- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 1, 2008

A longtime radio host was laid off, and jazz was dropped for oldies yesterday in a major shake-up for D.C. radio.

Talk-radio host Chris Core was one of many casualties as Las Vegas-based Citadel Broadcasting Corp. downsized at stations across the country after posting dismal fourth-quarter earnings yesterday morning.

Mr. Core, a 33-year veteran of Citadel-owned WMAL-AM (630), was host of “the Chris Core Show” weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon. Managers gave him the news immediately after his show ended, soon removing him from the station’s Web site.

“They tell me that there have been massive financial problems at Citadel,” Mr. Core said yesterday, adding that the decision was handed down from corporate offices and was not due to ratings or advertising income, both of which he said were “fine.”

“This was not a decision made by local management. I was treated very well by the station, and I have nothing but good things to say,” he said.

Mr. Core noted that several other WMAL employees — in sales and newsroom positions alike — were also let go. He said he doesn’t know how the talk-radio outlet plans to replace him on Monday.

Executives from Citadel and WMAL did not return calls yesterday.

Also yesterday, Citadel dumped the format of “Smooth Jazz” station WJZW-FM (105.9) for “True Oldies,” resurrecting the 1950s and 1960s tunes that were ditched when WBIG-FM (100.3) shed oldies for classic rock in 2006.

Filling in the gap, local soft-rock station WASH-FM (97.1) yesterday started broadcasting smooth jazz on its second HD Radio channel.

The moves were made hours after Citadel told investors its fourth-quarter loss snowballed to $848 million ($3.24 per diluted share) from $1.1 million (1 cent) a year ago. The company attributed the results largely to poor performance at stations in major markets, including Washington, that it acquired when it purchased ABC Radio Holdings last summer.

Citadel, which has previously owned stations in small- to medium-sized markets, yesterday made cuts at former ABC Radio properties across the country, including Atlanta, New York and Chicago.

“Citadel had a bad year with these ABC stations. They bought them at exactly the wrong time,” observed Tom Taylor of Radio-Info.com. But, he added, “I think there is the danger of cutting too close to the bone.”

As for Mr. Core’s future plans, he said he is “immediately available for interviews, golf and job offers in or out of radio.”

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