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Last men standing

Seated left to right are Terry James and Mark Minnick. Standing left to right are Nick Linberg and Phil Roberts. Jon Book photo.

Jon Book in the QCRG tech room. File photo.

Anyone want to hire some experienced radio veterans?

The four guys pictured together above represent the final news team that worked at WOC and the five other Quad-City Radio Group stations in Davenport, owned by Clear Channel. At one time, QCRG had five or six full-time news people.

Joined by former QCRG engineer Jon Book, also pictured above in a file photo taken in the QCRG tech room, the radio veterans gathered for breakfast Nov. 1, 2011, at the Village Inn on Elmore Avenue in Davenport to chat about old times and recent events in broadcasting.

In the group photo, taken by Book, shown seated left to right are Terry James and Mark Minnick. Standing left to right are Nick Linberg and Phil Roberts.

James, who was a news anchor/reporter, left QCRG in November 2006 to take a news director job at a station in Milwaukee. He left that station in June 2007 to become the news director of Nebraska Radio Network in Lincoln. He returned to the Quad-Cities in June of 2011 to continue his college education.

Roberts, a news anchor/reporter, was released by Clear Channel on April 28, 2009, and is now semi-retired, doing media-related work on a part-time or freelance basis.

Book, the engineer, was released Dec. 10, 2010, and is looking for employment opportunities.

Minnick, a news director/anchor, was released Feb. 15, 2011, and is currently retired.

Linberg, a news anchor/reporter, was released Oct. 26, 2011, and is considering his future employment options.

Copyright 2011 by Phil Roberts, Creative Enterprises.

 
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Posted by on November 2, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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It’s not about performance, it’s about money

Happier times, before I lost my job because of Clear Channel's financial situation. Photo courtesy of Iowa Broadcast News Association

Happier times, before I lost my job because of Clear Channel's financial situation. Photo courtesy of Iowa Broadcast News Association

There are many signs that the U.S. economy is still faltering. I learned that up close and personal in April when I lost my full-time job as a news anchor and reporter at WOC Radio.

“It’s not about performance, it’s about money,” is the way the general manager put it.

According to industry sources, the station’s owner, Clear Channel, is in a shaky financial position that was compounded by the economic downturn.

I was one of nearly 2,500 Clear Channel employees who have been released since January.

Many large media companies, both electronic and print, are having a rough go of it right now. Some analysts say not all of them will survive.

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There aren’t many benefits to being released from a job you love, but I did find one. I’m now part of a select group of people, former employees of WOC Radio and WOC-TV (now KWQC), who get together once a month.

These folks, most of whom are retirees, have some great stories to tell about their years in broadcasting, a topic I’ve been interested in since I was a kid listening first to a crystal radio then a transistor radio.

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A further sign that the economy is still hurting is the Spoon River Valley Scenic Drive, something we’ve enjoyed since the 1980s. It’s a wonderful event, held the first two full weekends each October in Fulton County, Ill.

There are a dozen and a half stops, mainly communities on the drive, each with something to offer visitors. There are arts and crafts fairs, flea markets, demonstrations, music and a variety of food.

But we noticed last year that there were fewer vendors and visitors in some locations, particularly the smaller communities. That was even more pronounced this year.

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A friend reminds me about a DeWitt company that makes air fresheners. That comes after my complaints about an air freshener we bought that — surprise — was manufactured in China.

I checked its source because of the way the directions are written: “1) Rise up to the top, to open. 2) Upward the top, to adjust for desired amount of freshening.” Huh?

The local air freshener company my buddy mentioned, Car Freshner Corp., is headquartered in Watertown, N.Y., and has a plant in the DeWitt’s thriving industrial park. Nearly 100 employees there make scented air fresheners shaped like Christmas trees for cars.

According to their Web site, http://www.little-trees.com, the product comes in 6,500 languages and goes to 195 countries. And I’m betting the instructions with those little trees even make sense.

Copyright 2009 by Phil Roberts, Creative Enterprises. This column appeared in The North Scott Press, Eldridge, Iowa.

 
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Posted by on October 15, 2009 in Uncategorized

 

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