In this week’s issue… iHeart cutbacks hit Boston – Philly morning talker out – K-Love signals sell – Feds go after Mass. pirate – Corus shuffles Toronto schedule – New books from Cheek, Duran
By SCOTT FYBUSH
It’s MASSACHUSETTS again, and it’s our old home base of WBZ (1030) – and it’s another round of job cuts on both the news and talk sides of that iHeart-owned stations. While the most visible face of the cuts was news anchor Josh Binswanger, recently moved from mornings to afternoons (right – and yes, that’s a classic CBC logo hat he was wearing when last we saw him in the new WBZ newsroom last summer), there were plenty of WBZ staffers behind the scenes who were also affected.
When your editor arrived at the WBZ newsroom as a kid right out of college in 1992, my training as a tape operator was at the hands of Vic Ramos, who’d already been at WBZ a few years by then, having moved east from his native Los Angeles and then-sister station KFWB. Vic remained as a producer in the newsroom long after the carts and reels went away (as well as taking a lead role in union negotiations), right up until those cuts hit late last week.
Also behind the scenes were producers Garo Hagopian (whose tenure also went back to the mid-90s, when he ran Steve LeVeille’s show and the almost-famous “LeVeille/Hagopian Poll”) and Fausto Menard, writer Carolyn Firestone and reporter Bill Marcus.
And back on the other side of the mic, the cuts also claimed several of WBZ’s part-time weekend talk hosts, including Dean Johnson and Marissa DeFranco, leaving only Morgan White, Jr. on the part-time talk roster. What’s going to fill those weekend slots? On Sunday night, the station was running classic Larry Glick shows as filler.
Station officials told the Globe they couldn’t discuss personnel matters, but they did say no replacement has been picked yet for Binswanger, who returned to WBZ amidst fanfare in 2017, coming back for a second run after starting his career there in the 1990s as the host of the weekend “Kid Company” show.
(Down the hall, we’re also hearing that Kesha Monk, co-host of the morning show at WKAF 97.7, is also out at iHeart.)
Our event just keeps getting bigger year after year, and this year it will expand to the newly-renamed Waldorf Astoria at the Las Vegas CityCenter complex on the Strip. As always, it’s the Sunday night before the show starts (April 7), starting at 6 PM – and as always, you need to register (at TheBroadcastingClub.com) to get the email letting you know where to go on the day of the party.
(There’s even still room for a few more sponsors – contact Lisa for more information!)
And did you hear our latest edition of the Top of the Tower Podcast? We were on the road last week, visiting America’s first all-digital AM station, WWFD (820) in Frederick, Maryland, and had a most interesting conversation with engineer Dave Kolesar and Xperi’s Mike Raide – give it a listen if you missed it!
We have a great lineup of podcasts here on our site. While you’re catching up with your summer reading, don’t forget about your summer listening. Now is the time to make sure you’re up to date with Top of the Tower.
Our latest one features Donna Halper discussing her life in radio, from her time at WMMS when she helped Rush get US airplay, to what she learned from Arnie “Woo Woo” Ginsburg.
Don’t forget you can still visit our store to check out our other great products. We’ll be taking preorders for the 2021 calendar soon. Stay tuned!