Program director at Tampa's WDAE-AM and WFLA-AM among staffers laid off by Clear Channel nationwide today
The program director for Tampa sports talk station WDAE-AM (620) and political talk outlet WFLA-AM (970) was among the staffers laid off today by radio giant Clear Channel in a round of downsizing implemented nationally just a few weeks before Christmas.
Steve Versnick, 37, came to Tampa in 2010 to serve as program director at WFLA, later adding WDAE and WHNZ-AM (1250) to his responsibilities. A Clear Channel employee for more than 15 years, Versnick declined to comment on his departure.
Clear Channel's vice president of programming in Tampa Doug Hamand, who is presumably taking over Versnick's duties at WFLA and WDAE, declined to say how many people had been laid off in Tampa or how it might affect on air lineups, writing in an email to the Tampa Bay Times "as a policy, and out of respect, we don't discuss details on personnel matters."
One question: Will Versnick's previously announced plans to replace outgoing political talker Todd Schnitt with another local show on WFLA still hold? Or might Fox News host Sean Hannity get bumped up to 3 p.m. so his show can air live when it is broadcast to many other affiliates?
Radio trade publications have noted downsizing at Clear Channel outlets across the country today. RadioInsight.com reported that Ryan Nelson and Jenny Dean, both on air personalities at Tampa country music station WFUS-FM (103.5) were also let go today (Dean served as an anchor on local cable news channel Bay News 9 for five years before moving into radio)
And the website AllAccess.com featured a statement from Clear Channel, which read in part, "We are constantly looking at all aspects of our business to ensure that it reflects how the best organizations work today...In the process of making these recent changes, some employees were affected. We thank them for their service and wish them all the best for the future."
The New York Times reported in October 2011 that Clear Channel laid off dozens of local radio personalities in a revamping of 600 small, regional radio stations. The company would not say how many people lost jobs then.