The headline, “Where Has Respect and Dignity Gone,” had us thinking this was going to be about social media, or perhaps click-bait journalism. Instead, the arresting rhetorical frames a Huffington Post essay by Liz Hamburg about the very upsetting recent dismissal of her mom Joan.
We all know that upheaval continues in the media business in general and the radio world in particular. But that in no way excuses the way WOR handled things last Thursday with Joan, after 40 years(!) of service:
Joan returned to work after attending a funeral the previous day of a very close relative. Despite the sadness of losing a close cousin, Joan was the consummate professional and was ready to head into the studio to give her audience the upbeat and informative show that they expect.
She was preparing to tape her show for the weekend when the head of programming and someone from HR came into her office. She was told that weekend programming was changing and that she would no longer be on the air. Worse, she would have to leave the building immediately. No time for farewells to her beloved audience or sponsors, no time for tributes from the many, many loyal guests whom she has interviewed over the years, no time to even clean out her office.
Within hours, she had been removed from the WOR website without any hint of an announcement. Of course there was shock and sadness. But what was really appalling was the complete lack of respect and dignity given to her by Clear Channel management.
If there’s any justice, people will be as upset by this as they were by the recent dismissal of Jill Abramson from the New York Times. As Liz goes on to mention, the cruel blow of WOR’s treatment has been softened somewhat by a subsequent outpouring of fan support on Facebook and a nice Page Six piece by Cindy Adams.