Fired Hosts Reflect on A Changing Industry


Your position is being eliminated. It’s a phrase that’s become the norm in the radio industry. When expenses must be reduced it’s become a fairly easy decision to eliminate local hosts and pipe in syndicated music. That’s what happened to three Cumulus hosts in Pennsylvania this week, Charles Angelo, Ryan Downes and Steph Pagliaro.

Pagliaro posted her feelings on her Facebook page. “Radio is a tough business right now. Several positions were cut and mine was one of them. I am still in shock and I’m not sure when I’ll be ready to accept it. Heartbreak doesn’t even begin to describe what I feel. This was never a “job” to me… it was my passion, my heart, my life, and all I wanted to do. Now my heart feels empty. I’m devastated not only for myself, but for my friends/coworkers. Being heartbroken yourself while also watching your friends get their heart broken at the same time is an unexplainable kind of sadness. I’m not ready to look towards the future and can’t imagine myself doing anything else. I don’t see any light right now. It’s not even enough to say that my world has been turned upside down… it’s been taken from me and will never be the same. For the first time in my life, I cannot find an ounce of optimism in this situation. But I know I’ll get there someday.”

All three discussed their situation with

Pagliaro said, “We are aware that radio isn’t necessarily a huge growing industry right now, but we never expected it to come to this at this point. We did the show yesterday. Everything’s great. Everything’s fine. And then at 10 o’clock, we have the meeting. And that was it. We were told that the last show ever.”

And, the axe typically comes without a warning, just in case any host has any thoughts of doing PR damage on the air. Downes: “We found out in the last hour of our show on Wednesday. We were told that we weren’t necessarily being fired, but our positions were being eliminated.” Downes hosted the Morning Madhouse for 15 years before being fired.

Angelo told that when it’s your time to go, the radio industry doesn’t mess around. “When you get fired in radio, it’s not like, ‘all right, you’re going to be here another two weeks.’ When you’re fired, you’re fired.”

Downes believes the radio industry needs to shift or it will not be around much longer. “We’re fighting constant battles, battles for people’s ears, battles for people advertising money. Radio’s in a tough position, but if they can find their niche and find their lane and stay in it, and be focused, I don’t think it’s going anywhere.”

From Downes’ Facebook page: “My world has been turned upside down and I am left feeling lost.”

Read the full article HERE


  1. BigA’s point is well taken.
    Inferior talent – according to audience responses – does no outfit any good.
    Now, if Programming was stifling the talent, as it most always does, there is another element to the story.

  2. The other side of this story is that the Cumulus Country station these former hosts worked for was one of three country stations in town, and it was the lowest rated station of the three. In fact, it went from a 2 share a year ago to a 1 share in the latest book. They lost half of their audience in one year. None of that was mentioned in the article. Why spend the money on local staff when the local audience prefers the competition? It’s really hard to justify. The iHeart country station has 3 times as many listeners.

  3. Rare are the cases where Talent is recognized as a necessary investment rather than a resented expense.
    If pro sports was being run similarly, there wouldn’t be much appeal or a market for those franchises.
    Even the Oakland “A”s during the “Billy Ball” era had a budget for talent.
    The constant mewling and whining from radio ownership wears poorly and becomes extremely annoying in very short order.
    Talent and would-be Talent needs to understand the realities that have been more and more obvious for decades.

  4. Just a note of encouragement to fellow broadcasters who have lost their jobs. One of the great things we miss when leaving the air is the contact with our listeners. We love being recognized at Wal-Mart or the grocery and having a fan tell us about a joke we told or something clever we did. Just because you are no longer on the air doesn’t mean you have left the minds of the listeners. It takes many years to be forgotten, especially if you have been on the air for several years at one station. You may not be ____insert name_______on the air BUT you are still that person when you walk the streets of your market.

  5. My last full-time job was tampa 30 tv in 2013 Radio was over Oct. 2010. Internet companies top 10 in America are looking at revenues over 100, billion per year and there’s just no room for radio. radio walked away from its audience with too many commercials Not enough programming to hold the audiences.
    One single website exceeds all of the annual revenue of all radio stations combined. We don’t watch after your audience they will go find something else.

  6. Saving money by eliminating local personalities and content is a horrible business practice for radio. This is what distinguishes it from Pandora, Apple Music and other streaming services. If radio needs to save money another idea is to save it at the corporate level. Less top down management and more local leadership. Just my take after 43 years in the business.

    • You are spot on John, but no one who can change things for the better is listening. IHeart, Cumulus, Beasley, and some other smaller radio companies, are all about debt servicing and “cutting expenses.” To them, voice-tracking and syndication are ok, even though both of those make the local radio station signal irrelevant. They are ok with cluster breaks, even though the advertisers buried in the middle of the cluster breaks are getting a fraction of the audience that the station represented to them, let alone dramatically diminished results from the commercial. They are ok with paying $12.00 an hour to their weekend and part-time “announcers” — professional, top-talent personalities would never work for McDonalds type wages. They are ok with constantly cutting salespeople’s earnings, and burying them with a barrage of required “reports” and useless , productivity-killing meetings. And yet, they wonder why they can’t attract any top salespeople!!
      These companies have made Radio 2019 an absolute farce. And it’s ironic how they whine about receiving less share of advertisers’ dollars, and how they and the “consultants” on these Radio Ink pages often blame the salespeople (certainly can’t blame THE OWNERS, right?! – they hire and pay the consultants !) for the systemic problems of radio, that are making AM/FM more irrelevant each day.


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