Todd Fisher out as AM1500 general manager

Todd Fisher, vice president and general manager of KSTP-AM, resigned today. Although Fisher’s good-bye memo (below) doesn’t cite reasons for his departure, AM1500’s ratings struggles have been well-documented here.

Before running the AM side, Fisher was in charge of KSTP’s FM sibling, KS95. Word is Hubbard Radio president Ginny Hubbard Morris will take more day-to-day responsibility. I have calls in to station officials, but here’s what Fisher sent to staff:

Hi Everyone,

When I came to work for Hubbard in 1996, relocating from the East Coast, I was excited about my new adventure in the frozen tundra and thought I’d give this “Minnesota thing” three or four years and see what happens.

Thirteen wonderful years have now passed and with very mixed emotions, I wanted to let all of you know that I’ll be leaving Hubbard Radio effective November 2nd.

I want to thank Ginny Morris for giving me the shot to rise from the programming ranks to the GM’s chair.

Also, I want to thank all of you for your dedication and passion for this wonderful business. We have experienced some truly great times and have labored mightily through the challenges together.

I’ve worked continuously in radio management for 24 years so I’m really looking forward to a break, time to recharge and figure out what comes next.

I wish you all the best!


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Comments (13)

  1. Submitted by karl anderson on 10/22/2009 - 12:49 pm.

    Radio is dead….iphones, cd’s, ipods, satellite radio…

  2. Submitted by TD Mischke on 10/22/2009 - 01:31 pm.

    Damn I hope you’re right.

  3. Submitted by ken roberts on 10/22/2009 - 01:32 pm.

    Karl –

    I do not think the President would agree with you. He apparantly thinks talk-radio is the reason his approval ratings are falling.

  4. Submitted by Tim McNeill on 10/22/2009 - 01:34 pm.

    Karl, you are correct about radio being dead. The only way it can survive is if the weak crumble and the strong dominate. There are too many radio stations up-and-down the dial trying for listners and advertisers. And, it is no surprise to see another Hubbard family member running Radio, president Ginny Hubbard Morris. What I get a kick out of, are these so called drones in management really runinng their stations. My guess is not. That family always picks people to do the day in and day out stuff, while the particular Hubbard in charge makes the big decisions. And, as you can see by the problems in the radio division, another Hubbard fails. I wonder if the Hubbard family is happy with how they overpaid for the Twins. I bet the Twins would love to come back to WCCO where they belong and people expect them to be.

  5. Submitted by karl anderson on 10/22/2009 - 02:23 pm.

    The Twins thing was a disaster. The Twins should buy their own station – like WCCO – and make it an all sports radio channel!

  6. Submitted by Tim McNeill on 10/22/2009 - 03:22 pm.

    The Twins took over all the production for the TV portion. There has been talk for years about the Twins doing something with radio. I would love to see local ownership of WCCO radio again. CBS still has not figured out the importance or, the local identity that is WCCO.

  7. Anonymous Submitted by Anonymous on 10/22/2009 - 03:43 pm.

    DB: You mentioned Fisher once ran KS95. How’d that work out?

    Mischke: You are too funny! You should get your own show. (Have you ever thought of that?)

    Tim McNeill: “CBS still has not figured out the importance or, the local identity that is WCCO.” Neither has local management. Why else would they keep Dave Lee – and especially, why would they allow Dave Lee near a microphone during a sporting event? I set my clock radio to 830 AM to force myself to quickly wake up, get out of bed and turn off the radio.

  8. Submitted by Kristy Grieger on 10/22/2009 - 05:40 pm.

    I for one love Dave Lee….on the Morning show. I could give a rats behind about Gopher sports (which I see as contibuting to the downfall of WCCO radio).

    WCCO will fail miserably if they continue to keep Tafoya in afternoon drive. ISHDA.

    WCCO was stripped to NOTHING by CBS which doesn’t understand the LOCAL aspect of radio.

    And, neither does MLB. I think MLB wants the smallest, weak signaled stations to run their broadcasts so people will turn to PAY satellite radio so MLB can profit. It’s not about the customer. (IE: the change in St Louis over the last few years, too.)

    KSTP-AM says they are 50K watts….well, where do they keep them? I live all the way over in New Hope (2nd ring ‘burb) and I cannot get the same clarity in signal that I get from WCCO-AM.

    Anything Hubbard is destined to fail because they have always been unwilling to work slowly to build a product–as is evident over the years. They want instant and NOW. Hence the Angela Astore hairdoo that many of the female anchors wore on channel 5 for years. Build a quality product and the ratings will come.

    I’d be willing to bet that Malmberg is getting decent ratings (on radio) due to the loyal listeners that have followed him—and do follow, especially during Wild games on WCCO.

    You cannot build a good product when your announcers rip on things like the Twins broadcasters and the Twins the way they do. It’s as if the Twins were on a diff channel. It doesn’t work to rip on what the listener sees as “co-workers”. And, you can’t build a good product if you re-play programs on holidays so your core announcers don’t have to work.

    So, there ya go….Hubbard Family doesn’t get it.

  9. Submitted by Kristy Grieger on 10/22/2009 - 05:46 pm.

    forgot this:

    I hope radio isn’t dead. I much much prefer baseball on the radio. And, I prefer radio for getting my news. I live without an iPod, iPhone and all those gadgets.

    I have a cell phone that I might use 20 mins a month on. I don’t need to carry tunes with me. But I love radio. I’m sick of opinions. I want information in an unbiased manner—like the old days of radio. Talk radio–not opinion radio.

    And, the voices on Public Radio drive me insane with their bland tonality. That talking too close to the mic to get that Public radio effect (mind you I like a lot of their content).

    Gimme Dave Lee, Tim Russell, John Hines, Al Malmberg, Don Shelby, Steve Cannon (rip), Vin Scully, Dan Hertsgaard, Jon Miller (espn radio). Quality radio voices.

    I think I’m done, now. Thanks for reading.

  10. Submitted by Tim McNeill on 10/22/2009 - 05:55 pm.

    Dave Lee is no Roger Erickson–that is for sure. WCCO used to be such a market leader in the morning. Now, people are tired of The Mike Lynch and Dave Lee childish crap. And, don’t you think people are tired of hearing them push sponsors who pay for the products they get? I am! I had hope when WCCO radio hired Mike Aselmo (sp?) that he would breath some new life into the tired neighbor. But, John Hines bumbling his way through a talk radio format–is just not working. Give me a shot at management. I grew up listening to ‘CCO. WCCO used to take years looking for top-talent so, when it came time to make a change they found and recrutied worthy succesors. I have said it time-and-time again, ‘CCO has no relevance anymore. Poor talent, no across the board sports rights contracts, and poor ownership since CBS started counting beans.

  11. Submitted by Don Lee on 10/23/2009 - 01:00 pm.

    In response to one of Kristy Grieger’s comments:

    Give me the public radio voices anytime. To my ear, the best of them are authentic and conversational. I understand, however, that they might sound bland to listeners whose steady diet is the hyper-real, show-biz sound that prevails on the commercial side.

  12. Submitted by Lucy Quinlivan on 10/23/2009 - 05:01 pm.

    Tim McNeill: Ginny Morris built KSTP into a pretty successful brand and rode the wave of conservative talk with Rush Limbaugh, Hannity, et al., for years. The station is foundering now, yes, but give the devil her due.

  13. Submitted by Tim McNeill on 10/26/2009 - 01:58 am.

    I will give Ginny her due but, do you really think she had much to do with the success of KSTP radio? She did what her consultants told her to do. This is the Hubbard way. Not once does a Hubbard do something that is not their of their own. One exception to that was the old man Satanley S. Hubbard. You would think a local company would have a better grasp on Minnesota than any consultant they could hire. This has been the problem on the television side for sure. The third place KSTP has never found a decent replacement for Ron Magers. Not one anchor since has been able to draw in viewers. KSTP does not know how to keep good people because, consultants keep getting in the way.

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