Mark Worth [Mon., Oct 9 2006] — G. Michael Donovan, the sharp-tongued president of Philadelphia-based Entercom’s Seattle operation, has been toppled from his throne atop Seattle’s largest radio empire. According to Media Inc., Entercom—which owns eight Puget Soundarea stations including KBSG, KIRO, KISW, KMTT, and KNDD—told Donovan that his job was too big for one person to manage. Indeed, top-rated KIRO-AM saw its Arbitron numbers fall 25 percent in the past year; third-rated KBSG’s numbers dropped nearly 10 percent. When told he’d have to share duties with another Entercom executive, Donovan walked. He says he’s still “part of” Entercom but wouldn’t comment further.
Donovan was freer with his words in January, when, in a letter to this paper’s editor, he defended his industry’s use of “Virtual Radio Programming”—a prefab, satellite-based system pioneered by Seattle’s Research Group that allows music and DJ banter to be recorded in one city and replayed in another. A canned show by KBSG’s Fastlane Phillips, for instance, airs on a station in Huntsville, Alabama, owned by Austin, Texasbased Capstar, the nation’s largest radio conglomerate. “Fastlane Phillips,” Donovan wrote in his January letter, “is infinitely more talented than whoever might be available in Huntsville, Alabama.” Folks living in that city of 160,000 near the Tennessee border aren’t so quick to agree; the Huntsville Times may hold a contest to find a local replacement. “It’s slick-sounding, very professional, but it’s not local radio,” a program director from a competing Huntsville station told the Times. “We’re proud to be a part of this community. There’s a face and a human being behind it.”