Exclusive: Star 94 cuts Rob Stadler, Donny Michaels

Credit: Rodney Ho

Credit: Rodney Ho

By RODNEY HO/ rho@ajc.com, originally filed Monday, August 31, 2015

Rob Stadler has lost his job as news director at Star 94 after an incredible 28 years there.

Stadler arrived when the station was still 94Q and survived the transition to Star 94 in 1989. He endured changing morning shows (e.g. Steve & Vikki, the Morning Mess, Cindy & Ray, Cindy & Jimmy and now Drex, Cassiday and Tingle). He survived two previous owners and several program directors.

But a news director at a pop station is a luxury in the much more austere radio landscape of 2015.

"I made the cuts for valid business reasons," said Mike Fowler, general manager. "We don't need news on a Hot AC, which we saw in our research before takeover. The listeners come here for the music." [For those outside of the radio business, Hot AC is a term used to describe a top 40 station that targets a slightly older audience than, say, Power 96.1 or Q100.]

Entercom took over just a few weeks ago and clearly wanted to cut costs because Stadler wasn't the only casualty.

Night jock Donny Michaels was cut as well though he wasn't even there a year. New program director Tony Lorino, who has done on-air shifts in other markets, is covering for him tonight. (One source said Entercom is still trying to find a place for Michaels within the company.)

"Rob and Donny are both very talented and will quickly find a home," Fowler said.

It's been a brutal August for Atlanta radio vets.

Credit: Rodney Ho

Credit: Rodney Ho

Over the past 14 years, whenever I attended a Star 94 event, promotions man Mike Moshure was there. When I saw him at Star just a few days after Entercom took over, I placed my hand on his shoulder and said, "You're a survivor!"

Sigh... He was let go as well. His FB page note:

Parting is such sweet sorrow......Today was my last day at Star 94 as my position has been "eliminated." It's hard to put 14+ years into perspective but I had some amazing experiences, met life-long friends and even met my wife Jennie because of Star 94. My immediate plans are to spend some time with my family, decompress and then work on finding a new career. If anyone knows of a company looking for a marketing guy, let me know as I am excited to see what the future holds.

There have been rumors within the radio community that Entercom, which owns a stand-alone FM in this market (plus a not terribly valuable AM signal that used to be 790/The Zone), might swap the station with a CBS station in another market. This would give CBS three FM signals in Atlanta instead of two (92.9/The Game and V-103.)

Fowler said there is no truth to this rumor.

In this age of consolidation, market clusters provide more cover and more leverage than a single station.