Shrinking Hubbard Radio Chicago doubles up on program directors

SHE 100.3 Chicago

On the heels of firing 12 employees in response to revenue declines, Hubbard Radio Chicago eliminated the program director’s position Monday at adult contemporary WSHE 100.3-FM.

Cat Thomas, who held the job since 2015, will move to Seattle to become brand and content director of two Hubbard Radio stations — KQMV and KRWM.

Taking over his duties here will be Jimmy Steal, who’s been vice president of brand and content at hot adult-contemporary WTMX 101.9-FM since 2019. Now Steal will oversee programming at both stations.

Cat Thomas

The consolidation follows a companywide downsizing Friday, which cost the jobs of scores of radio station staffers employed by Saint Paul, Minnesota-based Hubbard Broadcasting. A company statement cited "extended and extreme revenue challenges that we are experiencing as a result of government mandated shutdowns due to COVID-19" for the unprecedented moves at the privately held, family-owned business.

Among the 12 layoffs here were evening host Brian Middleton and morning show producer and on-air host Robb Rose at SHE 100.3, and evening host Phil Manicki and overnight host Greg Easterling at classic rock WDRV 97.1-FM.

Jeff England, Hubbard Radio Chicago vice president/market manager, said he was sad to see Thomas leave, adding: “Cat has done an amazing job orchestrating the growth of SHE 100.3 to top-five rank performance in key demos in the very competitive Chicago market. I know I speak for everyone here, we will miss Cat’s competitive drive, operational expertise, quick wit and Southern charm.”

Thomas, whose real name is Bill Drake, previously was vice president of programming for Entercom Communications in Austin, Texas; operations manager for Cox Radio, and program director of WAPE in Jacksonville, Florida.

Seattle’s KQMV is the home market of Brooke Fox and Jeffrey Dubow's syndicated morning show, which airs on SHE 100.3.

“After the success with SHE 100.3 as an affiliate, it’ll be exciting to work with the ‘Brooke and Jeffrey Morning Show’ in person,” Thomas said in a statement. “Both Warm 106.9 and Movin 92.5 have outstanding, successful air talent. I look forward to being a member of those winning teams and doing my best to help and support them.”

Recently named vice president/market manager of Hubbard Radio Seattle’s five-station group was Wheeler Morris, son of Hubbard Radio CEO Ginny Morris and fourth generation member of the Hubbard family.

In the latest Nielsen Audio survey, SHE 100.3 tied for 11th place overall with a 3.1 percent share. The Mix was third with a 5.2 percent share.