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