Clear Channel, the nation's largest owner of radio stations, has cut its work force by almost 12 percent this year, according to a report in Radio and Records.

What seems most surprising is how many radio veterans have been let go. A market-by-market list of layoffs at Clear Channel shows a significant number of employees had 10 to 20-plus years in the radio business.

Locally, Bob Hendricks, newsman for KNRS (AM-570) was the most veteran radio casualty for Clear Channel. Hendricks had been at Clear Channel Salt Lake from the day it started, and his career reaches back to 1980s at KALL, before Clear Channel acquired that station.

Clear Channel has also suspended the company's 50 percent match of employees' 401(k) plans for the rest of the year.

What is happening at Clear Channel is typical of the entire radio industry. A sagging economy and loss in advertising is the main cause

Other local radio companies have made reductions, too. Newspapers and TV have all had their cutbacks as well.

What do these cutbacks mean to radio listeners? More voice tracking and automation are among the first things that come to mind.

But radio is "local," and some stations have indicated they are attact the local advertising dollar.

Like newspapers, radio will survive, but it will likely have to make do with less.

RADIO HAPPENINGS

 Ben Winslow is headed back to KSL radio (AM-1160/FM-102.7) as a news reporter. He had worked at the Deseret News since 2006.

 Spence Kinard, a veteran Utah broadcaster, has been inducted into the Utah Broadcasters Hall of Fame. The late Bennie Williams, a force behind the success of KALL radio, was also honored by the Utah Broadcasters Association.

 "Johnson and Johnson" of KUBL staged an unusual bowling contest last week. They put a person in a shopping cart and then contestants had to aim the cart at some of the thin roadside marker posts set up like bowling pins in the radio station's parking lot. Contest winners received concert tickets.

 Some new U.S. cars could soon include Wi-Fi. Others may have iPod connections. What happened to simple radios? Listening to local radio in a car remains the staple of radio listenership. However, between these new options, CDs and satellite radio programming, the choices for listening in an automobile are challenging traditional local radio.

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