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  • LEZLIE STERLING / Bee file, 2012

    Walt Gray, a fixture on KCRA news for 25 years, shifted to a radio mike last fall. That gig ended Wednesday when he was cut loose as co-host of a classic rock music show. Parent company Entercom said it is searching for a replacement program.

  • RANDALL BENTON / Bee file, 2004

    Walt Gray, left, and Deirdre Fitzpatrick hosted a midday show on KCRA, a consistent ratings leader in news broadcasts in the Sacramento market. He left the station last year for his radio job.

Radio station cuts longtime KCRA anchor Walt Gray

Published: Thursday, Jul. 25, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 6B
Last Modified: Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2013 - 11:06 am

Radio host and former Channel 3 (KCRA) television news anchor Walt Gray said he was laid off from 96.9 The Eagle at 10 a.m. Wednesday after finishing his weekday show.

Gray said his layoff was one of several job cuts made by the classic rock station on Wednesday.

"There were a number of people across the station who were let go today – good people in several departments," Gray said.

"They're cutting costs," he continued. "They have to do what they feel is right for them going forward. … I wish it could have gone differently."

Kevin Geary, a spokesman for The Eagle's parent company, Entercom Communications Corp., declined to specify how many people were let go at the Sacramento station or why. In an emailed statement, he said, "These moves will improve our ability to deliver real value to our clients in meaningful ways and make it easier to unleash the full power of our amazing brands. We are excited about the future and our nationwide search for a new morning program on The Eagle."

Entercom, based outside Philadelphia, is a publicly traded company on the New York Stock Exchange that owns more than 100 stations in 23 markets, including San Francisco, Boston and Denver.

Gray joined The Eagle on Oct. 22 to co-host a classic rock show. Previously he worked at Channel 3 for 25 years.

In mid-March, Entercom brought in a new manager to oversee the Sacramento market, according to a company press release.

"I would love to remain in broadcasting, certainly," Gray said Wednesday. "Television has always been a favorite."

Geary said The Eagle will be "music intensive" in the morning while the company looks for Gray's replacement.

Jerry Del Colliano, an industry analyst from Scottsdale, Ariz., said that in the radio industry these days, it's just "one layoff story after the other."

Like many other branches of media, radio stations are feeling financial pressure as advertisers migrate from radio broadcasts to social media, apps and websites, Del Colliano said.

Call The Bee's Jeffrey Dastin, (916) 321-1037.

© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.

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