Company that owns Austin radio stations lays off on-air personalities, part of sweeping move

Published 1:00 pm Thursday, May 23, 2024

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Alpha Media, the company that owns Austin’s KAUS-1480 and 99.9 Quick Country and Albert Lea’s KATE-1450 and 94.9 The Breeze, conducted a mass layoff of on-air personalities on Tuesday this week impacting the region that includes Austin and possibly Albert Lea.

Requests for comment from Alpha Media have not been answered and the company has not provided public reasons for the mass layoffs that have affected stations throughout the upper Midwest including other stations in Minnesota and in Iowa and South Dakota.

In Austin, both Jason Brandt and John Wright announced on Facebook only that they had been laid off, using the opportunity to thank friends and listeners for their support and friendship during their time with the stations. 

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Both had been with Austin’s stations for years and were often fixtures at public events and meetings as well as area sporting events.

In Albert Lea, longtime announcer Mike Woitas could still be heard during his normal times on Wednesday and Thursday, though when asked on Party Line about sports announcer Brandon Antony, Woitas said Antony was no longer with the company. It is unclear if his departure is related to the other layoffs. 

In public posts on X (formerly Twitter) from both radio personalities and others, the move is largely happening in smaller markets across the country. According to a post by Jason Salzman, who was behind The Salzy Show on 910 AM in Brookings, South Dakota, stations would be switching from local programming to national syndication.

“My job at Brookings Radio has come to end, as of today. Parent company Alpha Media is going all national syndication. So our local shows are done. This is a terrible day,” he posted.

This latest round of cuts by Alpha Media follow similar cuts in Missouri earlier in May.