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Cumulus Chicago Releases Numerous Staffers

Cumulus Media Chicago, the operator of four radio stations in the Chicago market, fired or released many of its on-air and off-air staffers on Friday. It was the type of radio corporation mass layoff usually reserved for the end of the year, but only this time, coming in the heart of springtime. Traffic reporters, DJs, production people, and more were all told their services were no longer needed by Cumulus management today.

Cumulus Chicago owns WLS-AM 890 and WLS-FM 94.7. It also operates -- via a lease agreement with owner Merlin Media -- WLUP-FM/97.9 The Loop and WKQX-FM/101WKQX.

As is to be expected, Cumulus is not commenting on the Friday layoffs. The usual reason of declining revenues, combined with rising expenses (including all new studios for the Cumulus Chicago in the last year), look to be what was behind the multiple releases.

Many of the Cumulus Chicago layoffs were of female traffic reporters. Among those confirmed to be released were WLS-AM's Christina Filiaggi and Jen DeSalvo and WLS-FM's Marti Jones -- all three of which are Chicago radio veterans. Filiaggi's most recent stint with WLS-AM began in March 2010, although she had been with the station twice before. DeSalvo has been the traffic anchor and unofficial co-host of the afternoon show on WLS-FM starting in November 2013, but in January 2015, moved down to sister-station WLS-AM as the traffic anchor for that station's morning show. Jones had been with Cumulus and WLS-FM since September 2010.

UPDATE 1: WLS-FM and WLS-AM traffic reporter JoAnn Genette has also been removed from Cumulus Chicago.

It's not just traffic reporters that have been released, though. WLUP-FM nighttime DJ Pyke, aka Jeremy Peterson, was released today and his information has already been scrubbed clean from the 97.9 The Loop website. A native of northern Wisconsin, Pyke previously worked nights in Chicago at WKQX-FM, the former Q101, starting in 1999. In March 2001, he left Q101 and joined WKSC-FM as their nighttime DJ. The "Pyke at Night" show only lasted one year. After working in other markets for many years, he returned to Chicago and WLUP-FM in September 2014.

Other full-time nighttime jocks could be on the way out, replaced by part-time, weekend, freelance, and/or voice-tracked help.

UPDATE 2: WLS-FM nighttime DJ Jeff Davis is rumored to be among the cuts. Davis has been doing his shows remotely from his home studio in California.

UPDATE 3: Also rumored to be among the cuts is WLS-AM sports reporter Rachel Brady, who has only been with the station for one year.

In addition to the on-air voices, many off-air employees, especially from WLUP-FM and WKQX-FM, have been let go. Among those is Chicago radio veteran Scott Dirks.

This article will be updated with additional information regarding the Cumulus Chicago layoffs as it becomes available.

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