In this week’s issue… Entercom cuts claim Buffalo veteran – New morning show in Boston – PA tower rebuilt – Maritimes survive Dorian’s blast
By SCOTT FYBUSH
*In more than 25 years of writing this column, we’ve gotten tired of sugar-coating some of the lousy things that happen in this business – so we’re not going to say that western NEW YORK‘s longest-running radio voice has “departed” or “exited” Entercom’s WTSS (102.5 Buffalo).
No, Roger Christian was fired from Star 102 on Thursday, an undignified end to a career that started at the station back in 1976, when it was running automated music and he came on board as music director. Christian had already been in Buffalo radio for a dozen years, going back to his early days as one of the teen DJs on WYSL-FM (103.3). After graduating from college in Indiana, Christian worked overnights on WYSL starting in 1970 and then worked on-air and as music director on WGRQ (96.9) from 1973 until joining WBEN-FM in 1976.
And then, once he landed at 102.5, Christian never left. He became the station’s live morning voice in the 1980s as “Rock 102” transitioned from TM Stereo Rock to local top-40, then stayed on board in mornings and eventually middays as the station became WMJQ, “Majic 102” and “Q102,” then “Star 102.”
Along the way, he became a community institution, staying at the top of the workday ratings and being honored last year with induction into the Buffalo Broadcasters Hall of Fame.
In a market where the local newspaper and TV stations still cover radio, all of that could have led to some nice press in a year or two, if Christian had been allowed to retire on his own schedule. Instead, though, Entercom and WTSS got all that publicity last week – for walking Christian out the door as his Thursday airshift was ending. (And Christian, to his credit, didn’t try to sugarcoat the reality of his ouster, either, making it very clear he didn’t leave voluntarily.)
Is there anything good we can say about this? Not really (and not just because we’re grumpy as we recover from a nasty stomach bug that delayed this week’s column.) Entercom has been quietly cutting back on live midday shifts, and so the workday hours on Star – on a station that promotes itself as a listen-at-work station – will likely be voicetracked, if they have any personality left at all.
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