Entercom Radio on Thursday announced companywide layoffs, furloughs and pay cuts. The company operates numerous radio stations in the Bay Area and in 2017 purchased ALT 105.3 from CBS Radio. And Alt 105.3 Music Director Aaron Axelsen appears to be a casualty of those cuts.
“After 23 years of annoying you on the Bay Area airwaves, my time has finally come to an end,” Axelsen wrote in a Twitter post. “What a blessing and thrill it was to share my ultimate passion in life with you—music—for over two decades. It was quite simply a dream come true to work at my hometown station, one that I grew up listening to as a young new waver in Livermore, and my life was forever changed the day Live 105 was born back in October of 1986.”
Axelsen has been broadcasting his popular show Soundcheck from his home for several weeks. His influence on both Bay Area music and pop and rock music in general is immense. He helped introduce artists like Florence and the Machine, Muse, Amy Winehouse and Mumford and Sons among many others, in the U.S.
InsideRadio.com reported on Thursday morning that “the amount of layoffs is extensive.” Employees were notified of the action by email from CEO David Field. Entercom followed other radio companies in various cuts as a result of the COVID-19-fueled economic swoon. Field himself accepted a pay cut.
“I am deeply saddened that we need to make these painful moves at this time, but they are necessary under the circumstances,” Field said in his email to employees.
The impact on the San Francisco market was not immediately clear Thursday evening, but Axelsen posted a personal on social media thanking listeners for listening to his programs for 23 years and that he will now look to his next opportunity after spending time with his family.
“From Live 105 to Alt 105.3; from Subsonic to Soundcheck; from BFD to Not So Silent Night and everything in between, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for being a part of this magical journey with me,” Axelsen wrote.
He thanked his coworkers over the years and said that he will spend time with his wife and baby, Max, through the course of the COVID-19 pandemic before throwing himself into reviving his club Popscene, DJing, and his other love, softball.
“And then looking for my next gig, that actually might be a good idea as well,” he wrote.
Love you Bay Area, thank for 23 amazing years together.
Signing off… 🎤💔 pic.twitter.com/tWwId0cXey
— aaron axelsen 🎧 (@AaronAxelsen) April 3, 2020
Here’s the guy that basically introed us to US radio. Our friend @AaronAxelsen was laid off from his job of 23 years at 105.3 due to COVID. It’s hitting close to home with friends and family. We owe him a debt of gratitude. Wish him + our extended family a speedy return to normal https://t.co/9rvyaTUfn5
— The Killers (@thekillers) April 4, 2020