Four radio personalities in Cumulus Media Inc.’s Little Rock operation have been laid off, including KURB 98.5 morning co-host Robyn Cisar and several stalwarts in KARN’s newsroom.
All four broadcasters have confirmed the job losses in media posts, and a worker who answered the phones at KARN on Monday confirmed some layoffs but referred a reporter to Keith Liesmann, the Cumulus vice president and market manager for Little Rock.
Liesmann didn’t respond to a message seeking comment. Along with Cisar, who was part of B98’s Kevin and Robyn show with Kevin Idol, others put out of work were news and traffic anchor Chris Ingram, anchor and reporter Heidi Sohl, and traffic reporter Chris Counts.
The layoffs occured last week, with the news arriving at KARN a day after Cisar, who succeeded Lisa Fischer on the morning show in June 2018, was let go.
“Apparently that didn’t work out,” a longtime Arkansas broadcaster said, noting former KARN news director Peter Thiele, who was still listed Tuesday on the KARN website, is now program director at KZRG talk radio in Joplin, Missouri. “This may be a case of a new team being brought in. I don’t see how that newsroom can run if those jobs have gone away,” the broadcaster said, speaking on the condition of anonymity.
Cumulus Media of Atlanta is the third largest radio chain in the United States with more than 400 stations in nearly 90 markets. The company, which had $1.14 billion in 2018 revenue, has seven stations each in the Little Rock and Fayetteville markets, and three stations in Fort Smith.
The laid off broadcasters are all young and promising, industry insiders said.
Cisar, an Arkansas native with a degree from the University of Missouri, is advocate for adoption, connecting with fellow adoptees, adoptive and biological families. She has two young children.
Ingram, a former producer for Doc Washburn’s KARN talk show, is a Henderson State University graduate. Sohl, a native of Avilla (Saline County) is an honors graduate of Arkansas State University, where she won the 2017 Marvin Vines Scholarship, awarded by the Arkansas Farm Bureau. The award was named for longtime KAAY Farm Director Marvin Vines, an Arkansas Agriculture Hall of Fame member who was killed in a 1978 tractor accident.