Dialed down

Since December, Clear Channel and Infinity Broadcasting, mammoths in the national radio market, have eliminated at least six full-time on-air broadcasters and an unknown number of off-air employees from Detroit radio stations. In addition, many part-time employees have had their hours slashed. Mike Austerman of michiguide.com, an online site that covers the state’s broadcast scene, said cuts include Alice 106.7 FM WLLC’s Scott Adams, 950 AM WWJ’s Pat Vitale, 1270 AM WXYT’s Tom Balog and 1130 AM WDFN’s Eric Pate and Mike Bower. Other broadcasters had their hours reduced, including WLLC’s Carey Carlson and WWJ’s Jeff Lesson.

At Alice 106.7, a Clear Channel station, Adamson and Carlson are being replaced by canned programs produced elsewhere, according to Austerman.

Spokespeople for Clear Channel weren’t available for comment on the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday.

Georgeann Herbert, operations manager for WWJ and WXYT, said the cuts were made because “it’s a very tough time” for broadcasting due to reduced advertising. But at least those stations, which are part of the Infinity chain, aren’t turning to the canned crap.

“The bottom line is, we’re like any other business,” says Herbert. “Everybody is struggling right now.” The layoffs and cutbacks can only add to the concern from radio lovers about downsizing and corporatization since the Telecommunications Act of 1996 allowed for increased consolidation. Clear Channel, headquartered in Texas, is the nation’s largest radio owner with 1,170 radio and 19 television stations in the United States. Infinity Broadcasting, headquartered in New York City, owns approximately 185 radio stations in 40 markets.

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Lisa M. Collins contributed to News Hits, which is edited by Curt Guyette. He can be reached at 313-202-8004 or [email protected]
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