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Clear Channel Layoffs Hit Rhode Island

Radio and billboard giant Clear Channel's latest round of layoffs have apparently hit at least two Rhode Island employees. Chris Duggan - program director for WSNE (93.3 Coast FM), an adult contemporary station, and WWBB (B101), a classic hits station - is out of a job, as is WSNE morning guy Tad Lemire.

The layoffs are just two of 590 jobs the company cut Tuesday. Clear Channel spokeswoman Lisa Dollinger, who declined to confirm any Rhode Island cuts, said the nationwide layoffs account for 2.7 percent of the radio division's workforce as of the close of 2008. The cuts come on the heels of a 1,850-employee bloodletting in January.

Radio, like its media cousins in print and broadcast, have been taking a beating in recent years with the migration of advertising dollars to the Internet.

Clear Channel, which owes billions in debt accumulated during the shift from a publicly to privately held company, reported that revenue dropped 23 percent in the first quarter of the year.

Clear Channel also owns classic rock station WHJY (94.1) and talk-radio outlet WHJJ (920 AM) in the Providence market. Local officials did not respond to calls. Lemire declined to comment and Duggan did not respond to an e-mail.

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