Longtime local radio voice 'Marvelous Marvin' Boone off air in CBS Radio Tampa restructuring
He found out this morning, when WRBQ-FM program director Mason Dixon informed Boone, 52, that he would no longer appear on Q105's 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. midday shift. "I was the victim of budget cuts," said Boone, who has worked at WRBQ for eight years. "Everybody's downsizing...so, now my new job is getting a job."
Boone's departure is one of several personnel moves made at Tampa-area CBS Radio stations today, including the departure of several staffers at smooth jazz station WSJT-FM. At WSJT, local programmers have been replaced by Broadcast Architecture, a California-based consulting company which offers syndicated radio shows by smooth jazz musicians such as pianist Ramsey Lewis and saxophonist Dave Koz.
The change, implemented today, means only WSJT's morning show will feature local, live voices, displacing longtime personalities Alicia Kaye, George Nix and Al Santana. Ed Krampf, who took over as CBS Radio's top executive in Tampa Oct. 1, declined to confirm a report on the Radio & Records Web site that close to 20 people left the company following the changes.
"The ratings (at WSJT) weren't very good," said Krampf, who downplayed the cost savings element of the changes at the smooth jazz station. "We're adding some real brand names to maximize the ratings potential of the station."
Industry experts speculated CBS Radio might be planning a shakeup following the sudden departure of longtime Tampa market manager Charlie Ochs at the beginning of October. The company owns six stations in the area, including WRBQ, WSJT, WLLD-FM (Wild 98.7), WQYK-FM (99.5), WQYK-AM (1010 Sports Radio) and WYUU-FM (La Nueva 92).
Boone, 52, was full of wry humor today, fielding phone calls from tearful fans who seemed to take his departure worse than he has. A West Virginia native who landed at a New Port Richey station in 1977, Boone has worked at WMTX-FM (Mix 96), WHBO-AM (1040) and WFLA-AM (970) at various times, earning a reputation as master of oldies rock 'n' roll trivia. (at left, a picture from a 2006 Times feature on Boone's 115-pound weight loss)
The son and namesake of a radio DJ, Marvin Boone Sr., he remained philosophical about losing his job -- well aware that fewer radio stations are using established local voices for midday shifts, relying instead on distant syndicated DJs or low-priced new talent.
"I watched my dad get fired, I know the drill," said Boone, who already has a business DJ-ing for private functions and hopes to find a new job in local radio (see his Web site here). "I'm a man of faith, so I know God's in control, not me...All I know, is the Rays better win, or I'll really be depressed."