Since last week, we've been documenting the latest batch of layoffs at Clear Channel Denver stations -- a nationwide action referred to by affected staffers as "National Firing Day;" see our previous coverage below. Among those canned was Andy Torri, engineer for KBCO's acclaimed Studio C sessions; his walking papers arrived shortly after the 24th annual CD in the series was released.
Torri is best known among music scenesters as a longtime associate of Big Head Todd and the Monsters. His page on AllMusic.com credits him as an engineer, producer and even photographer on a slew of the band's albums, including 1991's Midnight Radio and 1994's Strategem. He also contributed to recordings by acts such as Rubber Planet, Hazel Miller and Mick Brown.
His connection with Studio C and the namesake CDs is explained on the KBCO page featuring program director Scott Arbough's liner notes for the 20th edition of the series. A now-out-of-date excerpt reads:
In April of 2000 I was promoted to KBCO Program Director and no longer had the time to engineer Studio C sessions. Andy Torri had been assisting with engineering in Studio C for many years. He stepped up and became the KBCO Studio C Engineer and continues in that role today.
The artists who took part in the sessions during the period when Torri oversaw them include Sting, Coldplay, Stevie Nicks, Dave Matthews, Jack Johnson, Elvis Costello and many, many more.
The 24th edition of Studio C, benefiting the Boulder County AIDS Project and the Food Bank of the Rockies, went on sale at the beginning of this month, and even though physical CDs aren't nearly as in-demand as they were when the series started, they're already sold out. Their popularity is due, no doubt, to the good causes and the participation of acts such as Mumford & Sons, Wilco and Jimmy Cliff. But Torri definitely did his part, too -- which only makes what happened to him career-wise only a few days later that much more unfortunate.
Look below to see a Metromix feature about KBCO's Studio C sessions, followed by our previous coverage.
Continue to read our previous coverage of the latest Clear Channel layoffs. Update, 6:02 a.m. December 7: We don't have a total on the number of folks being let go at Clear Channel Denver this week. Rather than answering specific questions about the move, exec Greg Foster provided the same corporate statement seen below. But the bloodletting may not be over. We're hearing additional dismissals among sales staffers may take place today. If so, those fired will join approximately seven of their peers, including Keefer, the well-liked afternoon personality on KBCO.
KBCO producer Chris Griff was also disappeared, as was Eddie Barella, who did overnight shows and imaging for KBPI, where Uncle Nasty was also released from his duties. At least one behind-the-scenes staffer is also on the list. In addition, we're told a program director has been demoted.
As for Keefer, he posted a note on his Facebook page a couple hours ago. It reads:
Thanks for the kind words and letting me be a small part of your lives. It was a pleasure. So it's goodbye for now, but not forever. Like the good doctor once said, When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro...
Continue to read our previous coverage, with additional information about those let go and the official Clear Channel statement.
Original post, 2:13 p.m. December 6: According to multiple sources, pink slips have been distributed throughout the day at Clear Channel Denver, with on-air personalities and behind-the-scenes personnel affected. We don't have total numbers yet, but among those let go is Fox 31 reporter Julie Hayden, who confirms that she and her husband, Chuck Bonniwell, were informed this morning that they'd no longer be doing their Saturday morning program on KOA.
Also gone is KBPI's Uncle Nasty, an icon of Denver radio for more than two decades. Within the hour, he posted the following on his Facebook page:
Want to let people know this decision came from San Antonio where they think they know what you and I want and they pretend to run radio stations. It's not from my friends here in Denver. Willie was a good boss and is a great friend. I was part of Clear Channels "National Firing Day" many afternoon personalities as well as other day parts and positions like Eddie, good luck bro, were let go today across the Country and I wish them well. KBPI family this is not the end for me, though I will miss our afternoon conversations very much, it's just change. Hail to you for all the years of support KBPI family! Health and Happiness and thank you for a great run!!
Get more information in the Backbeat post "Clear Channel lets Uncle Nasty go from KBPI."
No mystery about why this is happening. The terrestrial radio business, like other examples of traditional media, have struggled in recent years, with layoffs coming at regular intervals -- like the 23 pros released in April 2009.
Similar reductions in force are reportedly taking place around the country. Here's a Clear Channel statement on the subject shared by All Access:
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"We are constantly looking at all aspects of our business to ensure that it reflects how the best organizations work today, taking advantage of the latest cutting-edge technology and organizational structure so we can continue to operate as effectively and efficiently as possible.
"Like every successful business, our strategy continues to evolve as we move forward as a company; this creates some new jobs, and unfortunately eliminates others. These are never easy decisions to make.
"In the process of making these recent changes, some employees were affected. We thank them for their service and wish them all the best for the future."
Look for updates as they become available.