Management shakeup at WLS: Fowler out, Damsky in

Management shakeup at WLS: Fowler out, Damsky in

In a shakeup at Citadel Broadcasting’s Chicago operations, Michael Fowler was ousted Friday after two years as president and general manager of news/talk WLS-AM (890) and oldies WLS-FM (94.7).

Named to succeed him was Michael Damsky, who has been vice president and director of sales for the two stations since July 2008. Damsky previously spent 24 years at CBS Radio adult rock WXRT-FM (93.1), where he rose up the sales ranks to become vice president and general manager.

Both moves were carried out in person by Farid Suleman, chairman and CEO of Citadel Broadcasting. Ranked as the nation’s third largest radio company, the debt-laden Citadel filed for bankruptcy protection last month. “I have known and worked with Michael Damsky for a long time, and I know his background will be critical in taking both of our stations to new highs,” Suleman told WLS staffers in a memo.

Under Fowler, WLS had been cutting costs and restructuring many of its talent contracts in recent weeks. The latest moves included the dismissal of Brant Miller as morning host at WLS-FM and the ouster of news anchor Ron Magers as a contributor to Roe Conn’s afternoon show on WLS-AM. Reduced salaries also were in negotiations for Conn and the WLS-AM morning team of Don and Roma Wade.

“WLS AM and FM are two great radio stations that have many of Chicago’s top programming assets,” Damsky said. “We just have to make sure they’re put together in the best possible way. Now it’s time to translate our sales success into great ratings stability.”

In the Arbitron survey for December, among adults between the ages of 25 and 54, WLS-FM was tied for 13th‚ place with a 3.0 percent share, and WLS-AM was tied for 22nd‚ place with a 2.1 share.