Lansing's Mid-Michigan Radio Group has seen the departure of two mainstay employees in the last month, sparking discussion about the future directions of two of the group's four stations.
WJXQ-FM (Q106) PD Bob Olson exited last month, after 16 years with the station. Olson, at one point, held the position of operations manager for all stations in the MMRG Lansing cluster, and was well-known by Q106 listeners as the midday personality. According to an aritcle in the Lansing State Journal, the parting was mutually amicable, and may have had something to do with disagreements over the programming direction of Q106, which has been a well-performing (sometimes dominant) Album Rocker since its debut in the Lansing market in March 1981. In addition to his PD/on-air duties at WJXQ, Olson also lent (and continues to lend) his voice talent to local production.
On the other side of the building, WVIC-FM (Classic Hits 94.1) morning co-host Brad Walker has left the station after nearly 10 years at the building on Cedar street. Walker arrived as music director and afternoon personality for Country-formatted Kix-94 (WXIK) in 1997. Prior to that, he held the same position at WITL-AM/FM. During his tenure at MMRG, Walker also served as PD for Kix-94, and later WVIC, and was also the program director for the Hot AC format on then-WKMY (My 92.1). MMRG OM Paul Cashin is reportedly filling in as the interim morning co-host for WVIC. The decision to dismiss Brad Walker was, according to an LSJ article, a cost-cutting move on the part of MMRG.
All of this has sparked discussion on the Michigan broadcasting message boards about the future directions of both stations. Some listeners have already noticed a difference in the sound of WJXQ, moving away from an Active Rock direction, and more toward Mainstream Album Rock. In any event, the recent departures of both Olson and Walker demonstrate how radio in general tends to operate differently than more traditional businesses. In many job arenas, it can be said that, the longer you've been with any given company, the more security you have, but in this business, the opposite tends to be true more often than not, especially when it comes to on-air talent. We've seen a lot of air talent changing stations and/or companies in the last year - most of whom had been in their positions for a considerable amount of time. It shows that radio, by its very nature, is probably not the business to get into if you're looking for the gold watch and the full pension at the end of the road.