After 28 years, "Commander" Chuck Street is out at KIIS-FM, reports the Orange County Register. The longtime traffic reporter had been out of his helicopter and grounded since the start of the year, after Pepsi pulled its sponsorship. That led KIIS and Clear Channel to lay him off last Friday. Street tells the newspaper:
"Greg Ashlock (market manager for Clear Channel) called last Thursday afternoon to say that he could no longer afford to pay me my daily rate to continue doing the traffic reports from the ground. My current pay was not in his budget. He indicated that he was getting pressure from 'corporate' to lay me off until something could be resolved with Pepsi or some other sponsor."
Street added in his e-mail, "I have been providing traffic reports on KIIS-FM for over 28 years. Pepsi-Cola has been my sponsor for just over 20 years. It has been a 'great run!' I have worked with some incredibly talented people on a legendary radio station KIIS-FM.
"Our multitudes of listeners have allowed my voice to be a part of the sound track of their daily lives. I know that people have listened to my traffic reports from their cars, their kitchens, their bedrooms, and bathrooms. And I recognize this as a privilege and have enjoyed the appreciation from listeners for so many years."
Commander Chuck Street was a KIIS institution, going back to the early days of Rick Dees' morning show... but I guess in this era of belt-tightening, having a helicopter reporter was a luxury item.