Transitions: my exit from Federal News Radio

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This report in the Washingtonian is accurate.

WTOP and its sibling station, WFED, have laid off four employees, General Manager Joel Oxley told staffers Friday, and it will not fill five other open jobs. Digital chief John Meyer, evening producer and transportation reporter Ari Ashe, WFED host Francis Rose, and producer Matt Wingfield lost their jobs, Oxley writes in the memo. Additionally, WTOP will not fill the spot reporter Andrew Mollenbeck is vacating to move to Los Angeles, the digital position Kerry Walter left earlier this year, or three open sales jobs.

“Our financial situation continues to be very challenging,” Oxley writes, saying revenue is down in several areas of advertising, and “costs that we cannot control continue to rise.”

The Washingtonian report has the full email Joel sent to staff, announcing the departure of the four of us.

Getting fired because of matters beyond one’s control is never easy, but it comes with the territory in the media landscape of 2015. I spent more than nine years at WFED and WTOP, and that’s far longer than most people last in my business, so my expiration date there passed a long time ago.

When I went to Federal News Radio in 2006, I was eager to take an entry-level job because I had not figured out how to leverage a 20-year career into meaningful employment. If you were to tell me in 2006 that I would experience in the next nine years what I have actually experienced – interviewing some of the most important people in Washington, invitations to meet with members of Congress, networking with people I admired via watching them on television, working with nationally-syndicated radio programs (three!), and even getting a taste of my own future in television – I would have called you crazy.

None of these accomplishments would have been possible without the platform I was allowed to build at Federal News Radio. Despite the end not being what I had hoped, I will always have very fond memories of my tenure and colleagues at Federal News Radio.

Monday I will begin the search for a new opportunity. I am fortunate that the company’s fulfillment of its contractual commitment to me means that I have several months’ breathing room. I look forward to pursuing opportunities both in broadcast content creation and the federal business space. Several folks have asked if I will podcast. I have considered it, but the podcast space is not yet mature enough to generate revenue. The time I can make for a podcast will mostly be dictated by how much time I allocate to projects that generate money.

One thing is for sure: whatever I do, it will be in Washington, the city I consider to be the greatest in the world.

(photo credit: Department of Defense)

1 Comment

  1. robert lesino

    Francis, so sorry to hear this news, however I know you will do well in New endeavors. I retired from Gsa and now live in California. I am writing some books and working on tv and movie scripts. I loved working with you and know our paths will cross again. Please stay in touch and let me know if I can ever do anything to assist you. Bob Lesino. Rlesino@yahoo.com