The phone wouldn't stop ringing at "Marvelous Marvin" Boone's home Wednesday, as tearful fans and friends called up incredulous that he had been let go from WRBQ-FM after eight years.
Boone, 52, is a local radio institution, with more than 30 years at various Tampa Bay area radio stations. But on Wednesday, program director/morning man Mason Dixon told him he would no longer appear on WRBQ's 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. midday shift.
"I was the victim of budget cuts," said Boone, who sounded less upset about the move than his fans. "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 Wednesday, including the departure of several staffers at smooth jazz station WSJT-FM.
The change, implemented Wednesday, 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.
"The ratings (at WSJT) weren't very good," said Krampf, who downplayed the cost-savings element of the changes at the smooth jazz station. CBS Radio 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).
"We're adding some real brand names to maximize the ratings potential of the station," he added.
Boone, a West Virginia native who landed at a New Port Richey station in 1977, 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.
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.
"I watched my dad get fired, I know the drill," said Boone, who hopes to find a new job in local radio. "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."