"Extended and extreme revenue challenges … as a result of government mandated shutdowns due to COVID-19" prompted staff terminations at Hubbard radio stations nationwide, including Cincinnati.
Two personalities were let go by WREW-FM, branded as MIX 94.9 – Ray Anderson, the midday host and production director, and morning co-host Shannon – plus WKRQ-FM (101.9/Q102) promotions staffer Katie Walters, after working 19 years at the station.
I'm hearing that as many as 11 positions were eliminated. Mike Fredrick, Hubbard Cincinnati vice president and market manager, would not confirm that number.
"I am not going to comment on personnel matters," Fredrick said. He oversees Hubbard's WUBE-FM (105.1/B105), WKRQ-FM (101.9/Q102), WYGY-FM (WOLF 97.3) and WREW-FM.
Inside Radio reported that Hubbard, based in St. Paul-Minneapolis, "let go scores of employees across most of its markets on Friday" May 1. The company dismissed 20 employees in St. Louis, 17 in Seattle and 12 in Chicago in addition to a "significant" number of cuts in Hubbard's hometown, Inside Radio said.
All Access also reported cuts at Washington D.C., Phoenix and Cincinnati stations.
Anderson, an 11-year employee, also had hosted WREW-FM's morning and afternoon shows. The Cincinnati native started in 2004 at WAQZ-FM (97.3), a rock station known as Channel Z, New Rock 97.3 or Everything Alternative 97.3. He helped launch WREW-FM (94.9) as "Rewind" in 2009, which evolved into "Cincinnati's Best MIX 94.9" in 2013.
When I asked him if he wanted to say goodbye to his listeners, Anderson said:
"As cliche as it sounds, I don't want to say 'farewell' to my listeners, just 'see ya around.' I'm not done creating, entertaining, or talking, and I plan on staying right here in Cincinnati. I had a great time the last 11 years at MIX, and going all the way back to 2004 on Channel Z. I am grateful to everyone who listened, and I hope I gave them something a little different on the radio. And I'll continue to be a little different wherever I end up next. In the meantime, I'm on Twitter @RayOnTheAir, feel free to say hi!"
In a statement Friday, Hubbard Radio chair Ginny Morris said:
"Today is a very tough and unprecedented day at Hubbard Radio. The extended and extreme revenue challenges that we are experiencing as a result of government mandated shutdowns due to COVID-19 have forced us to make some very difficult decisions about our workforce….
"Many of you are likely wondering 'is this the end to the changes?' I certainly hope so but the simple truth is that we will need to continue to be responsive to the environment we are living and operating in. My greatest hope, of course, is that the loosening of restrictions in some of our markets will continue and build and advertisers and consumer alike will begin to gain confidence in spending and investing again. It’s pretty hard to advertise if your doors are closed and that is the position that a great many of our advertising partners find themselves in."
I'll update this story if I confirm more departures from Cincinnati Hubbard stations.