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March 10, 2008
Update: R.I. loses its only local all-sports radio station as Citadel changes formats at WSKO
Rhode Island lost its only local all-sports radio station today when Citadel Broadcasting told employees it would be changing formats on WSKO AM and FM.
"In the end, it was purely a business decision," said Barbara Haynes, Citadel's general manager. "The hosts'' -- Andy Gresh and Scott Zolak in the morning, and Scott Cordischi in the afternoon -- "are good men, and they have a great future in radio."
"And the programming was first-rate," added Ron St. Pierre, WSKO's programming director.
But Haynes confirmed the arrival of WEEI-FM, Boston's powerful all-sports radio station, into the Rhode Island market in April 2004, started a downward spiral in WSKO's ratings.
WSKO's FM signal, 99.7, will begin simulcasting WPRO-AM's programming on Tuesday. To avoid confusion with the existing WPRO-FM signal, it will be called "Newstalk Radio 630 and 99.7" on the FM side.
The AM signal, 790, will continue to carry "Imus In The Morning" and will carry syndicated ESPN programming for the rest of the week. Haynes and St. Pierre said plans beyond that had not been finalized, though Cordischi indicated the station would switch to a syndicated oldies-music format.
Cordischi said he was told of the decision when he arrived at the station Monday afternoon to begin preparing for his show. He did not go on the air; ESPN's "Stephen A. Smith Show" was broadcast in its place. Gresh and Zolak did their normal broadcast, but were told after their show was over.
"We had no inkling. None of us did,'' said Cordischi, who said the station's employees will receive four weeks' severance pay. Cordischi had signed a three-year contract in January, but said the contract contained a clause which stipulated the agreement could be severed at any time.
Posted by Art Martone at 3:40 PM | Permalink
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