Two afternoon radio hosts are out of work after a program revamp at 980CJME. Photo illustration by Kyrsten Stringer.

Two afternoon radio hosts are out of work after a program revamp at 980CJME, where Saskatchewan Afternoon with David Kirton and The Green Zone are taking over the time slot previously occupied by MainStreet with Jill Smith and Dave Arnold.

MainStreet co-host Jill Smith said that the show’s cancellation was unexpected, but that it also aired at a time of day that sees less traffic than other shows.

“When (people) turn on their radio, when are they usually listening? First thing in the morning or on their drive home,” Smith said. “(MainStreet) was never going to be a flagship show.”

Jay Stone, program director at CJME, was not available for an interview. He responded with an email statement that CJME is excited about its new afternoon line up, starting Jan. 18 2017. Saskatchewan Afternoon takes the air from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., and then it’s the Green Zone with Jamie Nye and the Sports Guys from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

“David’s show will keep you up to date in the fast paced world of breaking news,” Stone wrote. “Jamie takes on the big sports stories of the day as well as the hot topics everyone is talking about.”

Listeners of CJME took to Facebook and Twitter to share their thoughts. While some people support the decision to end MainStreet in favour of other programming, fans of the show are disappointed.  

“My favorite two hours of 980. You'll still have me for the news but I won't be tuning in for that time slot anymore. I enjoyed the female presence and the modern approach to radio and our times. I'll miss you Jill and Dave,” Maeribeth Sullivan said on CJME’s Facebook. Other fans, including Tanya Gattinger, want to know where they will be able to listen to Jill and Dave in the future. 

Gattinger said that listening to MainStreet was something that she looked forward to every day. She listened when she lived in Neudorf. She listened when she lived in Estevan. She listened when she lived in Maidstone and when she lived in Yorkton.

Gattinger, who was inspired by Smith and Arnold to reach out and be more proactive in her community, said the hosts leave big shoes to fill.

“I don’t just listen. I phone in,” said Gattinger. “Being students we have to write a lot of diverse papers on racism, on poverty, on inequality. They’ve actually helped me find articles and sources just by listening and then I google who they’re talking about and I can write a paper off of them. They’ve helped me along with my academic success, too.”

Merelda Fiddler, former producer with CBC and current Dallas Smythe Chair at the University of Regina Journalism School, said that there’s a trend towards industry contraction instead of expansion.

“Everyone’s trying to build the greatest amount of listeners, because we know that the number of people listening to radio is decreasing overall. The number of people watching traditional television is decreasing overall. A lot of that has to do with our cellphones,” said Fiddler, who looks forward to a future where there are more announcements symptomatic of a growing media industry. “Journalism is changing. When people figure out what social media and online can do we’ll see that change result in more jobs in the long run.”

Smith is currently in negotiations elsewhere to continue her journalism career. Co-host Dave Arnold declined an interview.

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