Ray Koob’s run at 102.9 WMGK is over, the host says.
Koob initially posted a messaged on his Facebook fan page this morning thanking fans for “16 years of incredible fun on the radio,” and wrote in the post’s comments that he has been laid off from the station. He has since confirmed his layoff with the Inquirer, saying that he was let go Monday night and his position was eliminated.
How WMGK plans to fill Koob’s former weeknight slot, which ran from 7 p.m. to midnight, is unclear, as is whether other employees at the station have been laid off. Beasley Broadcast Group, WMGK’s parent company, could not immediately be reached for comment.
“Thanks to my teammates of the last 16 years at WMGK,” Koob told the Inquirer. “It’s an amazing station, and I’m happy to be a part of the family.”
Raised in Bucks County, Koob began his career locally as an intern on WMMR’s The Morning Zoo, which featured local personalities like John DeBella and Pierre Robert, in the 1980s. He started a position as promotions director shortly after getting his internship, and launched his famous “Rockers” radio show — then known as “For Rockers Only” — in 1988.
Koob left his position as promotions director at WMMR in 1990, but continued to appear on air hosting “Rockers” on the station through 1996. In 1997, Koob took over the program at 94.1 WYSP before moving on to work as vice president of promotions at the Raleigh, North Carolina-based CMC International Records shortly thereafter. “Rockers,” meanwhile, remained on the air with other hosts up until 2009, while WYSP changed formats to its current sports radio focus as WIP in 2011.
Thank you all for 16 years of incredible fun on the radio! Man, we had some fun…
In 2002, Koob returned to Philadelphia radio as host at WMGK, where he headed up weeknight blocks of “Ray Koob in the Nighttime.” He became known at the station for his themed music segments, including the Led Zeppelin-focused “Get the Led Out,” and “Jones for the Stones,” which featured tracks from the Rolling Stones.
“The best endings are endings of your own choosing,” Koob wrote on Facebook. “This sucks today, but there’s always tomorrow!”
Beasley purchased the station’s former parent company, Greater Media, in 2016 as part of a $240 million deal that also included the acquisition of Philly radio stations like 93.3 WMMR, 95.7 BEN-FM, and 97.5 The Fanatic in addition to WMGK. Earlier this month, the company released a statement indicating that it lost $3.2 million in the first quarter of 2018.
The decline in income, Beasley indicated in its release, was due to a number of factors, including price adjustments in connection with the company’s acquisition of Greater Media.
Koob is the latest layoff at a Beasley-owned property in Philadelphia. In November 2016, a rash of layoffs hit the company’s stations, and included former 95.7 BEN-FM host Marilyn Russell, who now works mornings on 98.1 WOGL. In April last year, 97.5 The Fanatic co-host Maureen Williams was let go from the station.
Prior to their acquisition of Greater Media, Beasley indicated that it didn’t intend to alter the on-air talent landscape in Philly much, as CEO Caroline Beasley told the Inquirer in 2016.
“Why would we get rid of a Preston and Steve or a John DeBella?” Beasley said in July 2016. “That’s what we’re paying for. Why tear that apart?”