FAQ-What happened at WIBC?
What happened at WIBC?
WIBC is owned by Emmis Communications (EMMS) a locally based, publicly traded company. While WIBC was down 10% it was still making money (along with another talk station in Phoenix Emmis owns) their stations in New York, Chicago and LA were down 40%. As Jeff Smulyan (Emmis CEO and founder) told me, radio revenue in Los Angeles, 2 years ago was 1.2 Billion Dollars. This year they expect it to be around 600 Million. The money the company needed to keep these stations, and the other 20 or more around the country running, was draining everything. To keep current with their lenders they had to take drastic action. Across the board, every department at all the radio stations and magazines had to cut back a certain dollar amount. Indy radio’s figure was $550,000.00. So they released the Program Director, Jon Quick, removed the Palm Trees in the lobby, changed coffee service, gave all employees in Indy a 5% pay cut and released me.
Was I surprised? Yes. Thursday March 5th 11:45 Am, I’m in my office writing jokes when I was asked to come into another office. They said, “We need to make some changes so we have to let you go. Here’s your Severance package, the company will pay the first month of COBRA. This is not performance related, just business, any questions?” Nope. And that was it. Took maybe 3 minutes. I know it wasn’t pleasant for them and I wasn’t going to change their mind, so what was there to say?
As I left the building and walked past the many people that I’d worked with for 13 years and 7 months, none of them aware of what just happened, I felt surprised, dismayed and now that I look back and have had time to really appraise my feelings, relieved.
The show that I was doing in March of 2009 was not the show I had been doing for the first 12 years or so. The ratings for my show and the stations were the best they had ever been! But it was no fun anymore. They moved Joe to mornings and I completely understood why. Matt had been gone for sometime by now and was doing a great job as Asst. PD. That left me with no one to play with, or off of. Mel was doing traffic and could join me for the first half of the program, but them she moved up stairs and that was on the days they let her come down from the newsroom to hangout. Sometimes she had to stay on the 4th floor.
The board operator they had running my show was a long time WIBC employee and did a good enough job pushing buttons but we were not on the same page on any level. It was a distraction for me (not his fault, he was just being himself) when he was in the studio. Not very conductive for a good fun show.
So after all the years and all those shows it was time to move on and find something else to-do. No hard feelings, 13 years 7 months is For Ever in the radio business. It was a great job while it lasted, and it lasted longer than I thought it would.
Mel and I doing a Colts pregame show from the Hurst Bean Lot, fall of 2008