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Ron Gleason Retiring From WBBM in January

“I’ll be retiring from full-time management at the end of January, stepping down as WBBM’s Brand Manager/News Director,” Gleason said in a memo to staff

Eduardo Razo

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After a conversation with Barrett News Media, where Ron Gleason discussed his pending retirement and will be stepping down in a little less than five months, there’s now a date.

Gleason, the Brand Manager/News Director at Audacy “News Radio 780” WBBM Chicago, will be retiring from the company in January, so he will be with the radio station through the end of this year. 

“I’ll be retiring from full-time management at the end of January, stepping down as WBBM’s Brand Manager/News Director,” Gleason said in a memo to staff (h/t Inside Radio). 

“People have told me there’s something called free time out there, and I’d like to learn more about it.”

For over 15 years, Gleason has been in his position, but despite having a love for the newsroom, he understands that it’s time to begin a new phase.

“I love what I do, I love this newsroom and all of you—the people I’ve had the honor to work with over the years—the journalists, production personnel, sales and marketing folks, my fellow PDs, engineers, and yes, even the market managers,” Gleason added.

“Frankly, I’m a workaholic, which is a great attribute when you’re on call 24 hours a day. But I’m older now, my kids are grown, and Linda and I are looking forward to spending more than just a few days a year at a home in the desert that’s been sorely neglected. This decision comes after months of planning, with much-appreciated support and understanding from [VP/Programming] Greg [Solk], [SVP/Market Manager] Rachel [Williamson], and all levels of the company.”

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News Radio

Former WAMU Reporters Take to Social Media After Layoffs Hit

Many of those affected by the layoffs took to social media to share they were included in the cuts, while others shared their displeasure with leadership and station management over the move.

Barrett News Media

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A photo of the WAMU logo

WAMU made a round of layoffs Friday morning that eliminated the positions of 15 employees on staff at the Washington D.C. NPR affiliate.

The outlet claimed it was ending its local news digital outlet — DCist — in an effort to refocus its strategy on audio offerings. When users attempt to go to the DCist website, a message appears reading “Thank you for visiting and supporting DCist. Since 2018, it has been a part of WAMU 88.5, the Washington region’s public media and NPR member station. As of February 23, the site will no longer publish new content. Please visit WAMU.org for local news and programming. You will be automatically redirected to WAMU.org in 15 seconds.”

Many of those affected by the layoffs took to social media to share they were included in the cuts, while others shared their displeasure with leadership and station management over the move.

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Nick Kayal: Widespread Phone Outages Shows Need for AM Radio

“It’s something that we need to continue to highlight and re-emphasize not just for this audience, but I think it’s also important to reach people beyond the little box that we live in, in talk radio.”

Barrett News Media

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A photo of Nick Kayal
(Photo: Nick Kayal)

Millions of AT&T and Verizon customers were left without use of their mobile devices due to widespread outages Thursday morning. 1210 WPHT morning host Nick Kayal believes it highlights the need for AM Radio.

While discussing the outages on Kayal & Company Friday morning, Nick Kayal argued that both the lack of cell phone coverage and the convergence of members from both sides of the political aisle coming to AM Radio’s defense shows the need for the medium to continue.

“Yes, we look at it selfishly. First and foremost, I think from a career standpoint, because of free speech and stations like Talk Radio 1210, that might never be on FM. Yes, you can get us on the Audacy app. Yes, you could watch us on YouTube. But we might always just be on AM, specifically, when we talk about am and FM.

“Now imagine it’s 2042. You’re driving a Tesla. And we have one of these communication failures where the grid goes down, so to speak, and you can’t use your phone. And you also compounded the issue with not having an AM radio. We speculated earlier this morning, if in fact this was a hack job. And you know, China does something like this or Russia…Now imagine throwing into the equation not having AM radio from a safety standpoint, you’d want to tune into 1210 in the in the event of a disaster or an emergency, or our sister station, KYW 1060.”

Kayal continued by noting that the message needs to continue to be shared not simply with those inside the industry, but to the general public.

“I really think, as we continue to pay attention to this story, it’s something that we need to continue to highlight and re-emphasize not just for this audience, but I think it’s also important to reach people beyond the little box that we live in, in talk radio,” he concluded.

Nick Kayal also gave kudos to The Atlantic, which had shared a story with the headline “Your Phone Has Nothing on AM Radio,” noting that it’s no longer just right-wing publications sounding the alarm on the issue at hand.

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WAMU Institutes Round of Layoffs, 15 Employees Let Go

WAMU plans to launch a local program with hopes of adding an additional app for the station. It also plans to expand its political coverage to include Maryland and Virginia, in addition to Washington D.C.

Barrett News Media

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A photo of the WAMU logo

WAMU, the NPR affiliate in Washington D.C., has instituted a round of layoffs that will see the jobs of 15 employees cut, with a shifting focus to audio upcoming.

The outlet is ending its DCist local news site amid the focus change, with the company saying the move allows it to prioritize its audio offerings.

“We’re making the choice to invest in what we’re better at than anyone else in this town, and that’s audio,” General Manager Erika Pulley-Hayes told Axios.

The report from Axios also claims WAMU plans to launch a local program with hopes of adding an additional app for the station. It also plans to expand its political coverage to include Maryland and Virginia, in addition to Washington D.C.

According to the latest Nielsen ratings, WAMU is the highest-rated station in the Washington D.C. market, finishing atop the rankings with a 12.7 share in the January ratings period in persons 6+.

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