Charlie Ochs leaves job running CBS Radio's six Tampa Bay area stations
He knows people are going to assume he got fired. When you resign from a gig running six Tampa Bay area radio stations with little notice and no new job, veterans of the rat race that is the radio industry can smell a forced departure like day-old cheese.
But Charlie Ochs, who is spending his last day as Tampa Bay area market manager for CBS Radio today, insists it was his decision to leave the company. Ed Krampf, a former senior vice president for Clear Channel Radio, will take his place running WLLD-FM (Wild 98.7), WQYK-FM (99.5), WQYK-AM (1010 Sports Radio), WRBQ-FM (Q-105), WSJT-FM (Smooth Jazz) and WYUU-FM (La Nueva 92.5).
"Sometimes you get to the point where you know that it would probably be better for the company and staff if some new ideas came in," said Ochs, who has been at CBS Radio locally since 2000. "You wake up at night and can't go back to sleep and don't really know why -- but it's the pressure. After a while, I thought someone else could probably be more effective."
I last spoke with Ochs back in April, when Wild 97 morning man and program director Orlando was seemingly yanked off the air in a cheeky protest that almost went too far. We also talked when I wrote about local radio's effort to develop HD Radio stations for the market.
Ochs, a 46-year veteran of the radio industry, has done everything from DJ-ing in his hometown of Klamath Falls, Ore., to managing the Washington D.C.-area stations for CBS Radio predecessor Viacom. Now the 63-year-old former combat correspondent for the Army in Vietnam ("It was my job to take the Army correspondents out to get shot at and get stories," he said, laughing) is unsure where he might land next.
"Stress is when you have to dive behind a rice paddy about 2 feet tall . . . bullets impacting on the other side," he said. "I was just under pressure. I don't want to retire, but this had just gotten to the point where it was for my own good, for the company's good and it was the right thing for me to do."