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Wednesday, October 5, 2022

1250-AM 'The Fan' ends local programming in Milwaukee, lays off staff and switches to national sports radio – Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Milwaukee talk-radio listeners have one less option for local sports content, with Audacy laying off its 12 on-air personalities in Milwaukee at 1250-AM “The Fan,” switching to national CBS sports radio instead.
The Fan, housed in Hales Corners, has been producing local on-air programming since 2005.
Producer and host Evan Heffelfinger first posted the news to Twitter that today was his last day at the station and added, “well, I guess it’s actually everyone’s,” and a source confirmed that the staff had been let go.
The 1250 lineup includes The Bart Winkler Show in the mornings, followed by the Wendy’s Big Show with former Packers running back Gary Ellerson, newly minted Packers Hall of Famer LeRoy Butler and longtime Milwaukee-area radio personality Steve “Sparky” Fifer, who also hosted “Sparky’s Midday Madness.”
The lineup also includes Milwaukee veteran radio presence Tim Allen.
The move appears to be part of a broader series of layoffs by Audacy, formerly Entercom, with layoffs in locations such as Austin, Denver, Seattle and Las Vegas.
The Fan simulcasted most of its content on the FM frequency starting in 2014 on 105.7, though Entercom ended that venture in 2020 and flipped the FM station to a hip-hop format.
A source indicated to the Philadelphia Business Journal that cuts are underway but they were not expected to exceed 5% of the company’s total workforce.
The sports-talk market in Milwaukee has been a competitive one in recent years. ESPN Milwaukee (WKTI, 94.5), operated by Good Karma Brands since 2008, and 97.3 The Game (WRNW), operated by iHeart Media and launching its sports format in 2018, both rank slightly ahead of The Fan in ratings compiled by RadioInsight. That’s in addition to WTMJ 620-AM, the flagship for Brewers and Bucks broadcasts.
The Game secured Milwaukee broadcast rights for Packers games, which had previously aired on WTMJ, starting this season.
An Audacy spokesperson’s statement on the decision read as follows:
“Over the past few years, Audacy has been on a transformational journey, investing in our capabilities to serve our listeners and customers and accelerate our growth through a number of strategic acquisitions, enhancements to our platform, and the addition of hundreds of team members to our workforce. We remain committed to this exciting transformation which has made us a much stronger organization, but in light of current macroeconomic headwinds, like so many other companies, we have been proactively taking actions to mitigate against the impact of any downturn. These include evaluating budgets, reducing expenses and also reducing our workforce.”
JR Radcliffe can be reached at (262) 361-9141 or jradcliffe@gannett.com. Follow him on Twitter at @JRRadcliffe.

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