From the Enquirer

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Last Updated: 6:55 pm | Thursday, November 30, 2006
Radio station owner fires 19
BY JOHN KIESEWETTER | ENQUIRER STAFF WRITER

Longtime WEBN-FM midday DJ Wendy Walker and WCKY-AM sports talk host Jeff Piecoro were among 19 employees fired Wednesday in a downsizing similar to other Clear Channel markets.

“It was a blood gushing,” said Greg Waddell, a sports reporter and producer for WCKY-AM (1530) and WLW-AM (700). He was terminated in a late Wednesday afternoon phone call.

The cutbacks are part of an extensive restructuring by Clear Channel, the world’s largest radio station owner, which is being sold for $18.7 billion to private investors. Staff reductions have been made at stations from New York and San Francisco to Lexington and Louisville.

Also losing their jobs here were Mike Stevens and Madison from WVMX-FM (MIX94.1); Storm Bennett from WKFS-FM (KISS107.1); Richard “Scoop” Cowell, a WEBN-FM (102.7) morning “Dawn Patrol” sidekick; promotion employees; and station board operators.

General Manager Karrie Sudbrack and other Clear Channel managers in the Kenwood office could not be reached for comment, despite numerous attempts. The employees were told at a 4:30 p.m. meeting Wednesday that their jobs had been eliminated.

Clear Channel staffers had been worried about cutbacks for several weeks, after streamlining at many sister stations.

“We knew this was coming. Rumors were all over the hallways,” said Waddell, of Monroe, a four-year employee and a 20-year radio veteran who worked six days a week.

“I don’t blame the people (bosses) here. It’s not their fault. This is a call made by the home office in San Antonio,” said Piecoro of Crescent Springs.

Piecoro was a valuable utility player for the company. In addition to his 10 a.m.-noon weekday show, he hosted Bengals post-game call-in shows on WLW-AM and WCKY-AM, and weekly University of Cincinnati coaches’ call-in shows.

Piecoro also does University of Cincinnati basketball broadcasts for WXIX-TV (Channel 19), radio commentary for University of Kentucky football, and Reds TV work for Fox Sports Net Ohio.

Bennett also said he has other options to fall back on. He owns Quality Sounds DJs and Killer Creative Media.

Walker, who could not be reached for comment, had joined WEBN-FM in 1995 as a part-time promotions employee. Later that year she became a DJ on the station she had listened to since attending Miamitown Elementary School, where she formed a WEBN club.

“Scoop” Cowell had been part of ’EBN mornings for only seven months. “I love Cincinnati. I’ll hate to leave,” he said.