Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Vox Radio Group Lays-off News Anchor Tom Conklin

As part of a downsizing that triggered what management termed a "restructuring" at the Vox Radio Group's Berkshire News Network, a 16-year veteran newsman has been let go.

Tom Conklin, 45, told The Berkshire Eagle on Monday that he was informed on Nov. 30 that his job was being eliminated.

That turned out to be his last day on the air handling morning news updates for WBEC-FM ("Live 95.9") in Pittsfield as well as WSBS (AM 860) in Great Barrington. He had started with WBEC in 1996 when it was privately owned, as were all other Berkshire radio stations at the time.

In recent years, as Vox gradually cut its news staff from five to two, Conklin had worked with news director Larry Kratka, a 25-year veteran of local radio who started as the morning show host on WBEC-AM.

According to Peter Barry, vice president and market manager of the Vox Radio Berkshire Group, a half-time news position is being created to assist Kratka, but he declined to identify the person who has been hired or transferred into the job.

Vox owns three signals in Pittsfield, two in Great Barrington and two in North Adams.

"We don't comment on personnel issues," Barry explained in a brief telephone interview, but added that the Vox stations are "doing fine" despite the tough economy that has affected print, radio and TV media nationwide.

In his statement, Barry declared: "Despite the reduction in the position from full- to part-time, we remain committed to live local programming. At a time when many stations across the country have eliminated their news departments and switched to satellite programming, we continue to employ a staff of eighteen full and part time employees dedicated to live local programming."

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