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Tampa Bay radio station WRBQ cuts more staff

Just two months after longtime radio personality "Marvelous" Marvin Boone was discharged from WRBQ-FM 104.7 (Q105), CBS Radio has let go the rest of the oldies station's weekday on-air staff, except its star morning man, Mason Dixon.

In all, four personalities were cut at the station, including Dixon's longtime partner, Bill Connolly, Jo Jo Walker, Rico Blanco and Mike Reeves. The changes come at a jarring time, as the station is completing Dixon's annual Christmas Wish charity event and the gift-giving holiday is less than a week away.

Ed Krampf, Tampa market manager for WRBQ owner CBS Radio, said the staff changes were focused on elevating the station's ratings performance and were not cost-cutting measures.

Stressing that the departing WRBQ personalities will be "replaced by live bodies," Krampf said the situation was not entirely comparable to the October shakeup at sister station WSJT-FM 94.1, where the smooth jazz station's on-air staff was mostly replaced by syndicated programming from a California company. (One personality, Al Santana, is back part time and may do more in the future, Krampf said.)

Currently, WRBQ is playing Christmas music, and on Dec. 26, it will count down the 500 top songs of all time. By Dec. 29, Krampf expects the station's new lineup of personalities to take the air, including new program director Scott Walker, who is expected to work a shift. The station's format as a classic hits station is not expected to change.

Walker took over programming duties from Dixon two months ago, allowing Dixon to focus on his show, Krampf said. In the summer 2008 ratings book, WRBQ was ranked 11th in the prized 25 to 54 listener demographic.

"My goal is to get this station into the top five … but that's any manager's goal," said Krampf, who declined to give many details about the new personalities for competitive reasons. "The station will sound more like the Top 40 radio stations people were listening to when they were growing up."

Bubba Clem re-ups satellite contract

Looks like satellite radio is going to have Bubba Clem to kick around for a while longer.

Tampa radio personality Bubba the Love Sponge Clem announced Friday that he has signed a new two-year contract with the newly merged Sirius XM Radio company, the combined business created when the government approved the melding of the nation's two satellite radio companies in March.

Clem said the negotiations over his contract stretched to midnight Thursday, as he wrangled over language. But with seven-figure revenues from his Bubbapalooza comedy tour and merchandising fueled by satellite radio's national footprint, his staying on satellite was a no-brainer.

Since returning to Tampa Bay area free "terrestrial" morning radio on WHPT-FM 102.5 (The Bone) last January, Clem has risen to the top of local ratings, cutting deals to syndicate his morning show in Orlando, Miami, Fort Myers and Richmond, Va. He broadcasts the terrestrial show in the morning and the satellite show in late afternoon/evening.

The success raised questions about whether Clem would continue on satellite radio. But New York shock jock Howard Stern — who hired Clem at Sirius after he was fired by Clear Channel Radio in Tampa — announced that the Tampa jock would continue on his Howard 101 channel, airing Monday through Thursday from 3 to 7 p.m. and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Tampa Bay radio station WRBQ cuts more staff 12/19/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, December 23, 2008 3:49pm]
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