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Posts Tagged ‘Catherine Smith’

News Gone From WEMP, Alternative Music Returns

Staff meetings were held this morning at Merlin Media stations in New York, WEMP, and in Chicago, WIQI. Effective immediately, WEMP has flipped from its ill-fated News format. However, the surprise is, a planned News/Talk hybrid like Merlin is using in Philadelphia, is not happening.

The station is returning to its Emmis roots with 101.9 New Rock, an Alternative rock station.

The handwriting has been on the wall for FM News/WEMP to make a major change, after it was unable to get past a .6 in the ratings. Interestingly, a News/Talk idea gained traction when the station hired Mark Austin Thomas, a veteran of that genre.

Merlin Media CEO Randy Michaels tells All Access, ”It was a difficult decision to make, but after a year of minimal audience engagement, coupled with the format’s inherent expense, I felt it was time to make a change. I’d like to thank the people who poured their heart and soul into the effort and I wish them all the best.”

Update: FishbowlNY has learned from a source close to the situation at WEMP that virtually the entire staff has been let go, including management. News director Thomas, hired in May, and last month Terry Sheridan, brought in from WINS as newsroom manager, also was sent packing. We’re told a several younger editors, and a couple of reporters, siblings Mike Murillo and Michelle Murillo stay on, primarily to gather news for the sister station in Philadelphia. The new Alternative format began just as the 10 a.m. meeting concluded, although without jocks for the time being.

We’re told that the anchors Alice Stockton-Rossini, Catherine Smith, and Dave Packer are among the purged. However, Maria Garcia does remain. She has many years of DJ experience on Long Island.

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Lauren Berger Writes New Book for Young People Entering "Real World"

Lauren Berger Welcome to the Real WorldCareer Expert, Lauren Berger, releases her second book, Welcome to the Real World: Finding Your Place, Perfecting Your Work, and Turning Your Job Into Your Dream Career (Harper Business), on April 22nd. In this book, Berger shares everything she wishes someone told her after graduation. Her book is the essential guide to anyone starting their first, second, or third job. She encourages readers to be fearless, step outside of their comfort zones, and go after what they want.

WEMP Fires Managing Editor Doug O’Brien

The last connection to the old regime at WEMP/FM News 101.9 has been severed. FishbowlNY has learned exclusively that managing editor Doug O’Brien, a veteran of New York radio, was fired.

Earlier this week, we reported that WEMP hired Mark Austin Thomas as the station’s VP/news director.

O’Brien was one of several hires, before the launch last summer, from WINS. He made the move with his wife Catherine Smith. Sources says Smith remains as WEMP anchor.

O’Brien brought his distinct sound to WINS listeners for 14 years. He also worked for WCBS-AM and as news director at WNBC in the mid 1980s.

Although primarily an off-air job at WEMP, O’Brien, who was let go yesterday, occasionally was heard voicing taped features and reporting during severe weather.

WEMP Covers October Snowstorm in Haphazard Fashion

The new kid on the news block, WEMP, fails to use the historic snowstorm to its advantage.

As Merlin Media’s FM News 101.9/WEMP was officially starting in August, we reported on their failed coverage of record-setting rainfall.

On Saturday, weather brought the spotlight was back to WEMP with the most October snow to ever fall in New York (1.3 inches), and much more in the suburbs.

Forecasters had been eyeing this weekend for the affects of a Nor’easter in the tri-state region.

However, WEMP did not to plan accordingly.

In the afternoon, as the storm intensified, listeners heard anchors Therese Crowley and Gene Michaels lead with the weather story. WEMP even offered updates from staffers, including anchor Catherine Smith, Doug O’Brien, and producer Judy Speicher. Unlike stalwarts WCBS and WINS, WEMP featured the radio pros “holed up” in their homes.

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WEMP/101.9 Debuts News Format, Struggles to Find Sound

There had been plenty of rumor and speculation surrounding 101.9 since Merlin Media took over the former Rock station WRXP last month. After playing an interim mix of 1980s pop music, 101.9 FM “New” finally added the “s” to its name Monday (after a “soft launch” over the  weekend). With its new call letters WEMP, 101.9 is now New York’s only full-time FM news station, a slogan the news anchors are quick to promote.

WEMP does employ some major talent, including those who’ve called WINS and WCBS-AM home.

Reports have indicated that Merlin was gearing 101.9 toward women in the 25 to 54 age bracket, especially the younger end of that group. It doesn’t take long to see that’s definitely the case.

Anchors used the interim format as a trial period to get the kinks out. However, we’d soon learn that would not be the case.   

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Merlin Media Grabs Several WINS Staffers for New 101.9

As WRXP/101.9 plays its final songs this week, there is another clue that Merlin Media is headed for a All-News or News/Talk format.

There’s word today of a fire sale at 1010 WINS.

FishbowlNY has learned from a source close to the story that least four WINS staffers have “handed in the their two-weeks notice” and are leaving for the new 101.9.

The source tells FishbowlNY that it’s possible that “others may follow their lead.”

Media confidential reports the talent jumping ship includes anchor (and managing editor) Doug O’Brien and his wife anchor Catherine Smith and reporters Alice Stockton-Rossini, Kathleen Maloney, and Brett Larson.

Merlin recently registered the Web address  www.1019wyny.com.