The voice of Orange County and the Inland Empire was laid off by KFI AM 640 last week. Jay Lawrence, 60, who got his start as a college stringer, reporting golf games, says that in his 18 years reporting for the radio station he survived firestorms, earthquakes and being shot at. But budget cuts got him.
“They called me in the office on Thursday and said, ‘Goodbye. Here’s your severance check,’” Lawrence told FBLA.
Lawrence is good-natured about his own situation, but he is not optimistic about the future of corporate radio.
“They’re really giving up quality for quantity,” Lawrence said. “It’s sad that the bean counters have no idea about the news business. I have a feeling that it’s going to bite them in the butt down the line.”
He also fears for the next generation: “There are a lot of kids out there that are probably the greatest broadcasters in the world, but the pay is going to be nothing.”
KFI is owned by ClearChannel.
Lawrence said his plans include getting a heart stent on Jan. 12, a lot of rest, some golf and getting up a normal hour.
“I’ve been getting up for 20 years now at 3:30 in the morning. Sometimes when I’d have to go into Burbank (from his home in Dana Point), I’d get up at 2,” he said. “I’m going to try to take it easy. I can’t get upset with it because I knew the budget cuts were coming, but it was shock.”
Lawrence said he might try to do voice overs. But he’s probably done with news: It’s been a great life, but it’s been a grind. It’s nice to be driving around now and listen to music and not have to worry about listening to LA news stations.”