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CNNRadio Farewell


I’ve written way too many eulogies over the past year. This one is to bid a fond farewell to an American radio network. On April 1st, CNN ends its terrestrial radio newscasts in the United States, no longer distributed by Dial Global, the entity that used to be known, pre-merger, as Westwood One.

I had the great honor of leading the people of CNNRadio from 1996 to 2004. We did big things. Won an Edward R. Murrow award for Overall Excellence in 2000. First rate journalists- anchors, correspondents, producers and editors- all of whom earned a total of five Murrow awards for outstanding achievement in the radio news industry from feature and investigative reporting to best newscast. It was the first U.S. network to offer audio to its affiliates via the web 10 years ago– which sounds quaint now, but was years ahead of its competitors.

I feel very badly for the folks, many of whom I worked with, who face an uncertain future. Trust me, dear friends, you are not alone- so many of us have fallen victim through no fault of our own, to the convulsions of this radically changing media environment. Easy as it is for me to say and hard as it is to imagine, there is life after this. I am living proof of that.

CNNRadio, itself, was the sad beneficiary of the demise of the venerable Mutual network about a decade ago. Almost all of Mutual’s affiliates were directed to us and turned CNN, by sheer number of affiliates- and overnight- into the 2nd largest radio network in the nation.

So, yes, a sad day, indeed. Sad for the folks in Atlanta. Sad for the radio industry. Sad for those who gave their all to the place, including those no longer here and whose passing left us staggered and numb: Former CNN Executive, Jon Petrovich, Anchor, Stan Case, Anchor/Reporter, Ed McCarthy, Anchor/Editor, Stan Nurenberger.

To all of you over the decades who covered the wars and elections, Presidents, Congress, the courts and government, 9/11, the shuttle launches and disasters, the hurricanes, the economic upheaval- the world in all its glory and heartache – a toast for a job well done and a public well served.

  1. March 2, 2012 at 1:16 pm

    Very nice comments Robert. You have touched on one of the reasons I have spent a good part of the past year working on this merger of the two main entertainment unions. I totally agree with your comment that we are in a ” radically changing media environment.” However, it is also an environment of tremendous opportunity and potential for growth. Just one more reason why those of us in the business now must be looking to constantly evolve and to be open to change.

  2. March 2, 2012 at 6:27 pm

    It was lovely to work for you as an anchor CNNRadio — a fair manager who always had open ears for his employees, especially those like me that worked that grueling overnight shift. It comes as a shock that CNNRadio will no longer be. What a shame!

  3. Tom Johnson
    March 2, 2012 at 11:03 pm

    CNN Radio has been a magnificent division of CNN Worldwide. The CNN Radio staff has been splendid. It saddens me beyond description to think that radio audiences will lose such a wonderful, highly trusted source of information. I so appreciate all the devotion that CNN Radio staffers past and present have dedicated to its reputation for excellence. If I can be of any assistance to those staffers who need to find new opportunities, I will be pleased to write recommendations or make calls on your behalf. Be proud of what you have accomplished. I am very grateful to you personally and professionally.

    Tom Johnson (CEO, CNN, 1990-2001)
    tom.johnson.atl@gmail.com
    Home: 404-841-6301
    Cell: 404-271-7948

  4. March 3, 2012 at 12:25 am

    Robert — I’m so proud to have worked with you and with CNN Radio.

    James

  5. Pat Stclaire
    March 4, 2012 at 1:29 pm

    Robert – Thanks for the kind words, they’re soothing at this tough time for Radio. It was a good run!

    Pat

  6. March 4, 2012 at 1:32 pm

    Robert,
    Your leadership at CNNRadio is the reason we had so much success. I was fortunate to be at the network during your tenure. This is the first time in 27 years I’m without a job, and it’s a bit scary. But, forward march.

    Paul Chambers
    Anchor
    CNNRadio (RIP)
    1995-2012

  7. Mike Jones
    March 5, 2012 at 3:56 pm

    Robert,

    Thanks so very much for the kind words. After 25 years with CNN Radio it would be easy to feel bitter about how things are ending, but I honestly don’t. Instead, I’m grateful for the relationships I’ve fostered with so many wonderful people. CNN Radio was never better than under your 8-year leadership. You brought us into the digital age, and provided us with a wonderful newsroom and our own correspondents! As you articulated, the changing media landscape has impacted us all. At age 49, it’s now time for me to take what I’ve learned and move forward with optimism. I don’t harbor any illusions that the journey will be easy, but it will be invigorating.

  8. Dave Kirschner
    April 2, 2012 at 2:16 am

    Robert, I was fortunate to have worked under your leadership during my time at
    CNNRadio. You showed us how to be “first class”. You offered us the insight and
    understanding of how a radio news network should function. Others here have offered
    the same thoughts. So many wonderful people, so much talent. And as a fitting end
    to the memory of CNNRadio, our former associate Harley Hotchkiss was flown in from
    Arizona (where he now lives) to Atlanta to anchor the final newscast on CNNRadio last
    night at 11:30pm. What a fitting honor for Harley ! I will always be proud to say that
    I was part of the “Robert Garcia Era at CNNRadio” Many thanks,

    DAVE KIRSCHNER
    .

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