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WTOP Announces Newsroom Contract Buyouts

The contract buyouts are a Voluntary Separation Program for all full-time non-managerial staff

Eduardo Razo

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WTOP announced to staff on Tuesday that the company is offering contract buyouts to staffers who work in the newsroom for the station, website, or website development.

The contract buyouts are a Voluntary Separation Program for all full-time non-managerial staff and are not for the remainder of the station’s departments. Furthermore, they are for staffers 55 years or older and whose tenure with WTOP would add up to 65.

“During the pandemic, in DC and across the country in all Hubbard markets, there was downsizing. WTOP programming did not downsize. We hoped that the economy, radio listening in DC, radio listening at WTOP and our revenue would all come back close to 2019 levels. In 2021 we made some progress, but in 2022 both listening and revenue have gone backwards from 2021 levels, let alone where they were compared to 2019,” Senior Vice President and General Manager Joel Oxley said in a statement (h/t Radio Insight)

“In the past number of months we have reduced controllable costs wherever we were able to in marketing, outside vendors and not replacing personnel. We felt we needed to take this additional step of offering the Program to continue to try to be more in line with the current economic landscape, while giving eligible employees the opportunity to choose whether to accept the separation packages being offered in connection with the Program. Any eligible employee who elects to participate in the Program will receive the specific separation package offered to that employee, subject to the conditions identified in the Program.”

Along with announcing the buyouts, WTOP will also see Director of Content Integration and Operations, Craig Schwalb, leaving the radio station. Schwalb had been with the station since 2020. He had previously programmed WABC in New York, WPRO in Providence, WRBZ in Raleigh and had also worked for CBS Radio and SiriusXM.

WTOP has been one of radio’s top billing stations for years, so the news is likely to leave some in the news/talk radio industry concerned. Station Market Manager Joel Oxley just won the Marconi award for Legendary Radio Manager of the Year at last week’s NAB Show.

News Radio

Howard Stern Reveals MSNBC Go-To Source for News

Stern told “Morning Joe” in an extensive interview that MSNBC is the network for him regarding cable news consumption.

Eduardo Razo

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SiriusXM radio host Howard Stern told “Morning Joe’s” Joe Scarborough and Willie Geist in an extensive interview that MSNBC is the network for him regarding cable news consumption. 

Stern stated that he’s a major fan of “Morning Joe” and went the extra mile to say that he and co-host Joe Scarborough share the same political idealogy.

“I watch you guys every morning,” Stern said (h/t Mediaite). “I really enjoy the show. Oddly, I agree politically with almost everything Joe says. I don’t think there’s much difference there.”

The radio host thanked MSNBC for providing him with what he loves: 24/7 news. Additionally, Stern offered a shoutout to network host Symone Sanders and stated he’s no fan of Dateline repeats.

“By the way, I want to give a shoutout to MSNBC,” Stern added. “Thank God you don’t play the old Datelines anymore on the weekends. I like news. I watch this channel exclusively for news. I tune out on the weekend. 

“It’s like all news stuff. I’m watching old Datelines. I like when you guys are onI like news 24/7, and now I find I’m getting it. I get Symone on the weekend. Big fan of hers. Symone coming on strong. What can I tell you? I know the whole lineup.”

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News Radio

Trespassing Charges Against John DePetro Dismissed

DePetro have been dismissed as he faced a trespassing charge related to an incident over the summer during a Monday court hearing.

Eduardo Razo

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Charges against John DePetro have been dismissed as the radio host faced a trespassing charge related to an incident over the summer during a Monday court hearing.

DePetro was arrested in mid-August outside a home on Staples Avenue in Warwick.

Police searched the house several months earlier as part of an investigation into the disappearance of Charlotte Lester, who has been missing for six months.

“I respect our justice system and respect law enforcement, specifically the Warwick PD,” DePetro said on Twitter. “The search for Charlotte Lester continues as I resume efforts searching for answers into her disappearance and holding Mark Perkins accountable for his actions against myself and Ladybug.”

The man who lives there, Mark Perkins, was also arrested the following day after he allegedly charged at DePetro with a lawnmower while DePetro was live-streaming. 

Unlike DePetro, who had his charges dismissed, Perkins still faces an assault charge, according to court records.

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News Radio

Oklahoma’s The Eagle 96.9 Rebrands as Freedom 96.9

KZLS started simulcasting on KQOB at the beginning of this year after the 96.9 signal was leased to Citadel and Cumulus Media for nineteen years. 

Eduardo Razo

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Champlin Broadcasting Conservative Talk The Eagle 96.9 KQOB Enid/Oklahoma City and 1640 KZLS Enid will look a little different for its listeners as the station has rebranded.

Rather than calling itself The Eagle 96.9, the radio station will now be known as Freedom 96.9 (h/t Radio Insight). KZLS started simulcasting on KQOB at the beginning of this year after the 96.9 signal was leased to Citadel and Cumulus Media for nineteen years. 

The station features a syndicated lineup, including Hugh Hewitt, Brian Kilmeade, Dan Bongino, Mike Gallagher, Joe Pags, and Bill O’Reilly. Furthermore, with the rebrand possibly comes a new addition.

Freedom 96.9 is teasing the addition of Dana Loesch to the lineup as well to enhance the rebrand further as the station begins a new chapter as it provides news/talk to the residents. 

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