Word on the local Hispanic press is that something's brewing over at Viva 105.7-FM, one of the most popular radio stations in Georgia, and the principal FM station aimed at the Hispanic audience.
This week's edition of Atlanta Latino, the one of the largest Latino publications, features a story about the layoffs of 15 members of the management staff at the radio station, including the general manager of the station, Ricardo Villalona.
According to the website RadioandRecords.com, sales representative Natalie Miï¿½o and production director Willie Nuï¿½ez were also fired.
"It happens all the time that a new PD comes in and wants his own team, and employees who do their job well get fired for no reason," Nuï¿½ez told RadioandRecords.com. According to the website, Nuï¿½ez also said he was named Clear Channel Radio employee of the year for 2006.
According to the Atlanta Latino report, both Miï¿½o and Nuï¿½ez were escorted out by police officers.
Last week, according to AL, the Latino daily La Vision reported the firing of Villalona due to "inadequate commercial dealings."
AL also cites anonymous sources explaining the transactions in question: A representative of a dance club or venue would contract with Viva in order to promote an event and to generate traffic to its location; the station would then transmit radio commercials related to the venue, free of charge, with the condition that all proceeds from cover charges go to the station.
Employees of the station would then manage the entrance to the club, paying off the cost of the commercials broadcast ï¿½ which in turn, would be billed through an "ad agency," owned by Villalona's brother, keeping him off the records of these transactions and presumably allowing the rest of the proceeds to go to him.
So far, Clear Channel, which owns Viva and the new El Patron radio stations, has not released a statement related to the incident.
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