHeartMedia.

“I’m incredibly excited for this opportunity to be a part of Omaha and the KFAB team,” said Songer. “My wife and I can’t wait to be a part of the Omaha community and meet all the amazing people that make this city move.”

He will begin on Monday, June 26th. The afternoon show will be heard from 2:00-6:00 PM.

“Emery will continue KFAB’s nearly 100-year-old tradition of on-air personalities who are passionate about connecting with the community we serve,” said 1110 KFAB Program Director Scott Voorhees. “It’s not about hammering an agenda; it’s about entertaining and relevant conversations of interest to Omaha/Council Bluffs and the surrounding area.”

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Joe Pags: Viewers Would Give CNN Another Try if John Catsimatidis Bought It

“People are willing to come back. People are willing to see what you would do.”

Barrett News Media

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77 WABC owner John Catsimatidis has publicly shared he’d be interested in purchasing CNN, and would only command a $1 yearly salary to have the opportunity to operate the station. Joe Pags believes it could be exactly what the network needs.

During a conversation with Catsimatidis Thursday evening, Pags shared that his listeners had simply written off CNN.

“Early on in the program, I mentioned that you were making an offer for CNN. I opened up my phone lines, and they melted down,” said Pags. “I asked my listeners: Would you give CNN another chance? Now, John, my listeners don’t wanna give CNN another chance.

“But when I asked them that question and I told them who you were and the offer that you were making, they — to a person — said ‘Yeah, I’ll give them another try’. So people are willing to come back. People are willing to see what you would do.”

Pags then asked if there was a realistic possibility that Catsimatidis could purchase the network from Warner Bros. Discovery.

“I think it’s real. I think it could happen, but we need some common sense to preside,” Catsimatidis said.

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Megyn Kelly: Fox Wants to ‘Keep Tucker Carlson Muzzled’ Through 2025

“He was not fired, he was just booted off the show. They continue to pay him because they want to keep him muzzled through at least 2025.”

Maddy Troy

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(Photo: SiriusXM)

On Thursday’s episode of The Megyn Kelly Show, Megyn Kelly spoke with Chadwick Moore, author of the forthcoming book Tucker, to talk about Tucker Carlson’s first Tucker on Twitter episode and the news surrounding Fox’s reputation as a network post-Tucker.

Megyn Kelly started the show with a clip from the first episode of Tucker on Twitter, then followed up with the response he received from Fox lawyers.

“He reportedly got a letter from Fox News saying you breached your contract. You are required to stay exclusive to us because remember, as I first reported, he was not fired, he was just booted off the show. They continue to pay him because they want to keep him muzzled through at least 2025.

“Fox’s lawyer said something about him rendering services? Well, I don’t know if he’s actually rendering services if it’s not getting paid. What I was told initially is that Twitter is not mentioned in his noncompete, and that is why I suppose that Fox News employees are allowed to use Twitter to express their opinions on issues of the day and that would be apparently what Tucker did in this.”

“He’s not making money, he’s not an employee of Elon Musk or partnering with Elon Musk in any way and Fox people have said that they’re committed to keeping him off the air until 2025, until after the election is over and his contract runs out in early 2025,” said Moore. 

“I’m gonna get into the ratings but they’re absolutely abysmal in his time slot throughout the prime time,” Kelly argued. “I don’t know if we’re calling there’s a boycott or just people are done, it’s not like a temporary thing.” 

She then looked to her notes for the yearly comparison, “Year over year Fox lost 62%.“

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