Heads have been rolling in the Wilks Broadcasting empire of late -- most prominently at The Wolf/92.5 FM, where morning show partners Jesse & Shotgun are out.
The twosome has been replaced by Jonathan Wilde, who was originally brought to the outlet in 2007. Wilde subsequently moved to sister station KOOL 105, where he was teamed with Tracy Taylor. Like him, Taylor had been snapped up from KYGO by Don Howe, then running things for the outlets' previous owner, CBS. But while Wilde has been retained, Taylor was let go a week ago or so. And last Friday saw the resignation of Barry Remington, who served as market manager for The Wolf, KOOL and the third member of the Wilks troika, The Mix/100.3 FM.
A call to the local office found the situation in such flux that the reception wasn't sure who was supposed to comment on the changes. Fortunately, Georgia-based owner Jeff Wilks was available to provide the lowdown.
Wilks insists that the ouster of Jesse & Shotgun had less to do with their ability than with Wilde's.
"He's a great country talent in this market, with great name recognition from back when he was on KYGO," he says. "His contract was about up, and we didn't want his talent to move outside the building. So Jesse & Shotgun became collateral damage." Wilde will also take over as program director for The Wolf.
Regarding Taylor's departure, Wilks says he wasn't intimately involved in the situation, and so he can't comment -- and when quizzed about the reasons behind Remington's resignation, he replies, "You'd have to ask him." However, he stresses that it didn't have anything to do with a recent promotion by the Wolf for Wolf Interstate Leasing & Sales, which recently erected a controversial billboard questioning President Barack Obama's nation of birth, among other things.
The promos for Wolf Interstate told customers that if they brought in their own birth certificates, they'd receive a discount -- something Remington defended in this space even as he distanced the station from the specific birth-certificate issue. Wilks does likewise.
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"The Wolf didn't have anything to do with that except for advertising it," he says. "That would be like Proctor and Gamble running a special on baby wipes. It's not like we decided to put baby wipes on sale. Proctor and Gamble did."
At present, Wilks is conducting a search for a new market manager: "We're talking to a few people," he says. But he stresses that The Wolf isn't in critical condition.
"By no means is this a 911 situation," he says. "We're doing about what I expected us to do numbers-wise, but, of course, we'd like to see things get better -- something that we're constantly trying to do at all our stations. These things don't happen overnight, but we'd like to see us move a little faster."
Which explains why so many people have been left behind.