TV/radio briefs: Fred McFarlin is out at 11Alive; new VP of radio at WABE-FM

Fred McFarlin has left 11 Alive after 2.5 years. CREDIT: publicity photo

Credit: Rodney Ho

Credit: Rodney Ho

Fred McFarlin has left 11 Alive after 2.5 years. CREDIT: publicity photo

By RODNEY HO/, originally filed Thursday, May 26, 2016

Fred McFarlin, a long-time radio and TV personality, was let go last week by 11Alive from its morning show.

He had been there two and a half years, joining the team about the same time as Crash Clark, who remains as the solo traffic person on "Atlanta Alive." He actually works for Radiate, a company that handles traffic for radio and TV stations across the country. (Clark works there as well.)

McFarlin said the company told him the generic "we're going in a different direction" line. Radiate is seeking another post for him.

"At the same time, I am actively looking for new opportunities here in Atlanta and have been talking to some local radios stations about picking up some part-time shifts," he said, in an email. "Meanwhile, I will be concentrating on a number of side projects my wife and I have - including a busy Mobile DJ and event planning company, Double The Fun Entertainment, and a home-based travel agency."

He said he has also shot a pilot for a beach travel show called "Barstools and Beach Chairs" and seeking distribution. He said he has more than 20 years of experience in major market radio (and now, television), and a background in record promotion, music journalism, artist representation, and sales.

The station recently hired a new anchor in that time period Shiba Russell, filling a new role with Vinnie Politan, Jaye Watson and meteorologist Chesley McNeil.

The NBC affiliate also recently cut 15 long-time employees who took an early retirement buyout.


Credit: Rodney Ho

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Credit: Rodney Ho

Public Broadcasting Atlanta and 90.1/WABE-FM has hired a veteran radio exec Christine Dempsey from Philadelphia to be the newly created VP of radio.

According to the station, "Dempsey will oversee and coordinate the operational activities, programmatic strategies and administrative and business functions for PBA’s radio division, which includes WABE 90.1 the station’s streams and its HD channels. Other responsibilities include leading the development of affiliations and partnerships that enhance operations and content initiatives."

Last year, when president and CEO Wonya Lucas took over, she soon got rid of the COO position, led by John Weatherford and restructured the station's staff.

Dempsey worked for more than 15 years at WHYY-FM in Philly, most recently as vice president, chief content officer leading the strategic implementation and planning and development of all content produced on WHYY platforms, according to the press release.

"Christine is a tremendous leader," said Lucas in the release. "Her deep experience in broadcast news, digital media, newsroom management and strong leadership within the public media industry make her the perfect person to build on the strong work of the WABE News team."

WABE's finances and operations appear to be in good shape, even with the added expenses from last year's expansion of news/talk during the day.