News 12 First at Five, April 30, 2009
AUGUSTA, Ga.---The face of radio in Augusta is changing. One of the country's largest radio station owner's announced major layoffs this week. Many of the cuts will send some of your favorite personalities packing.
Charlie James started in Augusta and later took a job in Columbia for a bigger market. That has all come crashing down.
"I don't have the right to be angry," said Charlie. "To be angry would be counter productive."
Charlie is refusing to sing the blues. After 20 years in radio, he's being told he's gotta go.
"Gotta go gotta go," said Charlie. "I can't look at it as a negative. It will eat me alive."
Even snagging the Academy of Country Music's personality of the year award wasn't enough to keep Charlie safe as people tune out of radio and into new media.
Erin Walker says the choice is clear.
"It's talking and commercials, and advertising," said Erin. "When I'm at the gym for instance I don't want to listen to that."
"You're going to see radios lose voices left and right," said Charlie. "What that really hurts is local business."
Ad revenue is down 23 percent. 1200 jobs have been cut since January, including 600 this week.
"What radio has to do if it wants to survive is figure out how to give people something so compelling to listen to that they will put this[Ipod} down and pick them up," said Charlie.
He fears things will get worse.
"My full time job right now is looking for a full time job," said Charlie. "Because that gives you your worth and your value. I also have to keep in mind that radio is what I do. It is not who I am."
LOCAL STATIONS IMPACTED:
Craig Boogie of Power 107
Mike Montgomery of WBBQ
Robb Thomas of WBBQ
Mighty Peanut of 96.3