Bonneville International laid off five Salt Lake radio employees Monday.
"Our Salt Lake Radio Group has had to reduce its overall staff (90-plus) by five," Craig Haslam, Bonneville spokesman, said.
"The move was a business decision, purely in response to the harsh realities of current economic and market conditions, nothing else. Period. It truly was a very painful decision to make, because all five were exceptional, talented and highly capable employees."
One of the five employees let go was KSFI ("FM-100") veteran midday host Bob Nelson.
Reportedly one traffic reporter, a KSL news reporter, a producer and a salesperson were also let go.
Years ago, Nelson described himself to the Deseret News as "the most famous person no one's heard of."
Nelson's deep, pleasant voice was also among the best in the business and he had been at KSFI for about 26 years, since 1983.
He remained on the air when the station was sold by Simmons Media.
He also worked at KUER from 1978-83.
In the fall of 2007 Bonneville's KSL trimmed its "Nightside Project" staff.
Sister station KSL-TV, Ch. 5, cut eight employees earlier this year due to a decrease in advertising revenues.
KSL is the No. 1-rated radio station in the Salt Lake market. According to the latest estimates from Arbitron, KSL had a 9.2 percent audience share last fall for listeners, ages 12-plus. That was 2.9 percent higher than second-place KSFI.
Bonneville's other Salt Lake station, KRSP (FM-103.5), is ranked fifth with a 4.9 share in the market.
So these cutbacks affect three of the top five radio stations in the market, grim news for other local stations.
According to the Radio Advertising Bureau, U.S. radio stations ended 2008 with a 10 percent decline in advertising revenue — the third consecutive year for negative growth in the industry.
Clear Channel Radio reduced its workforce nationally by about 9 percent in January. For the Salt Lake division of Clear Channel, that meant an undisclosed number of cutbacks, but Laura Bedore of KOSY was among those let go.
Among TV stations in Salt Lake, it appears that only KSTU-Ch. 13 has not made cutbacks.
The public seems to take news reports and its radio and TV personalities for granted, but the grim economy is certainly creating challenging times.
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