Life in a Recession: Josh Venable Reflects on His Layoff by Clear Channel

JoshVenableRESIZED.jpg
Eric Grubbs
Late last year, Josh Venable was let go for the second time from the Clear Channel-owned 102.1 KDGE, the Edge, and he has yet to find another radio station to call home. "I watch a lot of Murder, She Wrote," Venable says of his down time while sitting in an Addison sports bar that's not too far from the Clear Channel building. "That's about it."

When asked if had an inkling he was about to be let go, he is very quick with a response. "Not at all," he says. "I knew that layoffs were coming." Those who have worked in radio, especially at Clear Channel stations, have come to expect layoffs every year. With what became Venable's last day in 2012, he was already covering for somebody he knew was going to be let go. Halfway through his shift, Venable was asked to see his boss and Venable was sent packing.

"It is what it is," he says. "It's a big business. It's a corporation and stuff happens."

By that point, Venable had a large hand in what the Edge was. Spending six or seven days a week at the station working as the program director, the midday anchor, and the host of the award-winning Sunday night specialty show, The Adventure Club. "Well, of course there's a feeling of loss because it's my station since the time I was 15 years old," he says. "People who have read enough Josh interviews know the story, but since I was 15 years old, this is all I've ever wanted to do."

Venable had moved to the DFW area when he was 15 and he wanted to meet his idols at the station, like George Gimarc, Alex Luke, and Jeff K. At 19, he got to host The Adventure Club when Alex Luke left the station. Fast-forward 18 years with the station, he was promoted to the prestigious program director position. "I wanted it to succeed," he says. "I wanted to prove that I was the right person for the job." Ratings for the station were some of the best in the station's history under Venable's leadership. "I wanted to show that all those years I was the kid that brought the weird music to play on Sunday night that it was now our time," he says. "And I think that has been proven time and time again."

While the ratings did dip a little before he was let go last year, that wasn't Venable's fault. When the Edge wasn't the only station in town playing Mumford & Sons, The Lumineers and Coldplay anymore, a ratings decrease was bound to happen. Since Venable's layoff, even more people have been let go from the Edge, leading many to wonder about the station's fate. But for now, The Adventure Club remains on Sunday nights with host Mark Schectman.

So what's next for Venable? "Well, I've never done anything else," he says. "That's kinda the problem. It's a double-edged sword. All my other friends went on and learned all these things in the business world that I probably should have done, but I was too busy interviewing 3 Doors Down at the time."



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10 comments
slick1
slick1

I was released by Clear Channel in 2006...and unemployed since.  If he hasn't, I strongly recommend Josh "plan for the worst".  Had it not been for assistance from various friends, some assistance from the government of the state I'm living in, and charities...I have no idea where I would have been sleeping.  To my GREAT surprise, it's much more difficult to find "a job" than I ever experienced and imagined...

sluggmunki_2003
sluggmunki_2003

I remembered the good old days of 94.5 the Edge. A time when modern rock was at its greatest. When the move to 102.1, that's when it all went downhill. Newer music was always late (i.e. Linkin Park wasn't played until late 2001/early 2002 when "In The End" was at the top of the charts instead of when the Hybrid Theory album first came out), and imaging was always bad. When KDGE went alternative/active rock to fill the void after KEGL flipped to oldies, it was kind of a strange move. Coldplay and Metallica kinda doesn't work (unless you're Jack FM). When KEGL brought back the Eagle, Edge was trying to get back to its roots but failed to play newer music (like 4 current/recurrents an hour) and focused on 90s. Even I get tired of the same old "Smells Like Teen Spirit" sound from time to time. And news flash, no one likes "I Got a Girl" by Tripping Daisies and "Got You Where I Want You" by The Flys! Those songs came out in the mid-late 90s, NOT 2009! So quit playing that garbage (no pun on the band, Garbage). 

KDGE today is pretty much non-existence to me but crappy noise on the 102.1 frequency that once was the old and might I add, legendary "Edge." Now these days, I guess I didn't mind the horrible imaging from 2001-2004, or the active/alternative format from 2004-2007, or the return to alternative from 2007-2009. After 2009, that's where it starts to dip even lower. Today it sounds like a wannabe CHR station. Think about it, annoying non-talented DJs that sound like they came from Kiss FM (I know one of them already there), the imaging is worse than ever before, and the music is beyond repetitive and not to mention out of place. I understand Muse, Mumford and Sons, The Lumineers, etc. are dominating the charts but at least play something like Vampire Weekend, The Shins, A Silent Film, Cold War Kids, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, etc. The way the station sounds today, the more I have a feeling Adele, Maroon 5, The Fray, The Script, and any other pop-sounding rock band will be played on that station. If they are gonna play Macklemore, might as well ruin it by playing Gangnam Style and (God forbid) just imagine KDGE playing Bruno Mars! Add station jingles like Kiss FM, and pitch up the music, and song IDs like 107.9 and you got yourself the worst so-called alternative rock station ever! Oh, and don't get me started with KEGL. They are just as bad as KDGE. I'm sick of the ACDC/Metallica/Ozzy every 5 minutes. In my taste, Eagle's not worth it either. I remembered a friend of mine posted on Facebook, something like "I heard a Rob Zombie song on the way to work, and when I was getting off work, I heard the exact same Rob Zombie song. Awesome!"...kinda tells us something.

I just have a feeling 102.1 (and possibly 97.1) will be flipping sometime this year and it wouldn't matter to me and probably wouldn't care to see a farewell. I give all my hope and wishes to Josh V. and any other ex-KDGE legend and those other talented personalities who were laid off due to corporate excuses. DFW could sure use a 100,000 watt classic country station and/or hot talk station (like the old Live 105.3). Might as well ruin it more with another Spanish station. But it wouldn't matter. At least DFW has KKXT 91.7 and Indie Verse on 100.3 HD3 to fill my alternative needs. Heck, even Jack FM has some alternative cuts from the 90s, 2000s, and even today, i.e The Black Keys, Mumford and Sons, and Florence and the Machine. Also Sirius XM has much better rock channels too and not to mention that I have my mp3 player for music as well. But I do hope that one day, a true alternative rock competitor (hopefully not CBS or Cumulus) would take over and fill the needs for former Edge listeners. Then DFW can finally have a fresh breath of air for a rock station not owned by Clear Channel. Just one day...

boutitbenza699
boutitbenza699

i have a feeling Clear Channel is just trying to kill The Edge and move some of the harder rock on the station over to 97.1 The Eagle and move all of the older rock The Eagle plays onto the Lonestar 92.5 playlist meanwhile the softer top 40 friendly rock songs move over to 102.9 Now and 106.1 Kiss FM. after all, Clear Channel has an total monopoly in the local rock radio stations in this market and it's true competition is webstreams and Sirius XM's rock channels (Hair Nation, Liquid Metal, Octane, Boneyard, Alt Nation, XMU, Faction, Lithium, Spectrum,  Deep Tracks, Classic Vinyl, Classic Rewind.). some people can listen to Sirius XM's rock channels on Dish Network if they have Dish.  

garlandsucks
garlandsucks

has anyone listened to the utter shit played on the edge recently?

garlandsucks
garlandsucks

how could anyone accept a pay check from the corporation that has been complicit in the ruining of music?

djdruemitchell
djdruemitchell

what a dis to dallas music scene clear channel,....seriously.

ChrisDangerShow
ChrisDangerShow

Josh was destination radio on sunday nights, he was our "Rodney On The Rock" on KDGE..Heres hoping he gets back on the airwaves sooner than later..

TopCat
TopCat

New Adventure Club guy is shit and plays gay indie pop on repeat

EdD.
EdD.

Spoiler alert: the murderer is (almost) never Jessica's relative.

Joelle
Joelle

The Adventure Club has sucked since that new douchenozzle took over.  Josh, we miss you!

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