Published on Thursday, 25 August 2011 11:06
It has been a year of extreme management turmoil at the south-suburban NextMedia radio stations. As of late yesterday, the Joliet area cluster has lost yet another Program Director, which is in essence, their fifth PD lost in just over eight months.
The turmoil all began in the middle of December 2010
, when NextMedia chose to push out longtime (by NextMedia standards, anyway) employee Ryan Snow, who was the Operations Manager of NextMedia's Joliet/Aurora cluster of five radio stations, as well as the Program Director for NextMedia's south-suburban WRXQ-FM and WSSR-FM. He had held these positions since November 2006.
Patrick Pendergast, the General Manager of NextMedia's Joliet/Aurora cluster of radio stations, took on Snow's Operations Manger duties. He had joined the company five months prior
as a General Manager. They immediately hired Eddie Ybarra to take over as Snow's replacement as PD at WSSR-FM & WRXQ-FM. Ybarra lasted only 2.5 days before NextMedia had to let him go. Apparently, somebody at the company forgot to check out Ybarra prior to hiring him and found out after the fact that he had an issue with his driving record that violated company policy.
The PD duties at WRXQ-FM were then given to afternoon star Freak
, although he was considered to be the "Interim Program Director." Freak had been PD of WRXQ-FM previously from 2006-2008. At WSSR-FM, Maggie Peterson acted as Interim PD.
In February, NextMedia hired Tim Dukes to be their Director of Operations for their suburban Chicago cluster, overseeing programming at all eight stations, as well as taking over the Program Director duties at WSSR-FM. Dukes last only 4.5 months before he left NextMedia and took a job outside of radio in Dallas. Scott Childers then became Interim PD of WSSR, while Freak remained Interim PD of WRXQ.
, NextMedia hired veteran radio programmer and consultant J.J. Duling to be the new Program Director of both WSSR-FM and WRXQ-FM. Childers was named Assistant PD of WSSR and Freak went back to be the afternoon jock only. A month and a half later Duling is gone. J.J. Dulin confirmed to CRM this morning that as of late yesterday, he has indeed parted ways with NextMedia and was moving back south to Louisville, KY, while he waits for his next opportunity. Despite his very short time working in Chicagoland, he had nothing negative to say about NextMedia, adding "I got to meet some really terrific people there."
Scott Childers looks to once again be the Interim PD at WSSR-FM. In the meantime, WRXQ-FM has lost their back-up PD. Freak announced this morning
that he, too, had left the station. He has joined Navteq as a part-time traffic reporter and looks to be joining another company's radio station in some role next week.
WRXQ-FM has turned to longtime rock radio man Zander to take over WRXQ-FM's programming. Zander is already the PD for classic-rock sister-station WERV-FM in Aurora, so his taking over hard classic rock WRXQ-FM as well seemed like an easy decision for the company to make. Zander has also been programming and hosting the nationally syndicated shows "The Rockin' 80's" and "The Rockin' 70's" for many years.
Zander's first move as new PD was to fill the afternoon gap left by the sudden loss of Freak. WRXQ-FM's evening host Mitch Michaels
has been moved to afternoons, at least for the foreseeable future. Michaels is one of the biggest names in Chicago rock radio history, having worked in local radio since the very early 70's. In addition to WRXQ-FM, he has worked at WGLD-FM, WXRT-FM, WDAI-FM, WKQX-FM, WLUP-FM, WBBM-FM, WCKG-FM, WLS-FM, WXCD-FM, and the original Nine-FM.
Outside of Patrick Pendergast, who took on Ryan Snow's Operations Manager duties, and recently celebrated his 1 year anniversary with the company, NextMedia's WSSR-FM and WRXQ-FM have not had any consistent leadership since the firing of Snow. While the company has a surprisingly good track record of keeping on-air talent, they have a consistently bad record of keeping management in place... especially in the last year.