Cumulus, the radio conglomerate that bought Citadel Broadcasting's suite of Providence radio stations, laid off seven staffers two weeks ago, including Lite-Rock 105 jockey Art Spencer, a deep-voiced fixture in the market.
Among the others let go: Tony Cornetta, who produced WPRO talk host Dan Yorke's show and occassionally filled in as a host for the station, and digital reporter Bob Plain.
The layoffs, first reported by news site golocalprov, hit hard for the directly affected. But there is some relief inside the stations' East Providence headquarters, where staffers were worried that the Cumulus takeover could mean wholesale changes.
For now, that doesn't seem a concern. But the longer term picture is still unclear. And in the meantime, life has changed some. WPRO talker Buddy Cianci's co-host, Ron St. Pierre, is now working the board, even as he remains an on-air presence.
And a web site that was to combine news and entertainment from the company's Providence stations - WPRO, 790 Talk and Business, 92 PRO-FM, Hot 106, and Lite-Rock 105 - has been jettisoned. Indeed, serveral of the laid-off staffers were tied to that project.
The Citadel-turned-Cumulus stations have managed to build a more robust web presence in recent months, on the whole. But the layoff of Plain, the demise of the combined site, and the earlier fizzling of a partnership with golocalprov have hampered the effort.
That's an unfortunate blow for a market that, with a few exceptions, has failed to deliver on the promise of online news.