Just hours after El Dorado Broadcasters took over ownership of eight former Clear Channel radio stations in San Luis Obispo and Santa Maria, the company cut ties with four popular local radio personalities and an accounts payable manager.
Program director Ben Greenaway said that on Nov. 30, the company let go of himself, KVEC (920 AM) news anchor King Harris, and three others.
Greenaway, a 26-year-old Cal Poly graduate who's been with the station for three years, said that though he was aware there was a chance of his termination, he was caught off guard by the fast decision.
Greenaway, who hosted the station's First News program alongside Harris from 6 to 9 a.m., Monday through Friday, said he learned of his termination when a tearful coworker came to his office and handed him a severance package. He packed up and was out of the building before the 2 p.m. new orientation meeting.
"They talked about hard economic times," Greenaway said, referring to the new owners. "I can't fault them for that--maybe if I were in their position I would have to make the same decision. I think it's disappointing that the local morning show was dissolved, but there's no ill will from my end. Once the dust settles I hope the new company grows. This will just make me go out and get something better."
According to the station's website, First News has been replaced with The Laura Ingraham Show--a nationally syndicated program that discusses politics, media, and Hollywood.
Harris, a 61-year-old Central Coast journalism journeyman, could not be reached for comment as of press time.
One person who was available for comment was KVEC afternoon talk show host Dave Congalton--who is still working at the station.
"We were all surprised by the decision to let Ben and King go, but this is the reality of radio today. It's harder and harder to offer local programming," Congalton wrote in an e-mail. "I'm not sure that the average KVEC listener wants to start off his or her morning with Laura Ingraham, but nobody asked me, so I'm just going to focus on my afternoon show. We'll see what happens."
A representative from El Dorado Broadcasters did not return repeated phone calls by deadline.