While today’s latest radio news compels me to comment it is perhaps one of the toughest blogs I have ever had to write as I know, like and respect all of the participants well.
Jim Johnson and Lynne Woodison are about as good as it gets as people and radio professionals. I have had the good fortune of working with both; including JJ many years ago when we broadcast together over the former WLLZ-FM. Their unexpected firing today after their morning show on WCSX-FM (here’s Crain’s coverage from Bill Shea) leaves both without jobs and a personality void in this marketplace at a time when terrestrial radio needs all the ammunition it can muster in its on-going battle with satellite and iPods.
John Gallagher, on the other hand, is one of radio’s top management professionals with a lineage that includes AM radio legends WJR and WLS in Chicago. He knows and loves this industry well and, unfortunately, was tasked with being the hatchet man today on behalf of his latest company, Greater Media, Inc. I am sure it pained him greatly.
It is an unpleasant sign of the times and one not reserved only for the radio industry: when profits are down, oftentimes the most expensive talent is the first to go. We saw a similar move many months ago when Tom Ryan was fired by CBS’s WOMC. Yet, don’t these well-known, talented, locally-based personalities provide the only true differentiator for choosing traditional radio over other music options?
Of course they do. And that’s the real shame in all of this.