KJQN radio (alias "KJQ") laid off its general manager and program director Thursday in a budget-cutting move.
"It was totally budget reasons," Garrett Haston, station owner, said of the reason for the dismissal of Scott Gilreath and John McGann. "They are good people."Haston is going to assume duties as the modern music station's new general manager, while morning co-host Kerry Jackson will be the new program director, replacing McGann. Haston said he's helping Gilreath and McGann find new employment.
"We'd rather have the programming localized," Haston said, saying it didn't work well to have two highly paid outside managers doing the programming. He said KJQ will try to give listeners what they want, instead of relying on national consultants.
Jackson agreed, saying he's going to accept a lot more listener requests and rely on listener input for programming decisions. KJQ has been attempting to use an oldies approach to modern music, and Jackson said this "modern classics" format will even become more apparent in the future.
He also said the "corporate rock" approach to modern music didn't work, resulting in a loss of prestige for the station. KJQ had also slipped in the radio ratings over the winter.
"We're not going to sound like `X-96,' " Jackson said of KXRK, the other modern music station, composed of former KJQ employees who left the station last November in protest of what they termed the station's new "corporate rock" style.
Jackson said "X-96" is leaning toward a very young audience and KJQ's oldies approach will allow plenty of room for two modern music stations along the Wasatch Front.Comment on this story
"We'll sound more like the old KCGL," Jackson said.
In addition to the departure of Gilreath and McGann, Jayne Ramone, evening personality and Justin Kase, overnight deejay, have also left the station. Jackson said both were hired by Gilreath and didn't feel comfortable staying after the changes. KJQ is now looking for permanent on-air replacements for those vacancies.
Gilreath could not be reached at home Friday for comment on his dismissal.
KJQ is spread over many frequencies and can be heard on FM-92.7, 95.5, 104.9 and AM-1490.