WTOP and WFED Lay Off 4, GM Cites "Very Challenging" Financial Situation

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 transporation 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.”

WTOP is perennially the top-rated station in the region. Attempts to reach Oxley on Friday have so far been unsuccessful but I will update when I hear back. Here’s the email.

For those of you who were not at the meeting today, I wanted to let you know that we have parted ways with John Meyer of TOP/FED Digital, Ari Ashe of WTOP and Francis Rose and Matt Wingfield of WFED. We will also not be replacing three open sales positions, the TOP reporter position left open by Andrew Mollenbeck’s departure and the Digital position that Kerry Walter held.

Our financial situation continues to be very challenging. National, Local Agency and Sports revenue are all down. Many costs that we cannot control continue to rise. So we have had to make difficult expense decisions in all departments including these staff reductions as we head into 2016.

I want to thank John, Ari, Francis and Matt for all they have done for Federal News Radio and WTOP and wish them all the best.

Please come see me with your questions and concerns. Thanks.

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Senior editor

Andrew Beaujon joined Washingtonian in late 2014. He was previously the news editor and lead media reporter for the Poynter Institute, arts editor for the now completely vanished TBD.com, and managing editor of Washington City Paper. He lives in Del Ray.