Cumulus Media, Inc. layed off several of their experienced DJs on Friday, claiming the moves were part of budget cuts.
Some of the more notable employees who were dismissed included US103’s “Radio Rich” Bowers and LouAnn Fulmer, who have been on air in Topeka for the past 16 years, as well as Chris Gallagher of the Majic 107.7 morning show and KC Garrett of the V100 morning show.
This was nearly two months to the day after popular V100 DJ Joey Baggz, who was also on the morning show, was let go by the company.
The radio market in Topeka is practically a monopoly, with most of the big name stations being owned by the same Atlanta-based company. It is unfortunate that there really isn’t any room for a locally-owned station to make leeway, for surely they would see the benefit in holding onto nearly iconic figures in the local media.
Of course, the television market has seen similar turnover, as several anchors that some people grew up watching have already left town (Bruce “Cyclone” Jones and Amy Lietz are two prime examples). Of course, they had a choice to leave, unlike the unfortunate radio hosts.
So the question now remains: What will happen to the unemployed DJs in town? There are three solutions that I can think of off the top of my head. The radio personalities may sign with a station in another city, find a job in another area of work or a new company will form to keep the talent in Topeka.
The latter of the three choices is perhaps the most unlikely, but it’s an exciting option to consider. A new company could offer jobs to both unemployed DJs that can bring experience to the table, as well as up-and-coming talent from local colleges. It may also make Washburn realize that radio broadcasting is a valid major.
The Internet also holds exciting possibilities for the future of radio. Jim Cates, who was fired by Cumulus’ Majic 107.7 two days after announcing his plans for retirement, has made a comeback hosting his own webcasts with The Topeka Capital-Journal at CJOnline.com. Opportunities like this may be available, and could start a new brand of radio in Topeka.